In a perfect world, all of our freelance writing clients would be wonderful to deal with. They would be easy going, clear in their instructions, and communicate regularly. In short, they would be just like us!
As a freelance writer, one of the biggest challenges you face is setting yourself apart from everyone else. There are lots of amateurs out there who claim to be professional writers – so unless you show your potential clients that you are serious, you’re not going to stand out from the crowd. There are a number of effective ways to do this, and some can actually save you time and money.
Appearing professional starts with the quotation that you give to your client. Don’t just write an email that explains how wonderful you are – instead, invest the time to put together a proper quotation and attach it to your email. Include a cover page that clearly identifies that this is a quotation that you have prepared for the client, along with the name of the job, the date on which the quotation was issued, and the date on which it expires. [Read more…]
For a change of pace from looking for freelance writing gigs working for clients, why don’t you check out these upcoming writing contests and competitions? If you have been focused on non-fiction writing as part of your paid work, submitting something for consideration to a contest can be a welcome change of pace. If you win, you can pick up some prize money and get some welcome recognition for your work. You may even be inspired to run a contest on your blog.
Erma Bombeck Writing Competition
Do you think you can “capture the essence” of the late Ms. Bombeck’s writing? If so, you could be $500 richer and win a free registration to the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop! The competition closed February 17, 2014 at 8 a.m. and you can find out the details here.
Hektoen Essay Contest
The Hektoen Essay contest is open to submissions on subjects “related to medicine and culture.” Each essay should be between 1,500-2,000 words and the grand prize is $1,500.00. All entries must be received by March 1, 2014 to be considered. Guidelines are posted on the Hektoen International website.
Willow Springs Fiction Prize
The contest winner will receive $2,000, and will have his or her work published in Willow Springs. He or she will also receive a one-year subscription to Willow Springs. There is a $15.00 entry fee for U.S. residents and a $20.00 entry fee for international submissions. Only original, unpublished work will be accepted. Guidelines are available online and submissions can be made electronically or by regular mail. Deadline for submissions is March 15, 2014.
Sawtooth Poetry Prize
The Sawtooth Poetry Prize is open for submissions from January 1, 2014 to March 10, 2014. The winner will receive a $1,500.00 honorarium upon publication, as well as 25 copies of his or her published book. Entries must be filed between January 1, 2014 and March 10, 2014. Manuscripts should be 50-100 pages of poetry and there is a $25.00 entry fee. Get complete detail son the contest website. /sawtooth-poetry-prize/
Confrontation 2014 Poetry Prize
The winner of the Confrontation Poetry Prize will receive $750.00. He or she will also be published in one of the 2014 issues. Submit up to four previously unpublished poems for consideration. There is a $10.00 entry fee to be considered. The contest opens February 1, 2014 and the deadline is March 31, 2014. Details are available here, and simultaneous submissions are acceptable, as long as you let the magazine know if the poem has been accepted elsewhere.
William Faulkner-WilliamWisdom Creative Writing Competition
The 2014 competition opens January 1 and accepts entries in eight categories: Novel, Novella, book-length Narrative Non-Fiction, Novel-in-Progress, Short Story, Essay, Poetry, and Short Story by a High School Student. Competition guidelines and entry forms are available online.
The New Letters Literary Awards
Submit your best group of poems, essay, or short story for consideration and a chance at $1,500.00. The deadline for entries is May 18, 2014. There is a $15.00 fee for the first entry, and a $10.00 fee for each entry thereafter. The fee includes the cost of a one-year subscription to New Letters. Guidelines are available online.
14 Independent Productions Script Writing Contest
Can you write a winning 22-minute sitcom episode? The winner of this contest will walk away with $10,000 in prize money and $5,000 for IPD assignment. (The prize will be shared if there is more than one winner.) The start submission date is January 5, 2015 and the closing date is July 1, 2015, so you have plenty of time for this one. You can check out the requirements online. (Free registration required.)
General Tips for Entering Entering Writing Contests
If you want to increase your chance of winning a writing contest, take your time and read through the guidelines carefully to make sure that your work is a good fit before you submit it. Give yourself plenty of time to complete your submission. If you have to rush to finish your work, either wait until the contest is open again or find another writing contest. You want to present your best effort to the judges.
Proofread your work carefully before you submit it for consideration. You may want to have a trusted friend or colleague look it over for you. Even the best spellcheck program on your computer won’t catch every spelling and grammar error, and you may be too close to your own work after looking at it several times to be objective.
Follow the instructions about submitting your work to the letter. Some contests are very specific about whether authors can include their names on submissions and the number of copies that should be sent in for consideration. If you don’t follow the instructions exactly, your submission will not be considered for judging.
Do look at previous winners’ work to get an idea of what a winning entry looked like for a particular contest but don’t assume that your voice is not just as valid when you are entering a contest. Submit it and trust that the people judging the contest will be able to evaluate it on its own merits. Enjoy the process and keep in mind that you have no chance of winning if you don’t enter the contest at all. Good luck!
image credit: sxc.hu
image credit: sxc.hu
If you have ever been plagued by writer’s block, you know how painful the blank page or screen can be. While you may be concerned that the inability to get anything down is a sign of writer burnout, the two conditions are not the same thing.
