A former reporter for The Hill has come up with a simple definition of the freelance copywriting job: the job of telling stories for people who don’t know you.
Alexandra J. Pappas, a former reporter at the Washington Post and Washington Times, recently launched a website called TheFluorideTruth.com that helps writers and journalists navigate the new freelance marketplace.
Her website, which has since been updated with more content, features a guide to the job, which includes a detailed breakdown of how much money freelancers earn, how long it takes to get paid and what factors are important to consider when hiring a freelance writer.
She also offers tips for choosing a writing agent and how to prepare to land a freelance gig.
Pappas said the job she wrote about for The Washington Post in 2007 was not only a creative endeavor, but it also had a social component, which she said “was one of the most difficult parts of my career.”
“The job was very difficult to do,” she said.
“I had a very long time to prepare and be very, very prepared.
And I learned so much about the people who I wanted to interview and how they would work with me and how I would be a good fit for them.”
Pappassos, now an editor at The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., said that, for many people, it’s a tough transition into the freelance world.
“There’s a lot of people who are very, like, overwhelmed by the work that they have to do, and they’re very, extremely grateful for the opportunity that I’ve had,” she added.
“But, I also know that it’s not always easy, and there are people who really need to be able to do this, and I think it’s really important that we talk to them and try to find a way to make that easier for them, because that’s one of those things that’s really hard.”
Papers, stories and morePappasses, who said she has not published a story since her departure from The Washington Journal in 2018, said that she had difficulty finding the right writer to work with, even when she was seeking one.
“When you’re just starting out in this field, it can be difficult to find writers who are going to work on stories for you, because you don’t really know what that story is going to look like and you don, you know, know who the story is that you’re going to be writing,” she explained.
“So, I think the challenge that you face is that, sometimes, you don [know] who you’re looking for, or maybe you’re not really sure what the story will be.
You know what it’s going to involve, but you don ‘t know what the hell that story’s going be about.”PAPPAS added that many writers and editors are not prepared for the new marketplace.”
You can’t really just go out there and say, ‘Hey, this is the new, this, this.’
You have to know exactly what it is that’s going on,” she recalled.”
I think there’s so much of this information out there.
And so many of us don’t have that information, because we’ve all been taught from so early on, like from our teachers and our teachers’ teachers and everything, and so, we just kind of have to kind of work it into our thinking that it isn’t all going to just be about what’s in the news.
It’s all about what you’re doing, what you want to say, what the audience wants to hear, and that’s the important part.”PAPASSAS’ new site also includes advice for aspiring writers, a helpful guide to finding the perfect freelance editor and a roundup of freelancer resources.
She has also created a list of resources and articles about freelance journalism that can be found on her website.
The information on her site, and Pappassas’ advice, is aimed at aspiring writers looking to start their own freelance careers, not those who have already written or edited articles for the paper.
“It’s very important that writers know that the job that you have, and it’s also very important for editors to know that you don’ t necessarily have to be a Pulitzer winner or a Pulitzer-winning writer to do a great job at what you do,” Pappasses said.
“In my experience, there are a lot more ways to be successful in the industry, and the people that you are interested in hiring are the ones who can be very much successful in a lot less than what you might expect.”