reelance writers today are in constant competition with their colleagues around the world. This can be downright depressing if you have to worry about global competition for even the smallest markets, but it can also be a blessing in disguise for writers in even the farthest corners of the globe. If most writing jobs are open to the writers of the world, then most worldwide markets are open to individual writers as well. Taking advantage of international resources for freelance writers can help broaden any writer’s horizons and provide the opportunity to succeed at even the most exotic of potential assignments.
"...make sure that direct contact is established|
and, ideally, a contract is in place
before you start writing."
Surf the Net
The Internet is arguably the most powerful weapon in an international freelance writer’s arsenal. General writing sites and ezines proliferate offering tips and tricks for writers regardless of their location, including WOW! Women on Writing, Writing World, Writers Weekly, Coffee Break for Writers, Writers Write and Absolute Write. Not only do these resources offer writers current news and views and information pertinent to most writing topics, but they help foster a wider sense of community and represent possible new markets in and of themselves.
Location specific resources, including market databases, are also available online, such as Writing for Dollars, an American markets newsletter; Worldwide Freelance Writer, a general international newsletter and site; European Freelance Writer, a site and newsletter mainly for Western Europe and Russia; Writing Australia, Writer Find Asia, Writer Find Australia, and Writer Find Africa. More informal sites such as Craigslist and Gumtree also offer international sections, divided by both country and city, which advertise general writing opportunities.
A prior warning, however: such sites are often fairly free about their listings, and writing markets can rarely be verified by any sort of outside source; so always make sure that direct contact is established and, ideally, a contract is in place before you start writing.
Another great way to explore international writing opportunities is to read up on the subject. Most continents, many countries, and even cities offer books and periodicals for and about freelance writers. A quick call or email is usually enough to net a trial issue. Mslexia, Writers Forum, The New Writer, and Writing Magazine address the needs of writers in the UK and Ireland, while Canadian Writer’s Journal, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and Children’s Writer Newsletter all serve writers specifically in North America.
"...writing conferences are happy to host guests from all over the globe..."|
The Australian Writer’s Marketplace is an excellent source of information on writing opportunities in Australia and New Zealand, and the new Writer’s Market UK is arguably the definitive guide for freelancers hoping to break into British markets.
A variety of more general guides may also prove useful to freelance writers regardless of their location, including Peter Bowerman’s tried and true, The Well Fed Writer, and Linda Formichelli’s cult classic, The Renegade Writer.
Mix and Mingle
Even in this age of technology, sometimes there’s no better way to hear about international opportunities than to get out there and network, even if you find yourself far from home in pursuit. Most writing conferences are happy to host guests from all over the globe, and they are invaluable to otherwise solitary writers as they offer the chance to not only mix and mingle with colleagues from another country, but to get a feel for the national freelance writer’s psyche as well.
The International Women’s Writing Guild hosts a number of conferences each year in the United States, and The London Book Fair usually offers a variety of associated seminars of interest to writers. Retreats can serve similar purposes, sometimes with the added bonus of instructional classes and inspiring scenery. Anam Cara (Ireland), The Torrox Townhouse (Spain), Skyros Writers’ Lab (Greece), and Patchwork Farm (USA) are but a few of the choices available to freelance writers with itchy feet.
"...as the world gets smaller, the freelancing pool gets bigger..."|
Many writers’ associations and organizations also offer seminars and conferences, so be sure to visit the International Writing Organizations page for a fairly comprehensive list of national writing groups. Many more regional institutions also offer courses and events that would be of interested to any writer. For example, Media Bistro often runs one-off courses in New York and California, while Grub Street in Boston, Massachusetts, holds a number of different programs each year. For foreign writers, a trip scheduled around one of these offerings may just pay off later—literally.
Writers are not that different around the world. We all struggle with writer’s block, procrastinate in the face of looming deadlines, and work like the devil to master our craft and make a living out of doing what we love. Unfortunately, it can often seem that as the world gets smaller, the freelancing pool gets bigger and competition becomes more intense. Rather than giving in to the pressure, grab hold of the international opportunities that now abound. With a little help from the myriad international resources available on the web, in print, and with the help of colleagues, they’ll be yours for the taking.
Beth Morrissey has written well over 200 articles on various subjects, in publications around the world. She's been a Freelance Writer for three years, with experience in print and electronic publications. Beth is an editor of various educational materials including essays, reports and brochures, two organizational newsletters and children's books. She's also experienced in American and British English copy-editing, proofreading, as well as, content editing.