Finding your niche that is writing I Became a specialist Freelance Science Writer8月 29, 2019 4:11 pm
Whenever I started freelance writing full-time about a year ago, i did son’t have a lot of an idea. I happened to be signing up to whatever leads I could find on sites like Elance and Odesk and trying to build a portfolio that could get me more simply work. As a result, my focus was scattered: a resume here, a series of blog posts there, the ghostwritten eBook that is occasional.
This worked, in a way of speaking. But I became losing more bids I had was to bid low and bid often than I was landing—and the main weapon. This is bad not just 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 number of years as a study biologist. I originally started on that path because brilliant science writers like Stephen Jay Gould and Carl Zimmer had opened up the realm of the natural sciences to me with creativity and wit. I had finally found something worth likely to college for. As an undergraduate I fell deeply in love with Ecology—the branch of biology for creative types—and spent the following couple of years immersed for the reason 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 thus I went to operate in many 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 was building a solid foundation that could assist me eventually find my specialization, although I didn’t know it during the time.
Finding my niche
Fast-forward to about six months ago, when I realized that most jobs I was landing were in Science and Medical Writing. Not just that, but these jobs paid in excess of lots of the other jobs I was fighting over along with other freelancers as we all slashed our bids into the minimum. I already had a portfolio of articles on avian ecology, molecular biology, organic gardening techniques, and health that is public. I experienced real credentials and a resume that is solid. And I 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 them, but immediately saw a much higher acceptance rate. Because I was only applying for jobs in which I knew I happened to be perhaps one of the most qualified writers in the room, I could save money time to my proposals and ask for higher rates. I already knew which buzz words would demonstrate that I happened to be comfortable with scientific nomenclature. And clients taken care asian mail brides of immediately that. I occupy a great niche: I’m not a med student trying to generate income in 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 can find pitfalls to specializing—and it’s important to prevent them. Do not create your section of expertise so specific you could only bid on a single type of job. In place of being just a science writer or simply a writer that is medical I’m both. But We have a portfolio that is diverse both of these areas as well. We have many years of experience as a gardener, but am formally trained as an Ecologist. And I also have worked in public areas health, but additionally understand molecular biology. I would be severely limited in terms of the jobs that would be available to me if I could only bid on one of these areas.
The first rule to being a successful expert science writer can be drawn directly from Evolutionary Biology. Probably the most successful organisms use a technique called optimal foraging behavior: they seek out the meals that they know will offer the payoff that is biggest, but are ready to search for other sources of income for the time being. As an science that is expert, We have a couple 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 a case study, whenever I first rebranded my freelance business, I made the mistake of bidding on a job which was frankly beyond my scope of expertise—liquid chromatography, a laboratory means of purifying mixtures. I became vaguely familiar I had a background in molecular biology techniques like PCR; how hard could it be with it, and?
Because it turned out liquid chromatography is highly complicated. In accordance with no direct experience or theoretical training inside them, i possibly couldn’t learn them overnight. It doesn’t matter exactly how much training that is scientific have in other areas, or how quick an autodidactic study you may be. I ultimately had to cancel that job and lost a client that is potentially long-term. Therefore the second rule is: don’t believe that being a specialist science writer allows you to a Science Expert. Adhere to the fields you understand very well, and will also be consistently publishing quality material.
Thirdly, continually be searching for possibilities to become better at your job. I no longer act as a researcher in Ecology and Evolution, but that doesn’t mean I ever lost my passion for the niche. I still attend conferences about environmental issues in my area, however now as a member of this public instead of a researcher. I never stopped subscribing to magazines that concentrate on ecology and nature, and now I feel confident to send query letters for them. And organizations like the National Association of Science Writers have lots of resources for science writers.
Finally, enjoy it. I like writing, and I also love science. Specializing in science writing has allowed us to take on projects that I find interesting and engaging. I could produce work I’m proud of, and I’m constantly learning more info on the natural world.
In regards to the author:
Jim Daley is a freelance writer based in Chicago. After working as a study biologist in avian ecology, public health, and infectious disease, he gone back to his first love—writing. He contributes content to gardening and science websites. On his blog, jimdaleywrites, he explores the process of balancing endeavors that are creative professional freelance writing.
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