Freelance Round-up: This month in writing <br>

What do clients want from writers?

Whilst there are lots of articles around from freelance writers on how to get work, it’s rare and always interesting to hear from clients about what they actually want from freelancers in general. A post on offers a bit of an insight. Although one company obviously can’t speak for all businesses that employ freelance writers, it’s still a good way into thinking about where clients might be coming from and could be especially enlightening for newbies.

If any other companies who employ freelancers would like to chip in on what they look for, we’d love to hear from you on the forums!

Column Idol contest launched

The Sun newspaper has launched a competition to find a new young columnist. The Sun’s Column Idol contest is looking for an 18-25-year-old to write a one-off column for the newspaper. The winner will also be mentored by a Sun journalist.

The competition has been launched by footballer Theo Walcott, who has written a children’s fiction series focusing on the sport. He said: “Writing a novel for kids is a bit different, I know. But I drew upon personal experience and you should not fear doing that in your entry. Perhaps there is an issue you have experienced and feel strongly about? Chances are, there will be readers who identify with what you say.”

The closing date for the competition is 20 June 2011 so get scribbling.

Freelance writing Twitchhiker off again

A freelance travel writer is off on his travels again. Tyneside freelancer Paul Smith has already published a book, Twitchhiker, about his efforts to get as far around the world as possible for free by calling on the power of Twitter.

Now he’s off again, attempting to use Twitter to make his way around America. He will pay for flights and train travel himself this time, but is hoping he will be able to blag accommodation through contacts he has made on Twitter. He’s also asking his online contacts to act as local tour guides and give him the insider info on their areas.

Paul said he is taking the trip for an adventure, but admitted it may become the basis for his next travel book. You can follow Paul’s journey at

Freelancer of the year announced

Freelance writer and editor Jo Murphy has been named as recruitment firm Xchange Team’s Freelancer of the Year in the Editorial category. Out of 53 nominations, Jo took the category title for her work on Porte Magazine, which she helped to launch from scratch in just one month with Stadium Creative.

Mike Fletcher, Contributing Editor, Haymarket Media Group, said: “Choosing to pursue a freelance editorial career should allow the person the space to be creative and entrepreneurial. Jo has shown the passion and desire to take a concept and develop it into fully functioning online magazine brand. A deserved winner.”

Always good to see freelancers having their hard work recognised!

Three social media skills for journalists

There’s an interesting blog post on Media Bistro about social media skills which are key for journalists and should, the author Ben LaMothe suggests, be taught on journalism courses. Using Twitter to source and report on original stories or find a new angle is one that is cropping up more and more now.

He also suggests that content scheduling and live-tweeting/Facebooking events are essential skills – these are interesting and definitely seem to be cropping up more and more for journalists. What do you think? Do they need to be taught?

Sarah Wray


28th April 2011

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