5 Helpful Tips For Freelance Writers

iStock_000010122252XSmallGuest post by Tom Knight

Almost by definition, freelance writing is a profession that demands individual interpretation and method. Because freelance writers and journalists are essentially self-employed, there is a great deal of flexibility involved in this sort of work – but also a great deal of responsibility on the writer’s shoulders. Ultimately, succeeding in your particular writing environment depends mostly on what works best for you. But in this line of work, any tip could be the one that helps you to improve your professionalism or efficiency. With that in mind, here are 5 general tips for advancing your career in freelance writing.

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Shop Talk Quickie: “Quoted” and “Secret” Book Project

photo borrowed from the linked articleI spend a surprising amount of my free time answering e-mails from newer freelance writers and prospective game journalists seeking advice on various aspects of freelancing in the gaming industry. I love to gab, you see, particularly when it comes to talking shop, so I’m always willing to help point folks in the right direction and offer whatever humble assistance or know-how I can provide. To that end, I’ve been doing some serious behind-the-scenes writing – some of which you’ll find in the Shop Talk and Ask The Freelance Dude advice columns here on the site. For the past year, I’ve been bashing out the rough draft of an extensive How-To book covering all the ins-and-outs of being a freelance game journalist, writer, critic, whathaveyou. I’m well past the half-way point and I can see the finish line in the distance. Woo! Huzzah! Not surprising news, perhaps, at least to folks who know me and read this site somewhat regularly.

In a month or so I hope to be launching a Kickstarter campaign to help raise enough funds to hire an editor and cover the myriad costs of completing and self-publishing the project. I’m working out the details, planning out my video thingy, and all that good stuff as we speak. I’ve already commissioned some AMAZING cover art, which I’m really thrilled with, and if all goes well with the campaign, I hope to have everything I need to motor through the home stretch, wrap up the book, and have it launched all shiny and polished by next spring. I’ll have an e-book, PDF, and print versions available. Fingers crossed!

In any event, if you’ve found my advice useful, have written-in with questions, are a fellow comrade in the freelance trenches, are interested in learning more about how to dive into the freelance world, or simply want to be an awesome person, I’d very much appreciate your help with spreading the good word when it’s time and contributing to the Kickstarter if you can. Thanks in advance! More info on that stuff shortly.

But that’s not the real reason I sat down to write this post.

A week or so ago I was contacted by  a writer fellow with a request to comment for a piece he was working on for What Culture. I obliged. Here’s the piece, if you care to read it. Short and sweet – but neato nonetheless.

Shop Talk: Not-So-Awesome Things About Being A Freelance Game Journalist

Welcome to the dark side of the force. No, I’m not your father, I don’t have a cool red light saber, and I’m wheezing from a distinct lack of exercise – thank you for your concern. But I do have some force knowledge to drop. Being a freelance game journalist, or whatever random bizarre combinations of words you prefer to describe yourself with in this field, is some damn hard work. You sometimes have to kick puppies, dip your appendages in molten lava, and drink battery acid. Or even worse: play 30 straight hours of “Magical Baby Friends in Yum Yum Land 3” until your eyes bleed out of their sockets. Sorry to harsh your mellow, but freelancing in this industry isn’t all flowers and cupcakes. Here are some of the decidedly not awesome things about this line of work.

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