4 Places to Build Your Writing Experience

So you want to write more, but don’t know where to start. Or perhaps you want to become a freelancer but don’t have a portfolio. Aside from your personal diary/blog writing, it is important to have experience in other areas. Here are four places to get started building your experience:

1.       Church – Many churches have moved to broadcasts and bulletins. Join the committee to be one of the writers behind the announcements.

2.       Local Magazines and newspapers – Most local publications are fueled by writers’ coverage of local events and happenings. Become a part of the writing community while learning how to target and write for different audiences.

3.       Nonprofits – Nonprofit organizations are sustained on great story telling. Sometimes the cause does not yield the income to hire a writing resource. Volunteer to help one out as part of their communications team.

4.       School – Take a writing course at the local community college. Another school angle is volunteer your writing services to help a teacher build their website or weekly bulletins.

Whatever you choose to write, do not let lack of experience stop you from moving forward. Exploring your options will help you determine what type of writing you are good at, as well as what type of writing you enjoy most. The more you write, the better you will be as a writer.

5 Ways to Make Money Writing

I used to write just for fun. Then I found out I could get paid to have fun. I’ve tried my hand at most of them.  Here is a quick list I put together of ways to make money writing:

1.       Become an affiliate marketer. This process requires you to choose products or services to promote. Your writing is centered on these items and includes links to them. Money is made by driving traffic to the site and people’s purchases there. I’ve done this briefly, but not full time to make a significant financial impact. Though I know writers that live off of it.

2.       Create/update resumes. Although I did spend a few years as a technical recruiter, I was writing resumes long before that. Actually, it was a skill passed down from my mom. She was a document superstar making even the most unskilled look desirable. I would recommend choosing a specific industry or niche for your services; it is difficult to write well for every occupation.

3.       Draft corporate communications (i.e. memos, emails). I’ve worked in several industries. They all have stuff to send out, whether internally or to a broad customer base. Somebody’s got to write it.

4.       Offer freelance writing services. Freelance writing services have cropped up in mass. Consider joining one of the online companies that allow you to share your services. I am a member of one and have made thousands of dollars over the past few years.

5.       Write term papers. I did this for a while in college. That was over a decade ago. But I’m pretty sure there are still people in college that hate writing papers and are willing to pay for it.

There are many ways to make money writing. However, I believe it is important to identify which one(s) work best for you. I’m sure you know that process comes with trial and error. Once you’ve found what works, stick with it.

Just Write It Already

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison

I’ve always been a scattered background writer. In fact, I have scraps of writing stashed in notebooks all over the house. I also have some post-it notes and fast food napkins with what I consider to be possible writing perfection scribbled on the folds. Once, several years ago, I was even brave enough to publish. But then I was too scared and preoccupied with other things to market myself. Fast forward to the end of last year, I was “due any day now” pregnant with my second child having a conversation with my mentor about the state of my life, specifically my desire to write for myself, not just others. I had so much potential, but seemingly not enough time, energy or motivation to realize it. In the spirit of authenticity, I’ll be honest and share that I even told her part of my stagnation was the lack of enthusiasm from my husband about my endeavors. She said, “Danielle, have you considered that maybe he’s not that enthused because you’ve been all talk and no action? Maybe if you were to complete something, he’d be on board. But it’s not fair for you to hold him accountable to being more excited about projects that you’re not enthusiastic or committed enough to complete.”  Ouch, amen, and thank you ma’am! My mentor’s message translated in my hormonally sensitive mind that day as “Just Write It Already!” I couldn’t help but think she was probably right about my husband and those closest to me. They were all probably sick of hearing me talk of the next big thing without me actually doing anything.

That day I stopped talking about what I wanted to do, what I was gonna do, what I planned to do and what I hoped to do. I started writing the plan in ONE notebook (that was a big deal for me). I drafted the book I wanted to publish in that same notebook.

 

 I was DOING it, not talking about doing it. After a few weeks I connected with a local publisher who was accepting new authors and submitted my manuscript for review. Scary! Within 45 days my first children’s book was published. As I was launching that book, the second children’s book was already in progress. Within about 120 days, I’d released two children’s books!

 Books in hand at my first book signing.

Books in hand at my first book signing.

Moving from talking to doing required me to make sacrifices. My responsibilities as a wife and mother along with a full-time job did not yield to my dreams of being a writer. I had to stay up late (against the advice of sleeping while my newborn was sleeping). I had to wake up early, or in the middle of the night, to get things done. I had to cry tears of frustration; I even cursed a little (well, actually A LOT). But I got it done and it was so worth it!