By Joe Dyton
In the fall of 2009, I attended a book signing for one of my favorite writers, former ESPN.com columnist and now Grantland.com editor-in-chief, Bill Simmons. He was willing to write whatever people asked (within reason) along with his signature. I told him I had aspirations of becoming a freelance writer one day and asked if he could jot down some sort of inspirational, “from one writer to another” message. He wrote the best advice I could have ever asked for”
“Follow your dreams.”
Since then, I have done my best to do so. I have bought and read several books on how to build a freelance writing business. I have reached out to companies, web sites and publications about writing for them with some success, but not nearly as much as I’d like. I thought in the three years since Mr. Simmons signed my copy of “The Book of Basketball”, I would have a client list a mile long.
I have been writing since 1998. I have worked for a local daily newspaper, a national trade publication and I currently write marketing copy for one of the country’s largest insurance companies. My most consistent freelance client is another local daily newspaper. When I look at my experience, I wonder why in the world won’t more companies let me do freelance work for them?
Right now, I am looking at building a successful freelance writing career as finding the combination to a secure safe. I have two of the numbers (experience and ambition), but I can’t figure out that third number to unlock the path to what I imagine is a satisfying and fulfilling second career.
That’s where The Freelance Writers Den comes in. If I were to win one of the yearlong scholarships, I have no doubt den mothers Carol and Linda could help me uncover the missing combination number that’s eluded me the last couple of years. I’d welcome the resources the Freelance Writers Den offers with open arms. I’m especially interested in the writing courses; it’s been 10 years since I received my journalism degree (where did the time go?). It would be great to re-learn things I may have forgotten, maybe break some bad habits and learn some new tricks. The classes combined with Linda and Carol’s freelance writing ebooks (particularly how to market my writing) would get me where I’d like to be as a freelance writer. I have no doubt.
My goal is forever etched in Mr. Simmons’ “Book of Basketball”. I want to follow my dreams. I have tried to do it on my own for a few years now, but it hasn’t gotten me to where I thought I’d be at this time. I come to you, Carol and Linda, and ask you to use your expertise to help me unlock that safe.
Thank you for reading and for your consideration.
Joe Dyton is a marketing copywriter in Washington, DC and a freelance sports reporter for the Frederick News-Post in Frederick, MD. He is a former assistant editor for The Dealmakers real estate magazine in Hamilton, NJ and a former sports writer and copy editor for The Trentonian in Trenton, NJ. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dyton99.