Thirteen Low or No-Cost Techniques to Pick Up Paying Assignments ASAP By Beth Ann Erickson

I receive dozens of e-mails each week asking, “OK. I love writing. But how do I get PAYING assignments!?!?”

Depending on where you live, landing those paying jobs may not be as hard as you think. The secret is to start small and build from there.

I began my writing career covering local city council and school board meetings. That job alone gave me more clips than I knew what to do with. And earning $50 to $75 for an evening’s work wasn’t a bad starting wage either.

1. So here’s your first technique to start your writing business: approach your local newspaper editor. Ask if they need someone to cover meetings. If they do, you’re on your way earning a living as a writer.

2. Armed with your local clips, you can start approaching bigger markets, markets like small and mid-sized magazines that are hungry for new articles. Start querying them and wait for their response.

3. While you’re waiting to hear from your magazine queries, chat with a few of the mayors, city council people, school board members, etc. that you’ve met at your meetings. Most of them are business people. Ask if they need their brochures updated, ads or direct mail letters written, or if they need a writer-for-hire for any project they may have brewing. You’d be surprised how many business people will take you up on your offer after they’ve witnessed your diligence and accuracy while covering their meetings.

4. Plus, with the good name you’ve cultivated in your community covering city council meetings, you can also start writing for other local businesses.

Now it’s time to deviate from your twelve techniques for just a minute. In case you don’t already know, writing for businesses (otherwise known as copywriting) is a great way to earn a living wage as a writer. Depending on the market, you can reasonably expect to earn $30 – $50 per hour as a beginner.

So how do you pick up commercial clients? Easy. Good writers are in demand, especially as the economy softens. Business clients need writers who get results. And if your copywriting pulls in responses, you’ll get work.

Now back to the techniques….

5. To start attracting commercial clients, you can run a small ad in your local paper. As your expertise increases, place more ads in surrounding papers. Maybe you’ll want to place a snappy classified ad in the business section.

6. Another way to get business clients is to join your Chamber of Commerce. You’ll meet the movers and shakers in your community and make invaluable contacts.

7. Send out a direct mail piece. I write a quarterly newsletter and it never fails to pull in a few new assignments. You can write a snappy sales letter complete with reply form and buckslip, or you can keep your package small with just a short letter.

8. Another technique to keep the money rolling in as a freelance writer is to have lots of irons in the fire. Along with the magazine queries, and copywriting, I always have a book in the works and am busy sending out proposals for it. I know one local writer who has cultivated a devoted clientele who has her write all their correspondence