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13 freelance markets to explore beyond article writing

Widen your freelance horizons.

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Many people equate freelancing with writing articles, but savvy freelancers know there are many, many other avenues available to writers looking for work. These paid jobs can be a great way to stretch your skills as a writer and bring in some extra cash to boot. With a little research, a polished cover letter, and an updated resume, you will be on your way to expanding your freelance horizons. Here are some freelancing opportunities to consider.

Resume writer 

Do you have an eye for detail and an understanding of human resources or the corporate world? If so, resume writing may be something to consider. Start by reading current resume writing reference books to understand what goes into an effective resume, and then read examples online from professional resume writers. Each industry has its own set of corporate phrases and jargon, and you need to learn and understand those as well. There is an art to highlighting a client’s skills, job history, strengths, and achievements in a clear and succinct way. Pam Farone, certified resume writer, career coach, and founder of Careerfulness, suggests having a good working knowledge of Microsoft Word. “Knowing different formatting tricks is important,” Farone says. She aims to make a resume look visually appealing without being overly fancy. Why? Employers use software to filter resumes, looking for keywords that bring people with the most relevant experience to the top. Complex formatting can throw off those results.  To find clients, Farone suggests starting with your own network of friends and professional colleagues to let them know you are offering this service. Also think about providing coaching or resume assistance at a local library or other organization to help spread the word. 

Greeting cards

Finding the perfect card to send a friend or loved one can take time because you want one that conveys a special heartfelt message like cards from Blue Mountain Arts or something witty from Oatmeal Studios to make them laugh out loud. Many greeting card companies rely on freelance writers to create this content. Although there is not much text in a greeting card, there is skill involved when creating the messages. Dawn Abraham, editor at Oatmeal Studios, says when crafting humorous cards, writers should “think positive, short, funny copy that has a good lead on the outside (that makes you want to open the card) and a good punchline on the inside (that makes you laugh).” She adds that certain qualities go into an effective funny card. It should have some tie-in with the special occasion, and it should have a broad humorous appeal (like a good one-liner).The card might accomplish these things by using visual tie-ins with illustration, cartoon, or photo suggestions, but a good card idea often will stand on its own with just the writing. 

With heartfelt cards, create a sentiment that focuses on the emotions surrounding a special occasion or life event. Have a specific person in mind when writing any greeting cards. This will help create an authentic voice and make your words more marketable. Read and follow submission guidelines before submitting your ideas. 

Travel guide writer

Companies like Lonely Planet and Frommer’s create comprehensive travel guides, and they seek writers knowledgeable about specific travel destinations to write these guides. Experienced freelance writer Kinsey Gidick, who has written travel guides for Fodor’s, Roads & Kingdoms, and Anthony Bourdain’s Explore Parts Unknown, believes the best travel guide writers are experts on the destination they’re writing about. “This means they haven’t just parachuted into a location for a weekend,” she says, “but have either lived there or visited frequently and can bring institutional knowledge to the destination.” 

Gidick has three pieces of advice for those seeking to write travel guides. First, know your audience, be it a traveler on a budget or a big spender, and be as inclusive as possible with your information, including everything from family-friendly options to travel tips for those living with a disability. Next, always fact check. “The minute you write about one new restaurant, another has closed,” Gidick says. Ensuring your copy is as current as possible will show editors you are thorough and meticulous. Finally, she says to go off the beaten path. “Differentiate yourself by showcasing to readers the new and unexpected things they can find in a given destination. Then back it up with strong reporting and easy-to-follow how-tos that guide the reader as to how they can uncover the same spots you’ve found.” To find these jobs, you can pitch the editors directly or look on job boards. Gidick suggests starting with convention centers and visitors bureaus to see if they need copywriters. 

 

Devotionals 

If you enjoy writing short, inspirational words of encouragement based on biblical or spiritual messages, devotional writing may be perfect for you. The good news is that editors in this market tend to be open to new writers. Each piece usually averages around 250-300 words and is anchored on a passage of scripture or certain message. In their online writers guidelines, the Christian publishing organization The Upper Room says devotionals should contain a personal story, connection to scripture, and a way for the reader to apply the story to their life. Keep the devotionals more inclusive, so they appeal to a broader audience. Your messages should be genuine and honest while not being too preachy. Powerful devotionals tend to draw from personal experiences. Think about challenges you have experienced, a powerful event, an awakening, a life-changing moment, a sad or funny experience…start creating a list of these different topics you can write about. Study the market, read the guidelines and follow them for each place where you plan to submit your work. Read devotionals they have already published to give you an idea of the style, tone, and formatting they expect. Once you understand what is expected, write a few and then submit them to various markets. 

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