Bag of Tricks (Tools of the Trade)

Continuous Education for Writers

Freelance Writers Den Logo

Something I’ve LOVED about the various careers in my resume history? The chance to continually stuff my brain with fresh knowledge. Science, technology, and even writing change constantly. New techniques get developed, tested, and implemented. Scientists stumble onto new species. And the writing industry decides to change trends and preferences. It’s impossible to stagnate. Well, as long as YOU choose to engage your mind and chase down those press releases, journals, and workshops. The same goes for freelance writers who want to keep their skills sharp and at the forefront of the industry.

Enter the Freelance Writers Den.

What is FWD? A handy community of – well, freelance writers. (I know, you already deduced that on your own) And in case you HAVEN’T figured that out yet, you need a group of your peers in this business. A network of other freelancers not only provides someone to offer insight and assistance when you’re struggling, but it also offers the chance to trade references and potentially score new work. You can’t gain that without somewhere to sit and chat. And since writers, in general, lean on the introvert side, a virtual watercooler usually does the trick. You get that in the Den. The forums cover any topic you’re looking for, from business to shouting over a particular win.

But it also provides the continuing education a freelance writer needs. Bootcamps offer you the chance to study pretty much any kind of writing you can think of. And if a style isn’t in there (I will exclude fiction from the list. If you’re hoping to freelance fiction, you need a reality check), the odds are fairly high it’s in the pipeline. Members can self-study previous Bootcamps at any time, working at your pace while still getting feedback on the homework assignments. (I’ve gone through three, and the insight I’ve gained? Yeah, sort of wish I’d stumbled across the Den a year ago) You also get first crack at any new Courses developed.

Carol Tice is the mastermind behind FWD – not to mention one of the biggest tenets behind the Den: Writers deserve recognition for the work they do (i.e., no exploitation) AND they should get paid FAIRLY. That’s why Freelance Writers Den exists. It’s the guidance that gets a freelance writer from subsistence living (or less) to the kind of paycheck that supports a household – or allows you to take those dream vacations. (You know, once the pandemic settles down)

And it sharpens the tools in your brain.

NO ONE – regardless of how long they’ve been writing – knows everything. And no writer’s perfect. Everyone hits a wall of one kind or another. The Den’s Resource Library (alone) allows you to search for a topic you need help with. Or you can pick the brains of members if you feel your question’s specific. And, of course, you can get critiques of query letters or LOIs. (That pesky community thing again) It’s an all-in-one resource any freelance writer should keep in their toolbox.

But the FWD doesn’t stay open year-round. It restricts membership to a few times a year. Currently, the doors are open. A new Bootcamp rolled out, which is why they’ve extended the invitation. So if you’re interested, you’ll want to pull the trigger soon. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait until next year. (They DO keep a waiting list. That means you can enter your email and bide your time until the doors open again)

Even if you don’t go with the Den, it’s worth sharpening your brain SOMEWHERE. Workshops keep your mind focused and ahead of the game. They provide fresh eyes on your work, set your finger on the pulse of the industry, and open you to crucial networking. It’s the only way you’ll survive as a freelance writer. At least the Den let’s you do everything from your safe, cozy, lonely computer!

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