Kickstart your writing career with Craigslist

Craigslist is many things to many people. Treasure hunt. Matchmaker. Art project (see Samantha Allen's amazing photography project, the Craigslist Project). To me, it was Lady Luck — it kick started my freelance writing career.

Several years ago, a writer acquaintance told me the first thing I should do to start a freelance career was to get business cards that say "Jessica Woollard, writer." Check. Then I got a website. Check (it looked really bad before this template, believe me!). Then I started reading every non-fiction piece of work I could get my hands on. Check, check, check.

But then... I wanted to write. Sure, I was gaining significant experience through my day job and through some freelance work I'd picked up while still in school. But the Writing/Editing job list on Craigslist propelled my career forward.

I find that people who post legit writing jobs on Craigslist are one of two people: (1) people who need writing/editing for a personal project, or (2) modern, creative professionals with a business venture who need strong writers and want to attract new talent (who will likely produce great work for less).

The #2s are your golden ticket.

Through Craigslist, I picked up three of my favourite writing gigs. First, a gig copywriting for local business Spice Creative. This contract was for a brochure for the Crest Hotel in Prince Rupert. Second, a gig writing creative advertisements for Weddingful (a wedding marketplace). I wrote for Weddingful as they got ready to launch across North America. Pretty sweet exposure, right? And third, a gig travel blogging for Aviawest Resort Club. This was a fabulous gig that lasted nine months until the Victoria resort was sold.

Though they didn't last longer than 10 months, each of these three Craigslist gigs provided me with experience that has bolstered my portfolio. They have made me a legitimate Freelancer. In writing, more is, well, more. The more you write, the better you get. The more diverse your portfolio, the more appealing you are to other companies. The more clients you have, the more people want you.

Now that I'm established, I don't go to Craigslist as often, but I still check occasionally when business gets slow. And I'm eternally grateful for the opportunities it afforded me.

If you're a beginner writer wanting to gain experience, Craigslist offers legitimate writing opportunities that will pay out a little in terms of money, but will pay out a lot in terms of resume building. Sure there are scams, and you must be cautious, but there are also a lot of modern business people looking to take a chance on a new writer.

Three businesses took a chance on me. And I remember them every dollar I make.

Caribou Creative