This is a guest post by Jennifer Moline. If you want to write for Daily Writing Tips check the guidelines here.
Often in the writing world it pays to be on top of current events – to be the first to publish breaking news. But in order to land a contract or regular gig, freelancers should consider keeping a stash of evergreen articles – those timeless writing pieces that stand on their own.
“Evergreen” takes its meaning from the evergreen tree – a self-renewing article, in this case. It means that the writing piece doesn’t have a time limit – a publisher could run it in July or December. These are good articles to have on hand for a variety of reasons:
- You have too many deadlines. If your assignment topic is vague, you can pull out an evergreen article and rework it for the target audience.
- You need more portfolio pieces. If you’re just starting out as a writer, you may not have a lot of published articles. Evergreen articles show your range and beef up your portfolio.
- Your article fell through. It’s happened to every writer – you’re on deadline, and a source isn’t coming through with an interview. Rather than miss the deadline, which would reflect poorly on your reputation, offer an evergreen article as a replacement.
Developing a cache of evergreen articles does require extra work, but a way to look at it is this: You get to break free of assignments and write about what you want to. You can come up with your own topics and write in your style. Building your evergreen stash could actually be the creative outlet your professional career needs – you get to break free of writers’ guidelines and let your own style flow.
So what should you write about? It depends on what you’re interested in and what fields you want to break into. But the best way to start is with a writer’s most valuable tools: paper and pen. Keep a notebook with you at all times and jot down anything that inspires you. I keep a document with blog ideas, whether I can think of a proper website for them or not. I refer to it on practically a daily basis to see if I can flesh out an idea more or appropriate the topic for a specific site.
You can find writing inspiration in all sorts of places. When you’re reading, what pops into your head – do you disagree with the point the writer makes? Write your own opinion piece. Does an article leave you with questions? Research and write your own extension.
Taking a step away from reading also opens you up to being struck by inspiration. Sometimes it’s how a movie makes you feel or an encounter in a café. The trick is to becoming aware of what piques your interest – if you feel a topic is worth exploring, your potential audience might as well.
Freelance writing can be a cutthroat business – it’s every person for his- or herself clamoring for writing gigs. You sell yourself based on your work samples and what you can offer, so an evergreen stable of articles is your chance to promote your writing on topics you think needed to be written.
About the Author: Jennifer Moline writes about small business, graphic design, printing and freelancing for the PsPrint blog, as well as for other graphic design websites.