The mere word ‘freelance’ worries a lot of people.
They immediately think ‘poor’, ‘struggling’, ‘dreamer’, ‘unemployed’, ‘I’ll have to pay for my own drink’ etc. Whilst I urge you to play that up (get people feeling sorry for you…) lets get real about what freelance is, and isn’t.
Firstly, a freelance journalist is vastly different from a full-time newspaper journalist. There, that’s upset a few full-time journos. But, they are different. A freelance has to conceive the article idea, research (sometimes over a lengthy timeframe), sell AND collect the money…effectively a ‘complete’ small business.
The world has 1,000’s of freelance journalists making big money (for those who think that’s important) and Australia has almost 160 earning $200,000 plus a year.
In terms of recognised freelances, there are scores of examples.
STEPHEN KING started sending articles to editors when only 16 years old (receiving dozens of rejection letters*) that he would nail to the wall. Finally, after two years, the magazine Comics Review accepted his article “I Was a Teenage Graverobber”
*read his autobiography On Writing
CAMERON CROWE ‘Almost Famous’ is the semi-autobiographical story of a young freelance writer (Crowe) following a band on tour for a piece in Rolling Stone. Though now an established screenwriter, director and producer, he continues to freelance for the Los Angeles Times.
ISAAC ASIMOV became famous for numerous novels but started sending his work off to be published in (mostly) science fiction magazines.
J. D. SALINGER contributed many articles to periodicals like Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s before penning the book that would define a generation.
And more; Willie Nelson, Ray Bradbury, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack London, Mark Twain, Jimmy Page (pre Led Zeppelin) Irving Berlin and Jimi Hendrix – and so many more who started in freelance.
I have met and worked – in Australia and overseas – with the best, the ordinary and….er, others – and I just know there is a genuine opportunity for a freelance journalist – especially in a world where journalists are being made redundant before their time – to carve an ongoing career and generate $$$.
And, best of all, you will OWN your future.