"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Monday, May 13, 2019

Think That Writing is a Matter of Luck? Think again...

Greetings, readers!
Thanks for joining me for another week here at Pen & Prosper.
A special "shout-out" to my new readers and followers. 
This morning I'll be sharing a guest post provided by veteran freelance writer, Steve Sears.
Please make him feel welcome with your questions and comments.
Now, on to today's feature...

As I type these words from my basement library in New Jersey, my “Current Assignments\Articles 2019” folder is laying next to my right elbow. The folder contains assignment sheets which I log when I receive an assignment from my many editors.
For the month of April, I have 20 magazine and newspaper deadlines, and that’s just half of the folder-fill. The other is the same amounts of sheets reflecting assignments that have May through December deadline dates. Bear in mind, too, that many like sheets have been removed to my “Awaiting Payment” folder when I’ve submitted completed articles.

I state the above to prove a point: there’s plenty of freelance writing work out there for the right individuals. They key to getting that work is being assertive – marketing and following up -- and writing daily. One minus the other equals a doomed writing career.
How to keep busy and ensure continued work?

Here are a few timely tips (as pertains to article writers):

1. Always – ALWAYS – be on the lookout for publications, and let the editorial team know when you read something you can relate to and enjoy. Then, let them know you are a freelancer and contribute a stellar article idea or a few.

2. When an editor offers you an assignment and you accept, note the deadline date and then create your own for a few days earlier. Turning in well-written assignments prior to an editorial deadline will allow for rewrite time (if needed), but it also aids the editor and publication as they prep for layout.

3. Be an idea person. Depending on the publication(s) you are writing for, always scour other publications and see what’s happening in certain realms. Three of my current 20 assignments are ideas I found in a local community newspaper, a medical center publication, and an Archdiocese magazine. Editors love ideas, especially usable ones.

4. Be in contact. Editors not only like but need to hear from their writers. I send my editors weekly updates on all my assignments on Wednesday. One editor who phone interviewed me a few years back, when I told her of my procedure, “Oh my God – no one does that. Thank you!” One of my current editors tells me that my weekly emails helps her out significantly. On the flip side, don’t disappear. Make sure you’re available if your editor needs you; if not, work gets shipped to another freelancer. *Note: I have happily been the recipient of additional assignments when certain writers have been non-communicative. Be the former, not the latter.

A freelance writing career is not easy. It’s work. However, following certain methods can prove beneficial. The before-mentioned has always worked for me. Perhaps they will for you, too.


Steve Sears is a New Jersey-based freelance writer. He has been writing professionally since 1996, and his niches include business, hospitality and technology. Please visit his website and blogs at

Thoughts, readers? Any of these tips resonate with you?

Image credit: Pixabay.com


  1. It's great to meet you, Steve. Thanks so much for these tips. Looking to connect with magazine editors again after working on other writing projects recently, so this is timely. Appreciate too, the insight of a NJ writer - I grew up in Cape May County, and began my writing career in the Garden State. All the fabulous things I learned in NJ now continue in KY. Wishing you all the best with your work!

    Jen, thanks for introducing us to Steve. As always, you supply us with the tools we need for success. :)

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMay 16, 2019 at 11:38 AM

      Thanks so kindly, Karen.

  2. Karen -

    Thank you very much for the kind comments. I'm glad you find the post Worthy.

    Ironically enough, I am a Cape May County lover. I honeymooned in Cape May in 1987, and I also used to write for a quarterly newspaper in Cumberland County.

    Best wishes to you as you continue your writing career.


  3. Steve, these are great tips. Thanks for sharing your success story. Jen, thanks for hosting.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMay 16, 2019 at 11:39 AM

      I appreciate your time and feedback, Lin.

  4. Hi Linda --

    You're welcome. Thanks for commenting.


    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMay 16, 2019 at 11:40 AM

      Nice work here, Steve.

    2. Jen -

      Thanks very much for the opportunity, and for your
      Wisdom and knowledge.


  5. Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and commenting.