Freelance writer burnout is an occupational hazard for people who make their living with words. This condition is more than just feeling tired at the end of a marathon work session, and it is not to be confused with writer’s block. True burnout is born of feeling stressed out to the max, and it makes everything look bleak.
You may be thinking that grants and fellowships are meant for writers who are already published, but this source of funding is available to new and up-and-coming writers. People in this category are most likely to need help in their careers, and there are a number of sources of help available.
Who is Giving Away Free Money to Writers?
Professional freelance writers get paid for producing and selling their work. Grants and fellowships for writers are gifts of money that don’t need to be paid back.
A number of organizations offer this type of financial help. Look to foundations and institutions as sources of funding. The government may have some grant money available to writers as well.
Their motives for providing assistance are twofold: part of the reason is humanitarian. These institutions have an interest in promoting the arts, including the written word. The other motivation is that these organizations is promotional. The other reason for offering grants and fellowships is to promote the foundation or institution’s cause.
20 Grants and Fellowships for Writers
Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Inc. offers support grants of $500-$1,500 to feminist women working on fiction and non-fiction projects. Read guidelines and submit work at the time and in the manner requested or it will be rejected.
Mesa Refuge offers two and four-week writers’ retreats in Point Reyes Station, CA. Three residents at a time are welcomed at a time, and they are provided with quiet, comfortable accommodation. This retreat is meant for journalists, screenwriters, naturalists, essayists, and writers specializing in writing about nature, social equity, and economics.
JM Kaplan Fund’s Furthermore program is not available to individual writers, but freelancers can apply for funding in partnership with a nonprofit organization. Applicants for these grants, which range from $500-$15,000, must be a 501(c)(3) organizations. This program is meant to support nonfiction book publishing.
North Carolina Arts Council Regional Project Grants to Artists provide funding to artists in any discipline of between $300-$5,000 to help purchase equipment and materials, pay for workshops, and the creation of new work.
Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship in Creative Writing is offered to writers of nonfiction or poetry who need a year to complete their first book. Fellows teach a creative writing course per semester at Colgate University and give a public reading from their work in progress. They receive a $37,000 stipend plus travel expenses.
SFFS/Hearst Screenwriting Grant is given to a screenwriter who has been writing for at least five years and has previously written at least one feature screenplay. U.S. writers whose project expresses a personal perspective and an artistic approach to a subject are welcome to apply.
Spirit of Writing Grant provides grants in amounts ranging from $500-$2,500. See grant requirements and application online.
The Gift of Freedom Award from the Room of Her Own Foundationwill help to bridge the gap between the recipient’s “financial reality and her artistic creation.” One fellowship of $50,000 is awarded biannually.
Sustainable Arts Foundation provides unrestricted cash awards of $1,000 and $6,000 to writers and artists with a child under the age of 18. See guidelines online.
Cintas Fellowships in the amount of $10,000 may be granted to artists of Cuban citizenship or direct descent. Awards are paid quarterly, and recipients can pursue their activities as directed on their application.
Canada Council for the Arts gives away grants to emerging, mid-career, and established writers ranging from $3,000.00-$25,000.00. See website for eligibility and program guidelines.
The Academy of American Poets has several awards and fellowships available in varying amounts. Visit website for guidelines.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, also known as the Oscars, wants to encourage up-and-coming screenwriters by offering up to five, $35.000 fellowships each year. Get details on how to apply by visiting the website.
The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers recognizes talented teen writers. More than $250,000 in scholarships is awarded annually in partnership with leading colleges and universities. Scholarships range from $250 to full tuition. Most scholarships awarded are renewable every year for up to four years.
Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts provides grants to individual writers whose work “addresses contemporary visual art.” Amounts awarded ranges from $3,000-$50,000. Eligible categories are articles, blogs, books, new and alternative media, and short-form writing.
British Columbia Arts Council offers funding for creative writers. Professional writers are eligible to apply and up to $10,000 in funding is available.
Arts Council Literature Bursary Awards provide support to professional artists to give them time and resources to conduct research, reflect, and engage with their work. The award is open to practicing artists who were either born in or are living in the Republic of Ireland. The maximum amount of the award is €15000.
American Antiquarian Society provides visiting fellowships for historical research for writers, journalists and other creative and performing artists. Fellowships provide recipients with opportunity to conduct research, read, and participate in discussions at the Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Three residential fellowships will be awarded annually. The stipend is $1,350.00.
The American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize for new writers offers a $3,000 award, publication of a book of poems, and distribution by Copper Canyon Press.
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators offers a a number of grants and awards to members. Visit the website for guidelines.
How to Increase Chances of Getting a Writing Grant
Find the current application form and the guidelines and read them through carefully. Application forms and guidelines are usually updated a couple of months before the program deadline.
Even if you have applied for funding from a grant in previous years, read through the guidelines to check for changes. If your proposed project does not fit with the grant program’s eligibility requirements, you may want to make a decision not to apply for it. Some applications require that applicants pay a fee, and all of them take time to prepare, and you will want to make the best use of both of them.
