Monday, August 16, 2010

Finding a Freelance Writing Mentor

I’ve been making a living as a freelance writer for four years now. It’s taken a lot of tenacity

If you’re just getting started as a freelance writer and your goal is to earn enough to cover your living expenses, consider finding an experienced writer to serve as your mentor. Finding someone who is already successfully doing what you aspire to do provides guidance, inspires you and pushes you to persevere - even during the inevitable tough times.

Here’s the thing though – most writers making a living doing what they do work hard at it. Time is a valuable commodity when working for yourself, and they don’t have time to waste. They are often approached by people asking advice about how to get started freelancing. The problem is the majority of inquiries are from people unwilling to consider all of the work freelance writing involves. Unfortunately many inquiring minds aren’t willing to expend enough energy to conduct to research to get an idea of how to get started. It can make these writers much less receptive to helping someone just getting started which is unfortunate because a mentor can cut the learning curve significantly.

You’re sure to come across helpful, experienced writers via freelance writer blogs, social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and writer forums. These are great places to get to not only get valuable information that can help you kick off your business; it’s also an opportunity to get to know these writers on a more personal level while exchanging ideas and engaging in conversation. Another bonus: they get to see that you are serious about the business of freelancing so if you approach them for help they are more likely to oblige.

When you find someone willing to serve as your freelancing mentor, don’t blow the opportunity. Take advantage of their willingness to show you the ropes and show your appreciation of the time they are investing by doing the following:

  • Participate in the process - put forth some effort
  • Be willing to take action
  • Provide updates on your progress
  • Be committed


Lori said...

Perfect timing, per usual, Kim. :) I love helping writers. If a writer came to me today with a few questions, however, I'd have to ignore them. I'm up to my neck in work! That's the side of the mentoring that some newer writers get frustrated with - they want an answer now, today, INSTANTLY, and we're just plain busy.

I love the social networking suggestion. If I have time to hang out on one of those forums, I'm more inclined to have time to answer a question or two.

I love also when a writer who has asked for my advice comes back with an update. It's great to see forward progress! It also helps me measure just what advice was most effective for them.

Yazz said...

As a newbie with a blog in the developmental stages, I can attest to what you have said because in the short time that I have been acquainted with you, I feel better about blogging, less afraid to post on my blog or comment on others'. I'm getting there.

Devon Ellington said...

And remember to say thank you.

Any time a freelancer takes the time to mentor, that is billable time being given away.

Even if you chose not to use the advice given, at least say thank you.

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