When I started freelance writing full-time about last year, i did son’t have most of an agenda. I happened to be deciding on whatever leads I could find on sites like Elance and Odesk and wanting to build a portfolio which could simply get me more work. As a result, my focus was scattered: a resume here, a number of blog posts there, the occasional ghostwritten eBook.
This worked, in a manner of speaking. But I became losing more bids than I was landing—and the main weapon I experienced would be to bid low and bid often. This was bad not only for my bottom that is own line for the freelancer community at large and I also knew it. Eventually, though, that I had a background I could draw on that would allow me to specialize as I started to get steady work in a few areas I realized.
Prior to going into freelance writing full-time, I spent a true number of years as a research biologist. I originally started on that path because brilliant science writers like Stephen Jay Gould and Carl Zimmer had opened within the realm of the sciences that are natural me with creativity and wit. I experienced finally found something worth planning to college for. As an undergraduate I fell deeply in love with Ecology—the branch of biology for creative types—and spent the following years that are few in that world.
After college and a stint in grad school, I quickly realized that there aren’t many jobs for ecologists when you look at the world that is real so I decided to go to work in some other areas. I did research in public health, infectious disease, and neuroscience, while volunteering using the Audubon Society plus in community gardens. All the while I became building a strong foundation that could help me eventually find my specialization, although I didn’t know it at the time.
Finding my niche
Fast-forward to about half a year ago, whenever I realized that almost all jobs I was landing were in Science and Medical Writing. Not just that, but these jobs paid in excess of many of the other jobs I became fighting over along with other freelancers as we all slashed our bids to the minimum. I already had a portfolio of articles on avian ecology, molecular biology, organic gardening techniques, and health that is public. I had real credentials and a resume that is solid. And I also could present myself as an writer that is expert these areas. As just that: an expert science writer specializing in environmental news, medical writing, research, gardening and green tech so I rebranded myself.
My proposals became more targeted. I was submitting fewer of these, but immediately saw a much higher acceptance rate. Because I was only trying to get jobs by which I knew I became one of the most qualified writers into the room, i really could save money time on my proposals and ask for higher rates. I already knew which buzz words would demonstrate that I happened to be more comfortable with scientific nomenclature. And clients taken care of immediately that. I occupy a niche that is great I’m not a med student seeking to generate income from the side—I’m a freelance writer. But I’m also not a generalist freelance writer—I’m an expert Science and Medical freelance writer.
You will find pitfalls to specializing—and it is vital that you prevent them. Try not to create your area of expertise so specific that you can only bid on one sorts of job. Instead of being just a science writer or perhaps a writer that is medical I’m both. But I have a portfolio that is diverse both of these areas as well. We have several years of experience as a gardener, but am formally trained as an Ecologist. And I have worked in public places health, but additionally understand biology that is molecular. If i possibly could only bid using one of these areas, I would be severely limited with regards to the jobs that might be accessible to me.
The rule that is first being a successful expert science writer may be drawn directly from Evolutionary Biology. A few of the most successful organisms use a method called optimal foraging behavior: they look for the foodstuff that they know will offer the payoff that is biggest, but they are willing to try to find other sourced elements of income in the meantime. As an science that is expert, We have a few areas which are my specialty, but I’m not above writing a few gardening guides if I can’t find a huge job for the week.
Secondly, know your limitations. As an instance study, whenever I first rebranded my freelance business, I made the mistake of bidding on a job that was frankly beyond my scope of expertise—liquid chromatography, a laboratory procedure for purifying mixtures. I happened to be vaguely familiar with it, and I also had a background in molecular biology techniques like PCR; how hard could it be?
Because it turned out chromatography that is liquid very complex. Sufficient reason for no direct experience or theoretical training I couldn’t learn them overnight in them. It does not matter how much scientific training you have in other areas, or how quick an autodidactic study you may be. I ultimately needed to cancel that job and lost a potentially long-term client. So the rule that is second: don’t believe that being a specialist science writer allows you to a Science Expert. Stay glued to the fields you know very well, and you will certainly be quality material that is consistently publishing.
Thirdly, always be in search of opportunities to become better at your work. I no longer work as a researcher in Ecology and Evolution, but that doesn’t mean I ever lost my passion for the topic. I still attend conferences about environmental issues during my area, nevertheless now as a member for the public in place of a researcher. I never stopped subscribing to magazines that give attention to nature and ecology, and from now on personally i think confident to send query letters for them essay writer for hire. And organizations like the National Association of Science Writers have lots of resources for science writers.
Finally, have fun. I love writing, and I also love science. Specializing in science writing has allowed us to take on projects that I find intriguing and engaging. I will produce work I’m proud of, and I’m constantly learning more info on the world that is natural.
Concerning the author:
Jim Daley is a freelance writer based in Chicago. After working as an investigation biologist in avian ecology, public health, and infectious disease, he returned to his first love—writing. He contributes content to science and gardening websites. On his blog, jimdaleywrites, he explores the process of balancing endeavors that are creative professional freelance writing.