When you are preparing your grant application, keep in mind that you will need to break down the activities in your writing project into several stages. Look at the initial idea, research, marketing, and the time for writing as separate components. Depending on the program, you may be able to apply for specific financial help for a part of your project.
Don’t wait until the last minute to start working on your grant application. You’ll want to take your time to make sure that you are presenting yourself and your project well.
Some applications can be submitted online, while others must be sent by regular mail. Be sure to read the instructions so that you are sending yours in the correct manner. If you don’t follow the instructions, your application will not be considered.
Submit your application only during the application period. If it is postmarked too early or too late, it will not be considered.
Review and edit your submission before submitting it for consideration. You want to make sure that you are clearly pointing out how you could benefit from the grant or fellowship and why your project fits with the organization’s theme or goals.
The best advice we can give you to increase your chances of getting a writing grant is to apply, apply, apply. If you don’t apply for available funding, you have no chance of getting this type of financial help.
Want to see more options for free sources of funding? Check out these 19 Grants for Writers and other Creative Types.
image credits: <a href=”University of Central Florida
According to the U.S. Greeting Card Association, we love sending special messages to our nearest and dearest. About 1.6 billion Christmas cards will be purchased this year to send our best wishes to friends, loved ones, neighbors, and coworkers. These very healthy numbers mean there are many opportunities for freelance writers who can master a turn of a phrase to capture a person’s interest and make a greeting card feel as though it were written to express the thoughts or emotions of the person who wishes to send it.
This kind of writing is very precise. You have a very limited space in which to work, and you will need to choose every word with care. Either your card is going to grab a person’s attention and fit exactly what he or she wants to say on a particular occasion, or it will be left on the shelf, so to speak.
Study the Market Before You Submit
This market is like any other, so you will need to do your homework before you submit any verses to a greeting card company. Go online and do some research. Find out what types of cards different companies offer and click on the most popular ones.
Get a feel for each company’s particular style before you start trying to compose anything. Look at the length of the verses, the type of wording used, and the subjects that the cards deal with. If you excel at writing humorous greeting cards, your contribution may not be the best fit for a very traditional publisher.
Follow Submission Guidelines Carefully
When you are ready to submit your work to a particular greeting card market for freelancers, make sure that you follow the instructions to the letter. Some of them still want to receive submissions by regular mail, while others are open to hearing from writers by e-mail. If you are asked to send in your idea for a card on a cardboard card in a particular size, then that is the size that the publisher wants to see. Don’t send in your submission on plain paper.
Do tell the editor exactly to whom your card is directed. If you are writing a greeting card for a father, mother, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, friend, husband, wife, or sweetheart, you will want to set this up by sharing some directions with the reader before starting the verse.
If your concept involves a specific image, share this as well. You will need to set the visual scene so that your idea will be implanted in the editor’s mind before he or she starts to read your idea. Simply sharing a verse without this extra information may not be enough to clearly convince the person reviewing your work that it will be enough to get your point across.
Submit Several Poems for Submission at Once
To make it worth your while to submit your work to a greeting card company, do submit several poems at once. Since this type of submission is relatively short, it makes sense to wait until you have a number of poems to share. Some freelance writers send in a batch of 10 or 20 at a time to an editor to review and have the chance of getting a larger pay if they have multiple submissions accepted at once.
11 Greeting Card Markets for Freelance Writers
If you feel that you have the chops to break into this highly-structured type of writing, here is a list of greeting card markets that accept outside submissions.1.
1. Amber Lotus Publishing E-mail pdf with sample of your work.
2. Artists to Watch Submissions are reviewed quarterly, so you will need to be patient if waiting for a response.
3. Avanti Press Fill out form to be considered for future writing opportunities.
4. Designer Greetings Accepts submissions from writers by mail; no electronic submissions for greeting cards accepted.
5. NobleWorks Submit online form to request copy submission guidelines.
6. Moonpig Review online guidelines before submitting by regular mail or electronically.
7. Comstock Adult humor greeting card company. Download submission guidelines from website.
8. Freedom Greeting Card Company African-American greeting card company. Send e-mail query for creative submissions.
9. Warner Press Christian greeting card company. Read submission guidelines online.
10. Calypso Cards See submission guidelines on website.
11. DaySpring Cards Christian greeting cards. See submission procedures online.
Consider Submitting Art to Greeting Card Companies Too
If you are a talented artist or photographer as well as a writer, greeting card companies are also looking for people who can provide images for their cards. Check the submission guidelines to see whether the greeting card company you are interested in will accept both types when you are looking for this type of freelance writing gig.
It may seem a bit strange that a freelancer, who is running a business, is preparing a resume to present him or herself to a client, much like someone who is applying for a job would do. While freelance writers and other professionals do bill by the word, hour, or project, and don’t get paid a salary like an employee, clients do need to have a way to evaluate whether someone would be a good fit for a particular project.
As business owners, freelance writers need billing software programs that make invoicing an easy process. You also need to be able to send late-payment reminders, track time and expenses, and see how your business is growing month-to-month and over the year.