Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Over the last few months, I've become very jaded about my current day job. I rock up to work and slog may way through the day - very uninspiring.

Why not quit?

Because there is simply nowhere in South Australia that would pay me the same amount of money, provide a relaxed environment, flexible working hours, and good conditions. Sounds like a dream place to be.

Notice I didn't mention good things about the people I work with. There are some good people here but none of them are managers. Everyone above me in the pecking order couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery, and love to do their best to make everyone's life harder than it needs to be.

I have no wish to become management, I couldn't handle working closer with these people. So if I'm not part of the solution, then I'm part of the problem. I don't want to be either - hence the desire to move on.

But, like everyone else, I have responsibilities, so I need something else to move on to. I scour the job market every day, but I can't find anything worthwhile, or that will match my skills with what I currently get - which is pretty good for South Australian standards. And I don't really want to stay in the same type of job. After 10 years in this industry and over 8 years at the same place, I'm bored.

Mid-life crisis, maybe, but I much prefer to snuggle with my wife, and I don't want to buy an e-type jag.

So it may be time to seriously look at freelancing. As it's part of my diploma course work, now is probably the best time to begin.

I put a few pitches forward to a couple of editors and an Adelaide company. I've put feelers out to increase my writing work to increase the income from it. I need to start researching the freelance markets sent to me by my lecturer, buy the magazines and become familiar with the style and type of article they accept.

I want to be a professional writer and earn a living from it. I want to work from home and still provide my family with the standard of living they've become accustomed to. I need to stop half trying.

My fiction may one day make some money, but freelancing is where the steady income will come from in the meantime. So I'll see what I can learn about freelance article writing over the next few months. I'll pump my lecturer, Mr Stone, for all I can in an effort to absorb knowledge, which I'll try to pass on here when I find successful strategies.

I've pretty much fallen into opportunities presently and taken a chance at suggesting articles to editors I've gotten to know. It's surprising how happy they are to get the pitches. They need to fill their publications and the more freelance stuff they get, the less they have to hunt around for fillers.

More pages of good articles = more space for advertising = more money for publication = happy editor = happy freelancer = more good articles.

So, my plan is to study the markets, start collecting ideas and pitch them at editors.

I need to learn about media packs, magazine publishing schedules (are they the same thing), who are the editors, market databases similar to the fiction databases, pitch formats and guidelines, payment standards, pitfalls and places to stay away from, job markets, etc, etc.

I'm sure this list will grow as my knowledge grows. When I first started learning about writing fiction, I gathered more questions than answers. I still learn new things all the time, and will always continue to do so, but now it's time to expand my knowledge across the freelance article side of professional writing.

Anybody have suggestions, gotcha warnings, tips, tricks, helpful hints? I'm sure we're all ears.


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