First, one of the things I have to say is all that talk about the “lifestyle” writers lead is totally true. For the last 20 years, I have been getting paid to take trips, go to events, and hang out with celebrities. Just a few days ago, I spent the day with a beautiful, blond national TV star. And, got paid to do it. Not a bad way to make a paycheck.
Now, after two decades of doing the whole Freelance Writer thing, I have learned a few things. One is that you can go on one trip and sell multiple articles. You see, all you have to do is find non-competitive markets, and slightly different things to write about.
A few years ago, I had to go to the Keweenaw Peninsula, in Michigan’s U.P. on assignment for a snowmobile magazine. The event I was going to lasted the better part of a week. Thing was, there was this important part on Wednesday night. And, then nothing I really had to be there for until Saturday night.
Now, I could have just hung out in the hotel. Sipping tea. Nibbling muffins. And, enjoying the view from my hotel. Which was totally awesome. Right on the canal. With the tea, the muffins, and the hotel room all being taken care of. Oh, along with the tea and muffins, this place also had some totally to-die-for BBQ ribs. (OK, I didn’t work all the time I was there. Oh, and did I mention the pool and hot tub?)
Most people would think that I would have to be totally under contract to whoever was paying the bills. The answer is kind of yes and no. Yes, I was there to do an article for a specific magazine. But, no, they did not care what I did with my spare time as long as I wasn’t selling it to a competitor. If they paid my expenses, and then suddenly saw an article in one of their competitors that I wrote. I would have been about as popular as chopped liver in a glass of Champagne.
However, on this assignment, I had some free time and found a totally different topic. Magazine “A” was a snowmobile magazine who covered some of my expenses. Magazine “B” was a hunting and fishing magazine. Using the old noodle to think this up ahead of time, when I was getting ready, along with my snowmobile gear, I also packed my fishing gear. Some spare time. A little fishing. Who’s to complain about a guy doing a bit of fishing in his spare time on a relatively famous body of water (Lake Superior)? Oh, and just because I had a buyer, I sold another article.
Everybody was happy, happy, happy. That is, the snowmobile magazine that sent me there was totally happy with me. They got the article about the event I was sent to cover. The hunting and fishing magazine was totally happy. They got an article about ice fishing on Lake Superior. And, me? Of course I was happy. Two paychecks. One trip. That kind of math works for me every time. Oh, and don’t forget the hot tub and ribs.
Now, it does not have to be the way I did it. Anytime you are out on assignment, keep your eyes open. Like, this past summer, I was on the way to cover a Paranormal convention, which was being held at a local casino. That was totally fun. But, on the way, I tripped over a boat show. Bingo.
Stephen King has been working for almost 20 years as a Freelance Writer and Photographer. His work has appeared in many local, regional, and national publications. He has sold roughly 2,500 articles with about double that number of published photos. And, no, he is not the other Stephen King, from Maine. This Stephen King specializes in motor sports and other outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing. He lives in a small Native American fishing village on the shore of Lake Michigan, in Michigan’s U.P., with his three small dogs.