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Career Story: Freelance Magazine Writer

Freelance Magazine Writer

Job Title: Writer

Type of Company: I write articles for various magazines, working for myself.

Education: BA, English, Stonehill College

Previous Experience: I worked as an editor at a magazine publisher and had several other jobs in the publishing field before launching my writing career.

Job Tasks: I write articles for magazines. I start with an assignment from an editor and research the topic online. I will set appointments (usually over the phone) with experts in the field I am writing about, call them and ask a series of questions. I'll also try to interview a "regular person" who has a relevant story to share. For example, if I am writing an article about community farms I might interview a farmer, or a farm manager, or someone who buys food from the farm. Then I pull together all the info from my research and interviews to write an article, usually within an assigned word count that might range from 200-2000 words.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best parts are being able to talk to people who are experts at what they do and to craft well-written sentences and articles, which I enjoy. I also have the flexibility to set my own hours.

Worst parts are that sometimes the workflow is uneven: I may be busier than I like for a few weeks or longer, then I'll have a quiet stretch. In this line of work the cash follows the assignments, so I have to be careful with budgeting.

Job Tips:
1. Write whatever you can, for your high school or college paper, for web sites, a blog. Practice helps.

2. Learn the difference between academic writing and most print/web writing. Academic writing doesn't try to be interesting or elegant; most other writing does.

3. Work at a company for a few years before venturing out on your own and build your network. You will need contacts and connections when you venture out on your own.

Additional Thoughts: Freelance writing is a great way to balance work and life, whether your life is kids, travel, friends, hobbies, whatever. But you need to build the contacts and connections to get assignments--there's a lot of competition out there.

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