Modern Journalist Toolkit 2: Getting paid electronically

Modern Journalist Toolkit 2: Getting paid electronically

It continually surprises me that in the United States, one of the most technologically advanced countries, it’s still a widespread practice to send paper checks to freelance writers. This is true even at companies that have been paying staff via direct deposit for a decade. In most other countries, electronic funds transfers are secure and […]

Can I quote you on that?

Can I quote you on that?

Quotes aren’t necessary when submitting a query to an editor, which is one reason why including a good one can make a pitch really stand out. A proposal should have the same DNA as the final story. Original reporting brings new insight and life to most articles; even if it’s a given you’ll be speaking […]

Do editors find you irresistible?

Do editors find you irresistible?

Enroll for the next session of Freelance Writer Bootcamp here: www.freelancewriterbootcamp.com Many people are called to the writing life, and many try to freelance. But without a strategy in place, it can quickly become overwhelming. Where do writers get their best ideas? Where are the good markets? What are the formats used for queries and […]

How to read a publication like your future editor wants you to

How to read a publication like your future editor wants you to

(Scroll down to watch the video!) Not sure why your story ideas aren’t selling? If you ask an editor for advice on the best way for a freelance writer to break in to his or her publication, they often have the same response: “Read it first.” Unfortunately, some writers don’t take that super simple advice to […]

How to boost your earnings

How to boost your earnings

When reviewing your annual income, it’s hard not to look at whatever you earned and wish it had been a wee bit more. Some years, an awful lot more. With this in mind, here are three ways to increase your earnings this year: Grandfather in prices for most of your existing clients, and raise rates […]

3 Quick Online Portfolio Solutions

3 Quick Online Portfolio Solutions

Once upon a time, in a decade long, long ago, I hand coded my own writer website. To save money. (You’ve probably already heard that time is money, but apparently I hadn’t.) Back then, the site looked pretty good–for somebody who did it via HTML for Dummies. Problem was that I forgot to anticipate that […]

Introducing the Modern Journalist Toolkit

Introducing the Modern Journalist Toolkit

Welcome to the Modern Journalist Toolkit, an ongoing series that looks at new approaches and methods to support reporting and writing. Expect to see a fair amount of technology—some of the most frequent questions I get are about what apps and tools I use—but also new attitudes and strategies that make sense in the 21st […]

The one goal no freelance writer ever mentions

The one goal no freelance writer ever mentions

If you have taken one of my classes or worked with me one-on-one, I’ve asked you in one way or another about your freelance writing goals. Doing so ensures clarity and specificity so that we can recalibrate as necessary. While the details are important to the individual, over time I’ve seen general patterns of desire […]

Create Your Ultimate Editorial Contact List

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Create Your Ultimate Editorial Contact List

>>Download your free copy of my new eguide, Create Your Ultimate Editorial Contact List. Are you looking for new markets? Rather, markets that pay well, treat writers decently, and assign articles on topics of interest to you? I’ve been asked more than once by freelance writers where to find a current, master list of assigning […]

Writing Coach 6-Pack Special

Writing Coach 6-Pack Special

When I coach writing students, we normally work together for 12 or more weeks. This allows enough time to work on deeply on multiple challenges and ensures that we can continue to build on early successes. These students know that there’s no silver bullet to freelance success. However, I’ve had numerous requests for a smaller […]

Are you up for a writing challenge?

Are you up for a writing challenge?

The 12×12 Write Now Challenge 2016 begins next Monday, 11 January. Despite the deluge of tweeted resolutions and planning widgets that proliferate at this time of year, I’ve yet to see a plan or process that really meets the unique needs of freelance writers. Over time, I’ve created my own approach to reviewing what I’ve done and […]

2015’s best video about writing and breakthroughs

This video was filmed in 2013, but it has new resonance in 2015, which seems to have been the Year of Ta-Nehisi Coates. For every (frustrated) writer who wants an early draft to be their best, consider that this MacArthur Genius also never gets that “perfect thing” in his head out on to paper. Perseverance […]

Keep calm and follow up

Keep calm and follow up

A fellow writer asked for the best piece of advice I had for freelancers. Follow up, follow up, follow up.  As soon as I send something (a story pitch, a request for an interview, whatever), I schedule the follow ups on my calendar. This diffuses any emotional reaction to nonresponse/silence, and keeps things moving along on schedule. […]

On My Bookshelf: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

On My Bookshelf: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

If the title doesn’t tip you off, Elizabeth Gilbert’s theories about creativity and ideas are a bit woo-woo. Sometimes, seriously woo-woo. But most of her new book Big Magic is an easy-to-read take from somebody who is serious about her dedication to writing, and who sees creativity as a guiding life force rather than as […]

3 ways to become a better writer

3 ways to become a better writer

On the last morning of a silent meditation retreat, my teacher announced that he would tell us the three most important things about continuing a meditation practice at home. For a week, we had had a respite from daily life: no talking, no internet, no personal sagas, no decisions about what to do next. The normal […]

Which comes first, the story or the market?

Which comes first, the story or the market?

Looking for story ideas first and then scrambling for market suggestions often doesn’t work out in the long run. It likely took me a while to figure this out because that method is so common amongst freelance writers that it appears as if it’s the way things are done. Freelance forums typically have a bunch […]

Freelance Boot Camp: Writing queries that sell

Freelance Boot Camp: Writing queries that sell

Registration for the online version of Freelance Writer Bootcamp is currently closed. Sign up here to be the first to hear when enrollment opens up again.  It’s one thing to have a great idea for a story, another to know your dream markets, and something else entirely to know how to write a pitch letter […]

On My Bookshelf: It’s What I Do by Lynsey Addario

On My Bookshelf: It’s What I Do by Lynsey Addario

An afternoon shopping at New York’s Strand bookstore is an exercise in both decadence and restraint. Like most book lovers, I’ve back and forthed my reading habits to acknowledge the portability and economy of an e-reader. My criteria for buying physical books have become more specific: art and reference books, and out-of-print titles are the […]

Infographic: How to Become a Successful Freelance Writer

After hearing me describe the process of deconstructing a magazine to identify the most freelance-friendly sections, and how to customize a story idea, a student stared at me, with her mouth agape. “That sounds like a lot of work,” she said. Well, yes. But anybody who spends any time reading how-to-pitch type guides quickly hears […]

What to watch: Movies for the media

What to watch: Movies for the media

This trio of films have all found audiences with the general public, but may have particular resonance with journalists, photographers, and related members of the media. Finding Vivan Maier “Finding Vivan Maier” is both an introduction to the work of the prolific street photographer, as well as a dive into who she was and why […]