One of my favorite bands is U2. Or rather was. Because I don’t like the “experimental” band I hear nowadays. I’m talking about the old–school U2, the group who became popular even before I was six. The Joshua Tree. With or Without You. Classics.
The earlier, younger U2 were fresh, unfettered, and articulately poignant. Amazingly, this wasn’t because of masterful technique or access to high–quality instruments. The reason why With or Without You featured a simple melody and that universally–recognizable bass line was because the band members lacked proficiency. The group literally had to make do with what what they had. But somehow, they were able to produce songs like Bullet the Blue Sky, which continues to resonate with audiences today.
Freelancers can learn from this example. A contract worker who has access to the latest tools or techniques is at an obvious advantage. Yet ultimately, it’s about who you are and what you bring to the table. Never let your awesome arsenal define your work, because one day you won’t have a kickass laptop. Or what seemed cutting edge one year is now passé the next. If you can’t survive these developments, you’ll just become another face in the crowd, robbed of the visibility needed to survive in a world full of many options.
Real achievers find a way to succeed regardless of the situation. And this is only possible because their achievements aren’t based on the tools or techniques they use, but on what makes them stand out from the rest. Maybe it’s a distinct way of getting things done. Or an unorthodox yet workable creative outlook. Whatever it is, it’s definitely not the drool–worthy gear.
Writing for Magazines: A Great Start for Freelance Writers
The truth is that many magazines rely on contributing (i.e., freelance) writers for much of their content. So if you’re looking to make a name for yourself as a writer, perhaps approaching a magazine is a great way to start. The pay is more supplementary than significant, but writing for a high-circulation magazine gives you a lot of exposure. We all have to start somewhere.
And that involves making editors aware of your abilities. Of course, it’s a great help to have a friend within the industry (that’s how I got my start). But it’s possible to get attention even if you’re unknown. You’ll need a body of work to highlight your skills, a plan to focus on relevant targets, and of course, persistence.
There are many ways to build a portfolio. You can either write for free, or simply make use of your experiences. If you’ve been invited to a fashion show for example, you can write about that. Or narrate what happened at a sci-fi convention.
Whatever you do, keep in mind that you’ll have a great chance of succeeding only if you approach relevant publications. Or making yourself relevant. If you’re a bona fide geek, Cosmopolitan may be interested in your article about how girls can attract those tech-obsessed cuties.
Don’t expect instant success. Even if your proposals go unanswered (or politely refused), your portfolio is with a potential employer. And if one day he needs what you can provide, he’ll come knocking. In short, don’t give up, because the more you try, the less chance you have of failing.