Reaching a goal, especially one you had in mind for a while, is a fulfilling and — in my case hopefully rewarding — experience. Over parts of March and April, I took part in a six-week online Freelance Writers Bootcamp. I wrote about it a few months ago when it had just started.
After finishing the online course, I felt my mojo has fallen back in place. My motivation, which never entirely left me over the last few years, was back. The knowledge I gained reminded me again of how much I enjoy being a lifelong learner and opening my mind to new possibilities.
I now know the process of story pitching, including some steps I was told not all freelancers undertake, and have sent out my first three pitches. As expected, and with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic further eroding the freelance budgets of publications everywhere, I’m still waiting for my first story assignment.
But I knew this might take some time and I will keep at it. My goals over the next three months are to continue to pitch, refining the process as I go along; to cut back on the research time involved (I have a tendency to fall down the “research rabbit hole”) and be alert for different angles my pitching might be able to take.
My mindset has changed due to the bootcamp, too. As I did back in the day as a struggling reporter, I’m looking at stories and developments with an eye to story angles I might pursue. There are a few methods I picked up to develop story ideas as well.
Identifying websites and publications to pitch is something else I learned. Taking a close look at the types of stories they publish and how they tell the story, knowing who the editor is and the average length of their stories are some of the things to consider. How well I fit their platform is another consideration. Just looking closely at each outlet and finding good fits.
The pandemic has only added to the competition, with thousands of more journalists furloughed or laid off trying their freelance options due to the erosion of already diminished advertising revenue. So this won’t be an easy challenge. But I feel ready for the long haul and am anxious to see that first assignment and build from there.
Getting to this point has been a back-of-mind goal of mine for the last several years, after a couple of years of very limited success applying for full-time work following my move to the Colorado Front Range.
Now it feels like my road is a little straighter and less of a climb. I have new tools and a stronger engine to get me where I want to go. The rest is up to perseverance, something I used to great benefit earlier in my career. It’s time to see if there’s another chapter in my story.