If writing to make money is your goal, and you don’t have a fistful of clips to show prospective clients, I strongly recommend trying this weekend’s assignment. Even if you have clips under your belt and are already making money with your writing, this exercise will do two things: encourage you to stretch in a new direction and give you a sample clip to add to your file.
Ready? Let’s begin.
When I first started freelancing (back in the dark ages, as my kids will tell you) I frequently saw writing gigs I thought were a perfect fit for my abilities and interests. In fact, the only thing against me was a lack of writing samples. Did it stop me from applying? Nope. I still sent in my resume and cover letter and waited for a response. And waited… and… well, you get the picture.
In my newbie mind I was trapped in a vicious cycle. I needed relevant clips to get the job, and I couldn’t get relevant clips until I had the job. I was stuck and disheartened. Then came the job listing that changed my freelance life. The company needed someone to write copy for an online catalog. I’d never written catalog copy before, let alone online catalog copy, but I’d read plenty. The catalog was for products I enjoyed shopping for, and the money was good. And, most importantly, the job ad included one simple line:
“Send us a mock sample showing you can write product descriptions where the product is the hero.”
Wait a minute. A mock sample? I could do that (and I did)!
I got the gig, deposited my lovely check, and never looked back. I learned two things from that assignment: The people who hire writers don’t care if you have a bunch of high-profile clips as long as you can prove that you can write what they need. And you don’t have to get stuck in that need-experience-to-get-experience cycle to get that proof. You can make it yourself.
This week’s writing assignment is to make a new clip for your file. Not just any clip, either. I want you to write a clip tailored to match a job listing. If you aren’t already familiar with sites that list jobs for writers, here are a few links for you to explore:
Your task is to look at the job ads and write a clip for one that appeals to you. Take the time to make your clip the best match it can be and write something that will really wow that client. It doesn’t matter if you apply for the job or not (although, now that you’ve got that clip, why not?). Be sure to stash your new writing clip someplace you can find it and use it again if the opportunity arises.
Until next time, happy writing!
- Ask The Freelance Dude #19 – Pack A Parachute (nathanmeunier.com)
- Weekend Assignment: The Breakfast Club
- How To Take Your Freelance Writing To The Next Level (ghostwritinguncovered.com)