#SquadGoals: Why Every Freelancer Needs a Writing Community

Do you have a freelance writing squad? Can you name at least five editors and writers who support your work, give you opportunities and help your career grow?

A lot of early-career freelancers focus on getting clients and clips, or pitching those higher-paying gigs — but while you’re building your portfolio, you should also be building your squad.

Why do you need a freelance squad?

Freelance writing is often a solo act, and it’s no secret that a lot of writers are introverts. Who needs people when you have the blank page, right?

Well…you still need people, and I don’t just mean “that client you email once a week with a project status update.” Building a group of editors, writers and friends who both support and help you is essential to your freelance — and, dare I say, personal — growth.

Your squad is different from your network. If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you’ve probably built up at least a small network: your current clients, your previous clients, that editor who invited you to pitch their publication, the freelancer you met at an event and friended on Facebook, etc.

But that doesn’t mean you have a squad. A network is aware of your existence. A squad wants you to succeed.

If you find yourself falling short of your income goal, for example, you could email someone in your network asking if they know of any gigs and they’d probably send a polite response back. Someone in your squad would already know you were looking for work and be ready with a potential new lead.

How do you find your squad?

You might have already found a few squad members without realizing it.

Do you have an editor who always replies quickly to your emails, gives you constructive feedback, asks you to contribute more work and passes along new opportunities? That person is on your squad.

You might have another editor or client who gives you steady work and pays on time, but never offers any bigger projects or higher-profile opportunities. That person is not on your squad. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t work for them, it’s just to note that they are not actively invested in helping you grow.

Same goes for other writers. You might already have a freelance bestie who is ready to offer an extra pair of eyes on a draft or recommend you for a new gig. You might know a writer who consistently promotes your work on social media or gives you good advice in a forum or Facebook group. These people could be your squad members.

If you don’t yet know those editors or writers, here’s how to find them:

  • Keep pitching. You can’t meet an editor who loves your work until you pitch them.
  • Join writing groups and online forums. Writing groups like Carol Tice’s Freelance Writers Den are often great places to get to know people. You can also join The Write Life’s Facebook community!
  • Meet other freelancers in person. Go to conferences, join Meetup groups or ask local freelancers if they’d like to get a cup of coffee. Introverts: here are some good conversation starters to help build those IRL friendships.

A note about social media: Sites like Twitter used to be one of the best ways to meet other writers, but the way we use social media has shifted. Following or replying to someone on social media is not necessarily going to lead to a professional relationship the way it might have a few years ago. People are now building those kinds of relationships in private forums and online groups — which means you’ll need to figure out where those are and which ones are accepting new members.

#SquadGoals go both ways

Your squad is there to support you, but you need to support them as well.

If you know that a publication is hiring, it’s time to tell your friend that they might be perfect for this gig. If one of your most supportive editors puts out a call for pitches, you should respond — even if it’s to say “I wish I could take this on but I’m fully booked right now.”

Your goal as a writer is to build your career — but you can do a lot towards building your squad’s careers, too. Share their articles online. Recommend them to other people. Offer to be a beta reader and provide constructive feedback. Be present in the forums or Slack channels when they need to vent.

Be aware that good squads are often small. You can provide better support to a few select people than you can to everyone in your writing forum — you don’t have time to read everyone’s first drafts, after all. It might take a while to figure out who in your network should become a member of your core squad. (You might also have the experience of thinking you’re in someone’s squad when they consider you part of their larger network. Don’t take it personally.)

With a squad by your side, you’ll have a group of people whom you know you can trust. You’ll also be building the types of friendships and professional relationships that many people find in a traditional workplace. All of this will help you both personally and professionally — and, even if you are an introvert, having a squad will make your freelance career a lot more fun.

Do you have a freelance squad? How did you find your people? Share your #squadgoals in the comments!

Nicole Dieker is a freelance writer and a Senior Editor at The Billfold. Her debut novel, The Biographies of Ordinary People, was published in May 2017.

The post #SquadGoals: Why Every Freelancer Needs a Writing Community appeared first on The Write Life.


Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-08-14T05:44:25+00:00 August 14th, 2017|Categories: General|Tags: |

NWP Radio—Literacy and Mobility

Wednesday, August 09, 2017
Type: Event
How can looking at the movement of people, language, and things enrich our understandings of students and schools? Join us for an intriguing conversation with host Tom Fox and guest Brice Nordquist, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at Syracuse University and author of Literacy and Mobility: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Agency at the Nexus of High School and College.
Source: The National Writing Project

By | 2017-08-12T01:50:01+00:00 August 12th, 2017|Categories: General|Tags: |

Bill Maher: What If “Madman” Trump’s Crazy Nuke Threats Work? Nah…

Playing someone’s advocate, Real Time‘s Bill Maher wondered aloud tonight whether President Donald Trump‘s nuke-threatening bluster against North Korea’s Kim Jong-un might, well, work.
“If by working,” answered CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, “you mean North Korea de-nuclearizing, I would give him the Nobel Prize. But I think that is highly, highly, highly unlikely.”
The HBO host didn’t press his original point.
“He’s incentivizing their hawkishness,” said presidential historian Jon…
Source: DeadLine

Film Review: Star Crystal (1986)

tagsWhen a film is as uninspired and as amateurishly made as Lance Lindsay’s Star Crystal (1986) is and ends with the words “Filmed entirely in SPACE” following the end credits, you know that you’re going to wish that you had those 93 minutes of your life back. Unfortunately, science has not gotten us to the …

The post Film Review: Star Crystal (1986) first appeared on HNN | Horrornews.net 2017 – Official Horror News Site

Source: Horror News

By | 2017-08-12T01:49:53+00:00 August 11th, 2017|Categories: C. Juston Campbell, Faye Bolt, Film Reviews, John W. Smith, Taylor Kingsley|Tags: |

Screenwriting Instructors Pilar Alessandra and Carole Kirschner on Breaking into the Writer’s Room

By Steffanie Moyers On The Page is a weekly podcast hosted by Pilar Alessandra, a writing teacher and former story…

The post Screenwriting Instructors Pilar Alessandra and Carole Kirschner on Breaking into the Writer’s Room appeared first on The Script Lab.

Source: Script Lab

By | 2017-08-12T01:48:59+00:00 August 11th, 2017|Categories: main, Screenwriting 101|Tags: |

Get Out of Your Own Way: 6 Creative Tips to Crush Writer’s Block

Let’s be honest — being a writer can be torture, right?

You know what you want to write and the goals you have are real, but sometimes life, excuses and your own fear can get in the way of success.

There is no magical unicorn that will make the process any easier, but if you make writing a daily habit where you allow room for mistakes and curiosity, you’re on your way to winning the battle.

How can you make writing be something you don’t dread when you stare at your computer?

1. Let your words be vomit on the computer

You have brilliant sparkling ideas dancing around in your head that you envision in such a glowing, perfect spotlight. You sit down to put human, imperfect words to those fantastical ideas and…barf.

You put barf on the screen.

You know what? That is the BEST place to start.

I enjoy writing the most when I give myself permission to let my words be projectile vomit on the computer screen.

You have an idea in your head right now of what you want to write about, don’t you? It’s so easy to ignore those ideas and convince ourselves they’re just ideas that wouldn’t lead to enough material to write about.

But you don’t know where the ideas will lead if you don’t try to find out. And finding out means a very messy drawing board and permission to majorly junk it up.

Instead of pressuring yourself to find perfection,I take a backseat and see where my writing goes. I write very incomplete, incoherent lists, ideas and images. Sometimes I’m able to go back and polish it up relatively quickly. Other times, I’m not, so I walk away and let it simmer, trying not to stress at the huge pile of incomplete garbage I just created.

The cool thing about ideas is that they evolve from day to day. I’ll be in the shower or driving to work, and the vomit I laid down on my computer soon starts to turn into something more cohesive. Sometimes it matches what was in my head, and sometimes it’s even better if I stay with it.

2. Quit playing the “writer’s block” card

Writer’s block is code for “I’m too intimidated I won’t crank out perfection, so I’ve decided to watch Netflix and eat ice cream instead because I know I won’t fail at that.”

No more. I won’t have it. You can do better.

If you follow step one of not caring that you have vomit on your computer screen, you will not be blocked.

The pressure is gone, and you’re left with you and your ideas, working together happily instead of scowling at the screen, wondering why you just couldn’t be something normal like an accountant.

Writer’s block is saying you’ve put the bar too high, and you’re afraid of not measuring up. Take the bar and put it much lower for the first writing session, so you have permission to simply play with your ideas and words instead of trying to whip them into submission.

3. Put some fire in your belly

Although writing should be an activity you look forward to, it’s not a bad idea to put some pressure on yourself to complete projects.

