Pull up a chair, I want to tell you a story about how I created one of the best writing opportunities for myself using the most ridiculously easy methods known to man. It’s not a huge secret, and it’s something you can do as soon as you finish this post. No, I mean it; as soon as you’re done reading this, you can go create some great opportunities by doing one little thing: asking.
That’s it. Magical and mysterious, right? Not really.
Being a freelance writer means you’re always looking for new work. Believe me, I’ve spent plenty of time reading job boards and replying to posts with a million other writers. It’s no wonder why I hardly ever hear back. So why not ask someone for an opportunity instead of waiting for it to fall into your lap?
Back in December I wrote a piece for MoxyMag.com about what I wish I had known before buying a house. It was my first piece for the mag and I was excited about it. Moxy tweeted it, I tweeted it– it was all good. Then out of nowhere, LendingTree.com retweeted my article. I stared at the computer screen for a few minutes trying to believe that a big company had just found my article and retweeted it. But there it was in front of me! The opening for an opportunity.
I was familiar with LendingTree.com but I had never read their blog before. I headed over and browsed through and had a great idea for a blog series. Since they liked my article for Moxy, I figured I could pitch the blog idea and see what happened.
I had nothing to lose and was expecting a, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
That’s the key. Understand that when you pitch an idea, you have nothing to lose. If you let fear prevent you from even trying, you will never know if your pitch could have been received with open arms.
I sent off an email to a contact on the LendingTree site and mentioned that my article had been retweeted, that I was really excited about it, and that I had a great idea for a blog that would be perfect for them. I was asking for an opportunity that otherwise might not have manifested itself in this way. You know what they said? They loved the idea and had been thinking about doing a series like my pitch, but hadn’t yet. I fleshed out ideas with Anna, their social media director (and the wonderful woman who retweeted my article), and the blog will be up next month.
I can’t wait to share it and get feedback. The blog takes you through our home buying process with stories from the trenches, while providing useful tips along the way. We certainly had some struggles finding a house, closing, and then dealing with our seller all while preparing for a wedding, so hopefully our shenanigans will be useful to other buyers.
The main point: If you have a great idea and you want to write, just ask for the opportunity. Pitch your idea and make sure you’re passionate about it. You won’t always get the job you’re seeking, but you will give yourself a better chance of succeeding at freelancing if you’re willing to put yourself out there. I believe better/more rewarding writing work is the work you create and pitch. The job boards may have some decent opportunities, but you’ll stand out from the crowd a bit more when you ignore your hesitations and push forward with a great idea.