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Freelance Success Story

The Humble Beginnings of a Freelance Writer ...
From the Midwest to Cyberspace
by Christopher Kendalls

Webmaster Note: See our complete schedule for this series here.

Hello, my name is Christopher Kendalls, and I was born and raised in Akron, OH. I ended up in Dayton, OH, however, when I dropped out of school having put in many years pursuing a degree I had decided I did not want. Besides, I thought that I could use what little I had learned in college to get a decent computer job; little did I know that I would end up being a freelance writer.

At first, I would simply write at my own leisure, to entertain myself in-between classes. The only article I had written was an essay for a contest that the school was running in which I had won $250. It was then that I reconnected with the urge and passion to write, although I would end up writing tens of stories and poems before I finally decided that article writing was my niche a few years ago.

I ended up replying to an ad on Craigslist for an "editorial intern", which ended up being a non-paying opportunity at an upstart called MSX, short for Meterosexual magazine, which is based out of New Hampshire. I wrote many articles for them, yet the editor is having difficulty getting the publication off the ground, although they are having some success getting their website together.

It did not bother me so much that I was not paid for them, but I began to have serious concerns if they had the resources to go into print at all, since none of their editorial deadlines were being met. I took my business elsewhere writing an interesting profile of Ann Coulter for SavvyInsider.

Meanwhile. the only paying opportunities I'd had was a profile of Misha Bittleson's work, for his own website, and various articles written through Write for Cash. Write for Cash pays up to $15 for an article, and usually publishes through WebYoga. The only problem I've had with Write for Cash is that they do not allow the writer to truly take the piece in the direction that they wish to go with it, often returning articles back to the writer for revisions 3 of 4 times before they wash their hands of you and give the piece to some other writer for work.

Moreover, you can only work on 3 pieces at a time for them to begin with, so if you are trying to make some serious money, you are stuck with $45, $90 a month, at best, if you can get the three you're working on accepted and turn around fast enough to complete another 3 for them before the month ends.

That obviously was not going to take me anywhere, and I was being rejected more from them than I was anything else. I was fortunate enough to find another site, Associated Content, who more or less took all of my pieces at one time, published all of them, and paid me more than I had made with Write for Cash the entire time I had attempted to write for them (a few months).

Your daily duties as a freelance writer is taking advantage of every little opportunity that comes along to both find the inspiration to write, and also to be the first one to answer any inquiry an editor has for potential writers to write for them. It involves working endless nights and hours if you are not the fastest writer out there, and taking the time out to rewrite and reformulate your process three of four times with each piece that you write.

If you are lucky you will make more than the $30,000 a year that most individuals in this field average, unless you are overly aggressive with writing professional business correspondence; letters, proposals, ad-copy. If you play your cards right you may get an actual full-time job, yet there is nothing quite as satisfying as working for yourself.

It is important to know who you are as a writer because a lack of passion and determination about what it is that you are trying to say in the article is crucial to your success as a writer. It is entirely too easy for someone to talk you out of expressing the ideas that you wish to convey, the way that you wish to convey them, if you have doubts about your own talent, and a lack of conviction about how you express who you are. In fact, if you find this happening to you more than not, you need to seriously evaluate whether or not you should continue attempting to write for this editor in the first place, because there are more than enough publications who will accept your work, for you to continue persisting with any one editor.

I made the mistake of trying too hard to work for publications based off of the prestige that I thought I would have because I had published at Slate, for example, not realizing that if I were to be published at one of these publications, it might not be my ideas who the readers were reading, but that of the editors! Keep your feet to the pavement, and continue to take all of the advice that everyone gives you, because there is some truth in everything that any editor, or anyone else that you have read your work, says.

Editors have a lot of experience in being successful getting work out there, and readers have a lot of experience knowing how to differentiate between what most people will like and what most people will skip over. It is not good to have the opinions of either, who agree with you the majority of the time.

Resources:
Meterosexual Magazine:
http://www.msxmag.com/

SaavyInsider: http://www.savvyinsider.com/

Associated Content: http://www.associatedcontent.com/

Write For Cash: http://www.writeforcash.com

2006
Christopher Kendalls This article may not be reproduced in any manner whatsoever, in any form, for any reason, without the express, written consent of the author. Violators will be prosecuted.

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