You have to put deadlines in place or else everything else will always come first like family, friends, work, binge-watching Top Chef — the list goes on.

I don’t have the luxury to be able to write all day, so I give myself an hour.

It cuts out the wiggle room to check Facebook or pet the dogs. The hour is my precious time to get to it without second-guessing myself. I almost never get done what I wanted to, but it leaves me hungry for more the next day, and hungry for writing is what I need to be when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m.

4. Stay organized before your ideas drift away

Part of holding yourself accountable is making sense of and organizing all the ideas bouncing around in your head.

Try using Trello to track your ideas and keep you on a solid, tangible path to completion rather than being overwhelmed by all you want to do. If you’re a visual person who likes to see how much you’re completing, this might really work for you.

And don’t let whispers of ideas get away from you. I jot down everything that zips through my head and go back to it. The other day I wrote “Facebook friends–not really even friends” in my Google docs document. I went back to it later in the week and started fleshing it out and quickly had a very successful blog post on my hands called,  “If I Die Tomorrow, Would My Facebook “Friends” Come to the Funeral?”

I didn’t know exactly where the piece was going, so I just jotted down the messy, imperfect ideas as they came to me, and eventually the ideas turned into solid sentences and new ideas I didn’t have when I started.

It was a thread I kept tugging at that started with an idea I had at my day job, but had I not started with the simple act of jotting down my ideas, the piece wouldn’t have been born because it would have remained trapped in my brain that is easily distracted and pulled.

5. Stop devoting all your time to reading books about being a better writer

It’s so great to learn from people who have more experience that they want to share with you, but constantly reading books on how to be a better writer is yet another excuse to not write.

Writing conferences and networking are important to keep your head in the game, but in order to be a part of that game, you first have to write.

There is no way around simply putting your butt in a chair to write.

6. Don’t wait for the perfect time to start writing

I used to be the master at doing everything under the sun before I would park my procrastinating butt down to write.

I would make excuses like, “I can’t focus on writing if the house isn’t clean.”

The truth is, there will always be something to pull us away from writing if we let it, but at the end of the day, if we do let it, it means we’re not making writing be an important part of our lives. And that means we won’t succeed.

The perfect time to write is right now because you are the only you in this world who will put your spin on ideas. We’re not looking for perfection — just you and your ideas you’ve given permission to dance imperfectly onto the screen.

These steps won’t magically lead you to a land of daily effortless writing. Writing is hard because you care about what you want to say and how you want to reach people. If you didn’t care, it wouldn’t be hard, and you wouldn’t be a writer.

Now, sit that butt down, write some garbage and keep coming back to it with patience and an open mind. Do the same tomorrow and the next day.

The post Get Out of Your Own Way: 6 Creative Tips to Crush Writer’s Block appeared first on The Write Life.


Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-08-12T01:49:12+00:00 August 11th, 2017|Categories: General|Tags: |

'Annabelle' Scares Up an Impressive $4M from Thursday Previews

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Annabelle: Creation got off to a great start last night, bringing in $4 million from Thursday previews, nearly doubling the $2.1 million in previews for Annabelle and topping the $3.3 million in previews for The Conjuring and the $3.4 million in previews for The Conjuring 2.

This doesn’t necessarily mean it will improve not the $37 million opening for Annabelle or near the $40+ million debuts for either Conjuring film as previews can be very front-loaded, but it does s…
Source: Box Office Mojo

By | 2017-08-12T01:49:43+00:00 August 10th, 2017|Categories: General|Tags: |

Everything We’ve Ever Published About Getting Paid to Write

There’s one thing we know for sure about the community here at The Write Life:

You want to earn a living from your writing.

There are several paths to explore to get paid to write, but one in particular stands out among The Write Life’s readership: freelance writing.

With close to 900 posts published since The Write Life launched in 2013, our articles on freelance writing are among the most popular and widely-shared on the site.

We’ve rounded up 30+ blog posts and resources from The Write Life to help you land more writing jobs and get paid.

Where to find writing jobs

Publications that pay freelance writers

How to charge + getting paid

More freelance writing advice

Have other ideas for posts you’d like to see about writing on The Write Life? Let us know in the comments below.

The post Everything We’ve Ever Published About Getting Paid to Write appeared first on The Write Life.


Source: Writer Life

By | 2017-08-12T01:49:25+00:00 August 10th, 2017|Categories: General|Tags: |