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Community Newspapers and Freelance Opportunities

October 2, 2008

If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die for that roar which is the other side of silence. ~ George Eliot

It’s probably every writer’s dream to see their name in one of the glossy national magazines on the public stands.  Or maybe on that weighty hardcover book that will, almost surely, make the bestsellers list.  I’m not poking fun.  I have those aspirations too

However, in the spirit of my previous post on goal setting, I’m embracing the potential for small but achievable accomplishments.  For others that are just getting into freelance writing, I wanted to highlight the potential benefits of getting involved with community newpapers.

Community newspapers are a more accessible market.  Pick up your weekly newspaper and look at how many stories fill those pages.  Newspaper staff alone can not keep up with the regularity of community newspaper printing.  Freelance writers – even those that are unpublished with few credits to their name – are recognized as a vital source of interesting local copy.  Editors of small community newspapers are always looking for good, reliable writers to deliver the stories they need. 

You can try your hand at many different topics.  Community newspapers usually have a multitude of topic areas they need writing for.  These might include travel, business, entertainment, opinion pieces, and special features.  Generally, special interest groups also have corresponding newspapers.  Why not look into contributing to publications that focus on parenting, antiques, music, teaching, computers, and sports?  Or maybe even papers for senior citizens, single parents, or members of ethnic groups?

The pay is usually small, but the experience is priceless.  If you’re just starting out, can you really afford to be picky?  So what if community newspapers pay pennies.  You’re getting published clips to build an impressive portfolio that will later land you more promising and higher-paying gigs.  Secondly, because newspapers need more articles more often, and are quite open to new writers, you will have an audience already there ready to read and respond to what you write.  Plus, it’s very unlikely the staff will reject you because you haven’t been published in The Globe and Mail yet.  If one of your pieces gets rave reviews, you might even later consider reshaping it into a magazine article or book idea.

So while you’re querying those big magazines and crossing your fingers for that get-rich-fast book contract, freelancing for community newspapers can keep you prolific, get you valuable published clips to develop and enhance your portolio, and you may even get paid in the process.

Worth checking out, no?

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3 comments

  1. I would love towrite for almost any magazine. I love to write and share what I feel…so any help in this direction is great.


  2. This is a great post with some really valuable advice! Thanks!


  3. Nifty exercise to get the writing juices flowing.



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