Sunday, January 31, 2010

TROUBLING NEWS FOR FREELANCERS CONTINUES...

BEACON FLASH #42  - February 2010

December 2009 brought the news that the National Geographic Adventure magazine is folding after the Jan/Feb 2010 issue. January 2010 brought the news that many markets are slashing the fees paid for articles so severely that many freelance writers cannot earn a living any longer. Along with that depressing news, evidence exists that articles are getting shorter and less well researched. (See LA Times here.)

Freelancers are smart if they develop other ways to earn revenue that keep them writing and feeding their creativity.
Some suggestions:

  • don't give up your day job right now if you're lucky enough to have one
  • pass along your knowledge through sessions at your community college's continuing ed programs
  • today, even with point and shoot cameras, anyone can take photos good enough for print. Start selling your digital images to print and online markets
  • sell your images to businesses and institutions
  • write copy for company websites - small businesses are always looking for assistance.
  • tutor students in English and writing
  • offer to write promotional copy for small businesses
  • provide editing/formatting services if you are good at this aspect of writing
Do what you have to do to keep food on the table, but don't forget to keep writing, even if it is just for practice.

Help yourself stay motivated by:
  • Continuing your professional development - make a list of what you want to know more about, prioritize it, and work your way through it. 
  • Keeping current in your area(s) of interest. 
  • Remaining engaged with your writing community. 
  • Keeping a writing journal of ideas (in a notebook or on a voice recorder) that will provide fodder for articles when the climate warms up for freelancers.
  • Learning how to edit your digital images with Picasa, a free program from Google - it's easy!
  • READ!!!