A Craft Talk with Betsy Andrews

A couple of weeks ago, the Writers House at F&M hosted a craft talk with Betsy Andrews. She’s a freelance writer who has centered her entire career around writing for various publications and websites and lives in New York City. Ms. Andrews talked with students about how she got where she is today and what tips she has for aspiring writers and freelancers who want to create their own career in the industry. Betsy Andrews has also published a couple books of poetry, which is one of her passions.

Use your networks

Making connections with other people is one of the most important ways to create a path for yourself in any career, but especially as a freelancer. You’ll need to build a client base and have a list of companies you write for. Do not feel embarrassed to cold email someone to ask for advice or an introduction. Most people are willing to offer help and appreciate being asked for their opinions. Always be polite and realize the worst that can happen is you get a no. You never know when a job opportunity might arise.

Apply everywhere

If there’s a job you’re interested in, go ahead and apply for it! Even if you are a year or two short of experience, send in your resume and samples. You’ll often be surprised by what effort can do, so make sure you’re writing is top quality and displays your best skills. Make sure your resume is the best it can be and send it out! If you’re unsure about a job, but get an interview, go and speak with the people who work here, which will probably give you a better idea of the workplace culture.

Work on your own project

Always let your creativity flow. If you have an idea, but no website or publication wants it, keep working on it and try other outlets. Be willing to tweak your work to fit with a publication’s focus. Even when you aren’t sending work out, keep working on some sort of project that makes you feel productive and helps you express your creativity. You never know when someone will ask to see what you’ve been working on and whether or not they’ll be interested.

Keep learning

There’s always more you can learn, especially when it comes to writing and different topics. You can write on nearly anything if you research enough. With online publications, there are various skills you can develop, such as website and graphic design and photography.

Always work

Being a freelance writer means there is no time you can’t be working. You can always work on a piece. When you’re out and about, it’s also important to always be looking out for a story. News and inspiration can strike at any time, so always be prepared with something to record or take notes with. Keep a healthy portfolio of work that you can submit at a moment’s notice.