Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Diary of a Freelance Writer

Due to the fickle and unstable nature of freelance writing, it is important to understand a publication’s target audience and adapt your style accordingly. Unlike permanently hired writers freelance writers have to know how to play the game, cause not knowing when you’re going to eat next is a rather daunting concept. This freelance gig is a battlefield. It really is a matter of life or death.

A freelance ‘career’ is less about the ‘skill’ of writing and more about knowing your players. It’s about understanding the game and how and when to roll the dice. Wanna be published in Vice? Well release the demon child within and let go of all those inhibitions. Immerse yourself in everything that’s wrong in the world: fixies, emos, Lady Gaga, boys who wear tighter jeans than you do and finally embrace the jaded monkey within. Then curse and condemn the world and all the fuckwit cretins it insists on breeding. Year after year, after year. It’s called evolution and unfortunately it ain’t going anywhere.

Really let loose. You need to be crass and adopt the reverberation skills of a sailor.  You need to talk openly (with as much detail as possible) about your sex life. Unfortunately in my case, this life is non-existent which therefore has great effect on the grittiness of detail. ‘So I met this boy, he accepted my friend request and now I stalk his wall. A lot’. Talk about juicy!

Be wary of using big words. No one likes a show-off. Big words reek of pretension and your readers can smell it a mile away. No one has the time to read that four-syllable word, let alone look up what it means. Readers don’t want to be patronised by faggots who know how to use a thesaurus. They want a quick and easy explanation with punchy lines that gravitate toward borderline insane. But don’t underestimate your readers. Just cause you're writing like a dumb-fuck doesn’t mean they read like one.

And remember it ain't 'selling your soul' if it pays the bills.

Now go out there and ink that quill!


  1. Also, go to art launches, get just the right kind of drunk and meet people. That's where all the freelance gigs are waiting.

  2. Hehehe - Your sex life sounds as rad as mine...

    Although I disagree with dumbing down articles. Sure, you have to write to your audience, so if you're writing for the Herald Sun you can't use big words... But for the most part I think there's too much dumbing down in the world. I like to assume that people who read my stuff have an intermediate understanding of our language. And if they don't? Well, that's not really my problem...

    "Matt is my hero and Danny thinks Moliere was Italian."

  3. Re: Mikolai
    I think I'm going to the wrong galleries and perhaps enjoying the free beverages a little too much and thus getting the wrong kind of drunk.

  4. Re: 'Sheqel'
    It was more of a satirical comment on the progression of 'journalism'. Yea, I'd hope there are those who have an appreciation for my more 'in-depth' pieces but that doesn't change the reality. If you wanna make some dosh you gotta cater for the masses, esp in ldn. That said, you don't have to stop writing the stuff you love. You can do both. And that's the beauty of writing!


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I am more than prone to monologues; however, this is solely due to the manner in which they compliment a witty anecdote and their ability to resemble concrete evidence when it is so obviously lacking. I often wish I could emulate that aloof character who coolly stands in the corner smiling mysteriously as if she has a secret. However, I fear resisting the temptation to involve myself in other people’s conflicts and responding through body language rather than verbose banter may come across as contrived and arrogant. And, I am not willing to take that chance.

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