Ugly Economy Doesn’t Have to Spell “Doom” for Writers By Darcy Maulsby

Ugly Economy Doesn’t Have to Spell “Doom” for Writers By Darcy Maulsby

The current recession reminds me of why I pursued a freelance writing career and have never regretted my decision.

After college, I worked as an online content editor (and loved my job), but was laid off in 2002 following the dot-com bust. That’s when I began pursuing a lifelong dream – to provide a valuable service to the business world, and be my own boss. I quickly picked up some work freelancing for a regional farm newspaper, and gradually built my client base through various ongoing marketing efforts, including networking, querying and cold calling.

Through the years, I’ve written for magazines, websites, real estate firms, cooperatives, retirement communities, insurance companies and more. As I’ve narrowed my focus, I now specialize in business, agriculture, food and garden writing. For someone who loves to learn and enjoys plenty of variety, this arrangement suits me well, and keeps the creative juices flowing. My writing has even led to a few speaking engagements and teaching opportunities in my area, which boosts my income.

When my husband and I decided to move back to my hometown of Lake City, Iowa, (population 1,800), it was such a relief to have a job that was also portable. Today, I continue to build my business. Earlier this year, I landed work from a company (Tree Care Industry Magazine) that was listed in the Paying Markets And Jobs section of WritersWeekly.

If I can do this from rural Iowa, you can, too. There are no secrets to this businessójust time-tested basics:

+ Be willing to work hard. This is no get-rich-quick scheme. Many days I put in more hours than I ever did in corporate America but I love being my own boss.

+ Remain on the lookout for new opportunities. You never know where your next job may come from. I landed an excellent trade magazine client by staying in touch with a newspaper colleague from my days as a college intern. When one of her acquaintances was looking for a Midwest-based ag writer, I was the first person she recommended.

+ Stay in touch. When one of my clients celebrated 30 years in business, I sent a gift basket of homemade jams. Even a simple, hand-written note will keep you in their mind.

Darcy Maulsby has written about business, agriculture, food and gardening for regional and national publications for more than 10 years. This Iowa State University journalism and business management graduate lives with her husband on an acreage near Lake City, Iowa, where you’ll find her cooking, gardening, quilting, and readingóusually with her pet cats or Frisbee-loving dog in tow. You can visit Darcy online at


Writing for Trade Magazines
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