...sometimes you have to go after it.
I say this because, although I don't consider myself to be an aggressive person normally, I'm pretty persistent when it comes to writing projects. Being more assertive (rather than aggressive, which often has a negative perception) is something I always seem to be working on, but there are times when even I surprise myself at my nerve.
I'm quickly finding that you have to have some level of nerve and persistence when it comes to the freelance writing game. You simply won't survive if you don't put yourself out there, at least somewhat. It'll be ten times harder to land good opportunities if you take the passive/aggressive approach, so sometimes you just have to put your fears of being annoying/pushy aside and speak up. The old saying goes "You'll never know if you don't ask", and I've definitely found that to be true.
I've had three recent instances where I went after the opportunity, rather than wait around for something to fall into my lap. Over the summer I approached the editor of my local paper with an idea for a weekly column. I've been a stringer for them for about two years, so he was familiar with my work and my writing style, so it wasn't a hard sell. I still had to persuade him to give up some white space, though. I approached another editor of a monthly e-newsletter about freelance opportunities. He had an encouraging response, saying that there is a definite lack of stories from my area (the e-newsletter covers business stories statewide and has an extensive distribution list). And my third outreach effort just happened yesterday. The responses from editors aren't moving nearly fast enough for me, so I decided it's time to mobilize my marketing efforts for my copywriting services. I emailed the owner of a new business near my 9-5 job, briefly listed the services I feel comfortable offering at this point, and hoped for the best. I was sure it would go right to spam or be deleted instantly, but she responded within 5 minutes--now that's what I call results! She invited me to stop in, saying she's always looking for writers. I'm hoping this will lead to a positive working relationship.
There are plenty of opportunities out there--you just need to be patient enough, persistent enough, and yes, sometimes I think a little kooky enough, to go after them.
What writing opportunities have you pursued, even if it seemed hopeless at first? What was your result?