by Catherine L. Tully
There are many ways to develop your income stream as a freelance writer. You can do it all by writing…or you can share some of your knowledge with others. When you get to a certain point in your career, teaching and speaking become a possibility for those who would like to diversify a bit.
Both Joe and I have spoken at writing-related conferences and panels–and have been paid to do so. You have to have some decent “clout” to do it, but if you are able to, it’s a great way to pad out your income a bit. It’s also a great way to network. Plus, it’s fun–and sometimes you even get to travel!
Teaching is also a great opportunity. You can share what you know about freelancing with others–and make some money in the process. Joe and I recently taught a freelance writing seminar in the Chicagoland area and are scheduled to do another one this summer. We have also moved into the social media realm, and will be teaching a class on that as well in July.
The nice part about expanding your horizons a bit as you advance your career is that it keeps everything interesting. You are also able to give back to the writing community in a way that helps others move forward and take those first steps into the field. If you’ve been around a while, you may want to start exploring some of these options–they are really worth a look!
This past weekend I spoke to the Minnesota Christian Writers Guild about photography for writers. Mary Heitzman, President of the Guild, had invited me to come and talk after seeing an article I had written on the subject. Now you may think I am going to talk about the presentation, but I’m not. I’m going to touch on something else instead….
Every time I speak to a group of writers I honor a commitment I made to myself early on in my writing career–to help other writers. And every time I do this–I am reminded of how lonely this career choice can be. I went to the meeting and sat in the back, waiting for my turn to talk. A woman named Cheryl came up to me and introduced herself. She is in the process of writing a book–a fact I discovered as we talked a bit. Turns out, she thought I was a member who was attending the meeting for the first time. She didn’t want to see me sitting by myself, so she decided to reach out and talk to me.
The meeting began and I listened to the members as they gave each other the support and encouragement that only one writer can offer another. They asked how many people had been published since the last meeting. Turns out one of the members had her very first piece published in Guideposts! Everyone shared in the joy–including me! Others had varying degrees of success–and failure–as we all do at various times in our career. The group really came together to rally for one another.
I have to say, it can be easy to forget that there are many other people out there who are writing every day. These people share many of the same joys and challenges that we do–but we don’t really know about that unless we connect with them. We can share our triumphs and our tragedies–our hopes and our fears. We can provide a safe environment for one another where questions can be asked and answered.
A place where no one is left sitting alone at the back of the room.
If you don’t already belong to a writers group, you may want to consider finding one in your area–and if you live in Minnesota–this group is well worth the trip.
Thanks to each and every person who was at the meeting that I spoke at. You have inspired this post with your warmth and your support for one other. Keep up the good work–and keep writing!