8 Markets to Find Freelance Writing Work

Kick Ass 1Over the past couple of years, something strange has happened. I went from writing my butt off to writing my butt off and mentoring several writers about their own work.

I like the move. I’ve always enjoyed coaching and teaching, and it’s fun to watch my friends’ careers blossom.

By far what I get asked most is where to find work. Mostly I find mine through existing contacts, and people those people know. But I still go back to this well a couple of times a month to keep my inbox runnething over. Here are my 8 best places to find people who will pay me for what I do.

  1. All Indie Writers — a job board that updates not as frequently as I’d like, but lists the payment levels before you click to view the job description. Note how they label the payscales. “Pro” is anything over $100 a post.
  2. Problogger — frequently updated job board wit a mixture of Craigslist shares and unique content. The signal-to-noise ration leaves something to be desired, but it’s a good place to hit regularly for the gems that pop up.
  3. Facebook — you know all those articles your friends share with you every day? Somebody has to write them. Pay attention to which sites you click through to often, then find out how to submit. Most pay in the $50 to $100 range.
  4. Online Writing Jobs  — somebody is combing through lots of Craigslist pages and finding the better writing gig postings. You should hit CL early and often in your first years freelancing, and this makes that process much easier.
  5. Your Chamber of Commerce — join and attend meetings for your local Chamber. It puts you in touch with people who own small businesses in your community. Which is to say people who need content written by a professional. See also Rotary Club and the Elks.
  6. Your Local Hobby Shop — whatever it is you’re passionate about, somebody runs a shop near you who doesn’t write as well as you do. You probably already have a relationship, so reach out. Double-dip here by contacting every hobby magazine on the shelf in that shop. They have a similar need for people who know the subject and know how to write.
  7. Media Bistro — has some good jobs posted from time to time While you’re at it, subscribe to their newsletter.
  8. Blogging Pro —  it costs $30 to post a gig on this site for a month, which tells you that every potential client found here was willing to invest in finding good talent. Which means they’re willing to invest in professional writing.

Dishonorable mention: oDesk, eLance and similar content mills. Although I’m not opposed to the idea of spending a little time there as you start gathering clips, these places are a race to the bottom in terms of payment and client quality. Step up into the bigs by taking better gigs.

Hey, that rhymed.

You Should Be Listening to Metal Right Now

Parental-Advisory-psd12954Folks who know me already realize I’m a huge metal head. I cut my teeth on Sabbath and Iron Butterfly, saw everybody from Iron Maiden to Anthrax to Faith No More in high school, played bass in a short-lived metal band, and have continued to love the metal well past the age benighted souls might have suggested I outgrow the tendency.

Here’s the thing about heavy metal: it’s good for you. It makes you smarter. It energizes and empowers. It relieves stress. Beyond those generalities, my experience as a solopreneur and general kicker of ass has taught me five ways metal is the best possible genre for empowerment and self-actualization available.

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Unleashing Your Inner Awesome

Mad-Max-Fury-Road-lovely-day-1024x640If you’ve followed any of my feeds in the past month, you probably already know how much I loved Mad Max: Fury Road. You can go here, or here to see me wax eloquent on how it’s the platonic ideal of its genre and the best movie of any genre I’ve seen this year.

You know what else? It’s also a model for how to rev up your life to kick more ass in your career, relationships, hobbies and anything else. That feature comes from something I’m certain they had as part of their writing process.

An Awesome Guy

Picture a table in a writing studio. The creative team sits there, batting around ideas. The air smells of stale coffee and cold pizza. They’re in the zone. A writer says “What if we had a huge fleet of apocalyptic death cars chase them into the desert?”

Everybody nods in approval, then the Awesome Guy clears his throat and does his only job.

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How Vanilla Ice Ruined It For Everybody

I don’t usually get political here on the blog (as opposed to my FB where I pick political fights constantly and with great elan). Recently, though, some of the national conversation and chats I’ve had on social media have led me to a thought too long to put on social media. So here it is.

Let’s talk about privilege.

Privilege is a social construct people toss around a lot that boils down to the fact that life ain’t fair. For example, I’m white and male and hetero and grew up with sufficient food. I earned none of that, but it makes corners of my life easier than it is for people without those advantages. For better or worse, privilege is the word we use to describe that, and it’s a real thing.

Trouble is, a lot of people skew towards asshole when the topic comes up.

  • Liberal assholes use it as a bludgeon to end legitimate questioning of their ideas. They holler RACIST or claim the other can’t understand instead of having a conversation. More on them in a bit.
  • Conservative assholes respond with indignation, and point out how their lives are limited by their demographic identity. Very often, it sounds like “There was a Black Pride march parade today…why can’t I have a White Pride parade?”

Both sides go all out when this happens, joining an upward spiral of outrage that accomplishes nothing. But it’s not the liberals’ fault. It’s not the conservatives’ fault.

It’s Vanilla Ice’s fault. 

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Everybody Poops

This is Curry. Curry.

This is Curry. Curry.

I’m not Anthony Bourdain, or even Mattie Bamman, but I’m reasonably well traveled. I love travel for what it teaches me about the world, and about myself. It makes me a better person, a better writer, a better thinker. One of the lessons that has done that of late is the fact that everybody poops.

I mean everybody. I’ve been to, or am very close to somebody who’s been to, over 50 countries. I’ve met immigrants in the US from 20 or 30 more. Every single one of them poops. But they all poop in different ways. An incomplete, but representative sampling includes…

  • Sitting on a porcelain stool (no pun intended)
  • Squatting over a porcelain bowl
  • Squatting over a hole in the ground
  • Letting it all go while standing in or above a river
  • Being held by parents over a trash can
  • Cleaning up with tissue paper
  • Cleaning up using a bidet
  • Cleaning up with leave or sand
  • Cleaning up with a hose fixed to the wall nearby
  • Cleaning up with a scooper and basin of water
  • Washing hands with soap
  • Washing hands without soap
  • Not washing hands, but using only one hand for cleaning up which you then touch with nothing else

Some of these ways of pooping are objectively horrible and carry terrible consequences. Just ask London during its routing 19th-century cholera epidemics. Or look at the moving slums that are China’s residential trains.

Others are just different. Not better or worse, just different. In the US, we poop on thronelike chairs. Here in Malaysia, they poop into basins set below ground level. The basins are actually much better given human physiology. The thrones are less work. Pros and cons to both, with neither being a clear winner.

Life and philosophy is a lot like that. We have habits, or assumptions, or things we do just because we do them. Most of them aren’t better or worse than somebody else’s habits and assumptions. They’re just different. At worst they’re harmless and interesting. At best, they can help you look at your own habits and assumptions and either make changes or better understand yourself.

Sometimes, they can even change your mind. I have become a total convert to the “hose from the wall” method and will probably add a bum gun to my home when I return. They’re much more comfortable, and better for the environment, than abrading my pucker with paper.

As with poop, so it is with your writing and your career. Everybody has their own preferences, favorites, tastes and values. Most are just color commentary — interesting differences of no real importance. A few of them are harmful, and it’s our responsibility to root those out of ourselves ruthlessly and with extreme prejudice. A few habits of others will point out to us a different, better, way to go about our lives. For those, it’s our responsibility to avoid jealousy, overcome inertia, and make the changes we must to change ourselves for the better.

(There’s something about what you eat in here, too. But more on that another time.)