Guest Post: Networking & Continuing Education Resources for Aspiring Freelance Writers

February 23, 2021

As an aspiring freelance writer, you may be settling into the isolation that comes with the profession but still interested in how to get better at your craft and build a supportive professional network. The inspiration, direction, and long-term professional relationships necessary for a successful freelance writing career can all be found through networking and continued education.

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Networking and education resources for aspiring freelance writers are out there in abundance, ready to help you take your writing skills to the next level and build mutually beneficial relationships with other writing professionals.

Let’s take a look at some valuable resources for writers hoping to expand their professional networks and/or continue their education. We’ll also briefly touch on where networking and continued education intersect for your benefit.

Ways to Expand Your Professional Network

Although many writers shy away from networking and relish in seclusion, you must build strong relationships with other writers and professionals in the industry.

Aspiring freelance writers should master networking because you need a solid network of other writers to get you through the lonely times, cheer you on when you’re winning, keep you creative, and strategize with you when it’s time to execute.

Here are some ways to expand your professional writing network:

Attend virtual or in-person writing conferences

Virtual or in-person writing conferences provide some of the best opportunities to network. Writing professionals from all over are gathered into one location, and you’re free to converse and connect with anyone you choose. These relationships could easily turn into long term friendships, business partnerships, and mentorships.

Connect with other writers on social media

Share your writing journey with others in the industry on social media. Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks can help connect you to your peers from the comfort of your couch. So, follow your fellow writers, engage with them, and support their writing endeavors digitally.

Start or join a writing group

If you want to start networking with a small group of people first, explore starting or joining a writing group. Writing groups are great resources for building lasting relationships, gaining feedback and insight into your craft, and sharing contact/publishing information.

Attend author readings and/or other local writing events

As we continue to navigate the global COVID-19 pandemic, many author readings and other local writing events moved to virtual platforms. Whether in-person or virtual, these local writing events make for great networking spaces. You can connect with aspiring writers, book lovers, and experts all in the same room.

Ideas for Continuing Your Education

Continuing your education means being able to add another achievement to your writing resume that communicates how committed, valuable, and skilled you are in the industry.

Continuing your education provides you with focused teaching on key skills possessed by the best as well as keeps you current with what lies ahead in the writing industry. It also helps you build a solid network of other writers and professionals.

Here are a handful of ideas to help you continue your education in writing:

Attend a college or university online or in-person

When you join a post-secondary education program, the specific curriculum is meant to help you achieve high-level writing skills that result in a long term career. You also join a ready-made community of writers at your disposal for networking purposes.

Explore certification courses

If you aren’t ready to commit to a long term college/university curriculum, you have the option to complete certification courses in writing to continue your education. These courses are shorter than a college course, less expensive, and intensely focused on individual writing careers or skills.

Get a mentor

College or certification courses just aren’t you? Getting a mentor may provide you with quality experience in the business of writing and the craft itself. Look for a mentor that’s established in the industry, compatible with your personality, and one that can help you achieve your specific learning goals.

Learn a new skill

Writers find inspiration in various creative endeavors. Continuing your education in skills unrelated to the craft of writing but potentially beneficial to your learning the business side of writing is also a great idea. For example, classes in web design or user experience could benefit you because all freelance writers will need to build a digital presence at some point in their careers. Knowing how to do so effectively will save you time and money.

Where Networking and Continued Education Intersect

Both networking and continued education are important to your professional growth no matter what path you take in writing. Networking helps you establish deep roots in the industry while continuing your education sharpens your writing skills.

You can begin building a network at the university, college, or other educational institution you attend in addition to learning the necessary skills to become one of the top writers in your chosen path. You can also continue your education via networking in two ways:

  1. Gaining contact information for professors, college/university workers, or other education professionals who can help you get accepted to their writing programs
  2. Learning the soft skills necessary to build a business in writing

Networking and continued education intersect in a way that your success with each is dependent on active participation in both.

Aspiring freelance writers can find a great deal of career support in networking and continuing their education. The above resources for expanding your network and continuing your writing education allow for quality feedback on your skill level, exploration of new opportunities, and social interaction that deepens your relationships with writing professionals all over.

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