Modern Journalist Toolkit 19: A new answer to “Why now?”

Modern Journalist Toolkit 19: A new answer to “Why now?”

In South Africa, “now” means sometime in the near future. “Now now” means even sooner. And when an editor (anywhere in the world) asks why your story is important now, they mean when the piece will be published and read. That could be tomorrow, in three months, or a year. Anticipating this aspect of your story […]

Freelance Writer Retreat near Cape Town, South Africa

Freelance Writer Retreat near Cape Town, South Africa

Registration for the Freelance Writer RETREAT near Cape Town, South Africa, is now open. Two days of workshops focused on boosting your confidence, skills, and bottom line as a freelance writer. Plus, penguins. Imagine if you could easily generate freelance article ideas that delighted you, your editors (or the editors you want to write for), […]

7 ways your environment impacts your writing and creativity

7 ways your environment impacts your writing and creativity

Is your surrounding environment helping or hurting your creativity? As a freelance writer, you may feel like you’re supposed to be able to work anywhere. Maybe you’ve done great work under stressful conditions. But small environmental stresses can build up over time and erode the confidence, stamina, and support that lead to your best work. […]

That thing you want to write

Early bird registration is now open for the Freelance Writer Retreat near Cape Town, South Africa. Visit www.rebeccalweber.com/retreat to register. In my own small way, I’ve taken the advice of Toni Morrison to heart: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” A […]

Modern Journalist Toolkit 18: How to leave a conference full of freelance article ideas (but not tote bags full of brochures)

Modern Journalist Toolkit 18: How to leave a conference full of freelance article ideas (but not tote bags full of brochures)

The first time I went to a large trade show as a freelance writer, I wandered around, mindlessly stuffing free tote bags full of every single brochure and pamphlet on display. When I got home I was completely overwhelmed. I had no idea how to coax those stacks of paper (most of which was a […]

Modern Journalist Toolkit 17/Digital nomad: Freelancing on the road

Modern Journalist Toolkit 17/Digital nomad: Freelancing on the road

When I saw this VW van in California a few weeks ago, I thought immediately about a recent article about #vanlife. Somebody who thought she could do her job remotely was surprised to find out that she couldn’t work on her computer during a bumpy ride, nor connect for calls in the middle of a […]

Takeaways from the ASJA writers conference

Takeaways from the ASJA writers conference

A few years ago a freelance writer tried to persuade me to attend the ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) conference in New York City. I had lots of practical reasons why not to go: Me: It’s a 24-hour trip each way for me. I can’t afford to take off the days of the […]

Modern Journalist Toolkit 15: For freelancers who are worth the money

Modern Journalist Toolkit 15: For freelancers who are worth the money

When I started freelancing, I was 100% DIY. Pitching, researching, writing, editing–that was me. Tech support, print cartridge buyer, office cleaner–that was me too. One of the tricky things about making a good living as a freelance writer is getting a feel for what to do yourself and where to spend–or invest–time and money. Some […]

Modern Journalist Toolkit 14: Saving and organizing clips

Modern Journalist Toolkit 14: Saving and organizing clips

Way back in the day, our freelance ancestors clipped their articles out of paper magazines and newspapers with scissors, and made photocopies to send to editors. They sent the clips (or cuttings) with a system called snail mail. It cost money and it took days–many thousands of minutes longer than the emails and links we […]

Modern Journalist Toolkit 12: What’s in my bag

Modern Journalist Toolkit 12: What’s in my bag

When you’re out on a freelance writing assignment, you want to find a good balance between bringing everything you might need and packing light. I normally like to keep all my gear in a regular backpack. Some of you may disagree, and opt for something that is more stylish or that more plainly says, “Hey! […]

Setting 2017 freelance writer goals

Setting 2017 freelance writer goals

If you’ve already signed up for the 2017 goal-setting challenge for freelance writers, watch the video below to get yourself ready. Otherwise you can click here to register for the goal-setting challenge: www.rebeccalweber.com/2017goals If you’re not feeling like looking back at 2016, scroll below to read about my own resistance to this exercise. When it […]

Writers, what does 2017 have in store for you?

Press play to take a screenshot and find out. Happy new year! 2017 GOAL-SETTING CHALLENGE for FREELANCE WRITERS Join me in January when I share my annual process with freelance writers. Daily prompts (emails and videos) will help expand and refine your vision of writing success. + Clarify writing goals + Strategize your plan + […]

7 most popular posts of 2016

7 most popular posts of 2016

Would you be surprised to hear that this Backstory blog was originally conceived of as a place to post comics about what goes on behind the scenes when writing articles? A few years ago, I was not imagining that I would be making videos, teaching freelance writers how to pitch, leading goal-planning challenges, or even […]

Modern Journalist Toolkit 10: Color Me Quick

Modern Journalist Toolkit 10: Color Me Quick

One antidote to overresearching, overreporting, overthinking, and overwriting is a really tight deadline. This video offers some takeaway tips on quick reporting in the field: For many freelancers, breaking news is part of a mix that keeps things fresh and exciting. For writers who are used to working in isolation, there’s a satisfying sense of […]

Modern Journalist Toolkit 9: Long-distance clients and time zones

Modern Journalist Toolkit 9: Long-distance clients and time zones

Choosing to work with far-flung freelance clients typically requires two schedule modifications. The first is a flexible attitude, and the other is a system to manage the different time zones. Flexibility with your schedule Your existing commitments may mean that you can’t or don’t want to work in the mornings, evenings, weekends, local holidays, etc. If you […]

“Just” an interview vs. THE interview

“Just” an interview vs. THE interview

During a very long delay at the Atlanta airport, way back when, I sat on the floor and read my first longform interview in Rolling Stone magazine. It was my foray into reading adult publications. I was enthralled by the in-depth conversations about the creative process, life on the road, and the surprisingly unglamorous backstories […]

The next round of Freelance Writer Bootcamp is on me (for one of you)

The next round of Freelance Writer Bootcamp is on me (for one of you)

I’m offering a full scholarship for one person to attend the next round of Freelance Writer Bootcamp. That person could be you! >> Click here to apply for the Freelance Writer Bootcamp scholarship. This six-week Bootcamp program is for writers starting as freelancers and looking to pitch and sell their first story, as well as […]

Modern Journalist Toolkit 8: Saving time with sourcing services

Modern Journalist Toolkit 8: Saving time with sourcing services

So tell me, are you that incredibly well-connected writer who always knows the savvy, witty person to contact for insight and comment on every story, regardless of topic or audience? Is your contacts list completely up-to-date? Does everyone immediately take your call, or respond within minutes to your messages? No? Me neither. But I am […]

Modern Journalist Toolkit 7: Three-minute marketing makeover

Modern Journalist Toolkit 7: Three-minute marketing makeover

The humble email signature is one of the overlooked workhorses of your marketing efforts as a freelance writer. You are more likely focusing on the brilliant idea you’re developing and pitching, but the contact details you provide give you an opportunity to come across as thoughtful and professional—or not. In the worst-case scenario, your signature […]

Modern Journalist Toolkit 6: Yusuf Omar on Reporting with Snapchat

Modern Journalist Toolkit 6: Yusuf Omar on Reporting with Snapchat

Yusuf Omar is a cell-phone trailblazer. He finds unconventional uses for apps like Snapchat, Facebook Live, and 360 video for telling serious news stories, most of which are viewed on small screens. Omar is the new mobile editor at the Hindustan Times, one of India’s largest English newspapers, with a print circulation of more than […]