Saturday, August 6, 2011

Freelance Writing: A Gateway to “Authorhood?” Part 2

Many writers find their path to being an author through the experiences of freelance writing. Yesterday, I discussed my path into the world of freelance writing, along with the good and the ugly of the business. Today, I’m sharing with you some great freelance writing insight from author Christie Craig. I first met romance and young adult author, Christie Craig through the West Houston RWA Chapter. She is hysterical and a wonderful writer that can have her readers perched on the end of their seats or rolling, laughing on the floor. She began her writing career as a freelance writer and believes what I do, that this path is greatly beneficial for aspiring authors. I asked her to share some insight on this topic and below is what she had to say.

From Christie Craig:

Freelance writing taught me so many things that prepared me for a career as a novelist.

It taught me to fit my idea, my voice, into someone's else's box. I think my ability to write in different genres is because of the lessons I learned doing freelance. I wrote for both the down-home country type of magazines and the fine art magazines.

Freelance writing helped me hone my marketing skills. By studying a magazine and trying to figure out what those editors wanted in articles, I taught myself to dissect articles, to look beyond the words to find similar themes and tones in the many articles published in a particular magazine. These skills continue to help me as I read several books in a genre and try to figure out what it is that makes these books fit that particular genre. I used this skill when I was asked to write a YA and I spend weeks studying and reading other YA books to figure out what went into the making of a good YA novel.

Income from freelance writing kept me from having to work outside the home, and it kept me writing and honing my craft, and it allowed me time to pursue my novel career.

Seeing my name in print gave me the inspiration I needed to believe in myself as the rejections for my novels kept piling up.

The years of writing short pieces really helped me when it came time to write blogs and promotion pieces. It taught me how to get a point across in a limited number of words. It taught me how to focus on what was important in the piece.

Writing short teaches you to make all the words count. To say the most, in the least amount of words.

Freelance writing prepared me for deadlines, it taught me how to work with editors, and it helped me grow a thick skin. Both from the rejections and from having my work rewritten by hands-on editors.

Writing freelance is often similar to going back to school. When I would get an assignment from an editor about something I knew nothing about, I would have to research the topic. You would be amazed how many things I now use in my novels that I researched for articles. My book Divorced, Desperate and Delicious had tons of high tech furniture: a talking refrigerator, a Lazy Boy chair with a built-in refrigerator, and a cat box that says, "Good Kitty" when the feline paws at the litter after making a “deposit.” These were some of the crazy things that I had to research for articles.

Thank you Christie for your insight. Christie currently does not freelance because she is writing four books a year! Learn more about award winning author Christie Craig at her website. Her new romance novel, ‘Shut Up and Kiss Me’ is now available and her anticipated romance, ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’ is available later this month. She also writes young adult paranormal, the Shadow Falls series, that still has her trademark wit along with mystery and intrigue.

One thing that I am currently struggling with in my freelance career is the ability to say “no.” I’m currently working on two books, with another out on submission so it is getting more difficult to manage my freelance and author careers. Balance and time management as a freelance writer/ novelist is what I will discuss tomorrow in the conclusion to this big freelance writing blog post series. I’ll also answer the frequent question, how to jump-start your freelance career.

Did you write freelance prior to becoming an author? What benefits did you see?


Don’t miss this great post, “I’m convinced fear is at the root of most bad writing.” Stephen King, from NY Times Bestselling author Bob Mayer.

This week, I was a guest at Joy Held’s Writer Wellness blog. Check out my “A-Musing” post and share what motivates you as a writer.

I have begun research and interviews for my next book in my non-fiction dog book series with Who Dares Wins Publishing. The topic is dogs and children and how to create introductions that will lead to positive and beneficial relationships for them both. Please email me at if you feel you could contribute.

Check out ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog’ to learn easy, common sense ways to give your dog the best quality of life from the perspective of owners that are making it work. Your dog doesn’t have to have a disability to benefit from this book. Some dogs are “special” in many ways.