Jobless but still writing. ✍️
Writers are experiencing their own dose of pandemic worry: pitch rejection, contract suspension and the realization that the media can’t pay writers anymore since they rely on advertisers. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about the impact of coronavirus on freelance writers. As the writing community brainstorms solutions, we need to remember how important our voices are right now.
In the past week, I’ve been laid off two jobs. At first, my ego was so hurt I broke down in angry tears wondering how this damn thing could happen when I just got my foot in the door. I signed a contract with a media company and then one week later they had to let me go “until further notice.”
Coronavirus came at the worst time, but when is a pandemic ever convenient?
During my one week with full-time freelance work, I started seeing telltale signs everyday. My editor said we had to stay on top of social distancing trends so any pitches involving festivals or group hangouts were shoved off the pile. What we couldn’t write about took precedence over my creativity. I felt cornered.
What will other media do?
I’m a lifestyle journalist but I’ve written hard news, political essays and plenty of “serious” social analysis. My job at my former employer was to write uplifting articles about the North Carolina region that would distract people from coronavirus.
You can read one of my articles about some really cool graffiti in Greensboro, NC. I had so much fun writing stories like this so it was such a blow to get the I’m-sorry-this-conversation-isn’t-going-to-be-easy phone call.
It’s safe to say that my job was important in that I played a huge factor in keeping up with “on brand” activities, events and ideas.
Now that I’m seeing lifestyle journalists get the axe, I worry what other types of journalists are soon to follow. If the media industry can’t stay afloat, how will people stay informed?
Freelance writers are more in demand than you might know. I’ve been following Jorden Makelle’s freelance tips at Creative Revolt for a couple of months.
In a recent Youtube video on the subject, Jorden suggested that we refine our pitches to match the coronavirus demand. That means that if you’re in the travel writing niche, you can start pitching ideas about vacation goals or virtual experiences to travel companies. The same goes for finance, real estate or fitness writers.
Craft your ideas around coronavirus because people are trying to come up with ways to stay busy and just feel human during quarantine.
Last night I found a listing for another lifestyle journalism job. The goods news is that they’re urgently hiring because people are looking to digital media for answers. Also entertainment. We’re bored and we can only do so much baking.
My encouragement to you is to keep writing, researching jobs and looking for ways to stay ahead of trends. Our job as writers is important so we need to step up.
I share a lot of tips on my Instagram account if you’re interested in my day-to-day. Hit the button below and stay on top of your writing. Writers CAN save lives too.