Friday, June 19, 2009

The Rollercoaster Ride of Freelancing

Many people love to ride rollercoasters--the higher and faster, the better. But what if they had to ride one every day. They'd soon tire of it mighty fast. Freelance writing is a lot like riding a daily rollercoaster. It has its highs and lows and its thrills. But it also has its risks. And while few rollercoasters ever jump the track, that's a common occurence in the world of a freelance writer.

I've had to start over with markets at least a half-dozen times. Writing markets are volatile, giving way to every little bump in the economy or in reading trends. It's difficult keeping ahead of the changes. Editors switch jobs just about as frequently as hair dressers. In today's economy, they're being tossed out with all the other people for lack of advertising income. And what do they end up doing--freelancing.

While there may seem to be an endless supply of writing markets, the number in any one niche or specialty is often limited. When more writers enter the marketplace, that drastically limits the publishing possibilities for those already in it. A recent edition of The Washington Post offered a travel article on Moscow, a creative quest to find information about a great, great, great uncle who was Lenin's right-hand man. After reading it, I came upon the writer's tag line--former travel editor of the paper. So much for trying to break in there.

I guess I'll have to buy another ticket and try to ride this damn coaster again. Maybe this time it will stay on track.

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