As freelance writers, we have an interesting position when it comes to competition. There are plenty of freelance writers out there — more everyday, as a matter of fact — but we aren’t really competing with each other the way some business owners must. Car salesmen have to compete as a matter of routine: most people purchase a car only once every several years.
But the amount of writing work available puts us in a very different league than car salesmen. Publications, online and off, need new material every month or day. There are always new businesses in need of copy, as well as existing businesses revamping their materials. All of that means that the competition for the work available doesn’t prevent a friendly relationship with other writers in your niche.
The Value of a Friendship
Building ties with the freelance writing community — both within your specific niche and with freelancers as a group — is crucial.
- Word-of-mouth: I’ve received some great writing gigs through the good graces of my fellow writers. I’ve also passed plenty along myself. In situations where a client brings us a project we can’t handle (maybe our schedules are too busy or it falls outside of our respective niches), it’s much better to pass that work along to another freelance writer who we know is capable of handling the project and keeping our client happy.
- Teaming Up: Teaming up with another freelance writer can be extremely valuable. Ever get handed a great project with a timeline that you’ll be hard-pressed to make? With another freelancers who you can turn to, you can take on big, time-sensitive projects without losing your mind.
- Getting an Introduction: some particularly wonderful markets can be extremely difficult to break into. The process speeds up quite a bit if one of the writers already working for that publication can introduce you to the editor.
- Mentors: When I was first freelancing, I had the incredible fortune to have several wonderful writers mentor me. In some case, it was just someone willing to answer my questions about a particular topic, but having other freelancers I could ask questions of definitely has made freelancing easier.
While I would never suggest making friends with a fellow freelancer just because she may be able to help you out down the line, I do encourage you to connect with your fellow writers.
Finding Other Freelancers
I don’t think finding your fellow freelancers online is difficult. After all, I’m a freelance writer and you’ve already found me. If you’re particularly interested in finding freelancers in your own niche, however, it may be worth doing some research. Take a look at the publications you’re writing for and make a note of who else is writing for the same publication. Look them up online. Run some searches in Google for the terms you might expect a client to use to find you, like ‘freelance copy writer.’ Take a look at who comes up. From there, it’s just a matter of reaching out and talking to them.
There are also many forums and even social networks devoted to writing. Many are devoted more towards fiction writing, but quite a few provide an opportunity to connect with other freelancers. I’ve also found numerous freelance writers on Twitter, which provides an easy way to connect with them and even chat.
Do you network with other freelance writers?
If you need to catch up on this weekend’s posts, here they are: Day 25: Look at Marketing Materials Beyond Business Cards and Day 26: Create a Newsworthy Event.