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September 6, 2001
Revive Your Freelancing Career - Take The Write Holiday!
by Tad Hulse

After months and months of residing behind your computer screen, querying and querying, writing and rewriting, you have come to realise it's that time of year. You can feel it in your brain and throughout your veins, a holiday is rightfully due. You're ready to take a break and head somewhere south. If you think a weekend on the warm sandy shores of Biarritz will do you some good, you couldn't be more right. Vacation time is seen as down time with most and work is usually the furthest thing from thought. However, as a writer, especially a freelance writer, a holiday is the perfect thing to get that blundering inspiration back in order. If you learn the little tricks of the trade, like how your holiday can actually help your writing career, your creative fuse will burn well into next year.

The easiest way to recharge your creativity is with a change of scenery. Whether taking a few hours to stroll through the park on a sunny afternoon or a few days lying on the beach, it does wonders for the writing spirit. Now imagine if it was Central Park in New York City or Le Grande Plage in Nice. Now, I'm not suggesting you need to jet halfway around the world to clear the cobwebs, when in fact a simple two-day getaway up the coast would fit the finest. There's just something about being in a different environment or climate that stimulates the senses and gets the mind going again. You become more aware of your surroundings, colours seem more vibrant, sounds are more eclectic, smells more noticeable. You might even want to scribble some notes in a pocket notebook, but don't force yourself to write down anything, just let the words flow when it's time. Lower your inhibitions and let your surroundings get to you and wonderful manifestations will follow once home behind your computer again.

Now, get the notion out of your head that you have to be a star writer for Condé Nast to write about your travels. They particularly may not be interested in your weekend trip to San Diego, but there are throngs of e-zines out there that would pay a decent penny to hear about your experiences. And with the idea that you're going to try and sell your piece before you head off on holiday will not only help you organise the facts while the sand is still between your toes, but side-steps all frustrating attempts to remember important details later.

Writing is only half of your job as a freelance writer. Unlike most staff writers or columnists who are employed by a certain publication, you have to actually find a publisher to sell your work to. You should always be promoting yourself and your writing, at home and on holiday. Especially on holiday because one of the following is likely to happen...

Pay attention.

It's much easier to strike up a conversation with someone on the beach in Cancun than in a Starbucks at home. People tend to be more sociable, in a good mood and friendly. It's the perfect place to take advantage of people's interest. Tell them what you do for a living and they'll look at you as if they've just met John Grisham. Which is perfect because you don't know whom they know. Do you see where this is going?

Secondly, as a freelance writer, the majority of your work will be sold via Internet without ever actually meeting the publisher in person. On holiday, you could likely run into someone who's the editor of some high profile magazine. After a few hours of chitchat he tells you to send in some of your work when you get back. It's called "networking" and more often than not, it works better than your best query. Now that that editor has a face to put to your email, it gives you a better chance in getting your piece through the door and could turn into a long-standing relationship. You never know.

So the next time you need to get away for a few days to recharge your creativity, remember to make your holiday - despite how long it is - work for you. Get a little more out of it than just a tan.

Tad Hulse is an American freelance writer who can be currently found residing in Oslo, Norway when he's not out exploring the rest of Greater Europe. He's contributed works to numerous websites and publications, namely about travel and culture.

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