5 Tips On Breaking Into Freelance Writing


I am often asked by many of my peers, "Chasity, how did you start freelancing? What do I need to do in order to write for Publication XYZ?" And while I wish I had a specific formula to help get you a byline on your favorite website, I must say that breaking into freelannce journalism is different for everyone. Since I started freelancing in 2014, I've learned that media outlets only really want one thing from journalists: for us to demonstrate that we are thoughtful and intentional about the subject(s) we wish to write about. It's critical to set yourself apart from the rest as knowledgeable, creative and personable, but you also want to ensure that your writing is substantive and aligns with the mission and vision of the publication.

So without further delay, here are five tips that I have found helped me establish my career as a freelance journalist.

  1. Start your own sh*t. (Get to blogging, baby.) - When I started this blog back in September 2011, I had no goal in mind on how I wanted it to grow. All I knew was that I wanted to write about public relations, millennials and some of my life's musings. Fast forward five years later, and I'm grateful to have created this space that keeps track of my growth and experiences both professionally and personally. Granted, I haven't always been as consistent as I want to be (I'll get to this in a bit) but having a place where my voice lives and breathes online has been incredibly essential to building my thought leadership as a writer. When approaching some of your favorite publications, it's important to have a few receipts to show off your writing style, so that they can have an idea of how you can best provide value to their community of readers. If you've been considering starting a blog, be sure to ask yourself a few questions before jumping right in.

2. Put yourself on. (Pitching ain't easy, but it sure is fun.) Putting yourself out there in any form or fashion can be nerve-wracking, but trust me when I say it is also very rewarding. When pitching to your favorite publications, you do want your personality to shine through your writing, but it's important to keep in mind that there is specific information they want to impart on their readership. When I sent a cold email to the editor of Vinepair, a wine and spirits website, earlier this summer, I was slightly nervous because I had only written about wine on my blog. But once I put my fear aside and offered the editor a few ideas that I thought their audience would enjoy, I gained confidence. And surprisingly, I was able to bring forth two of my favorite things (Henny and red wine) and create sometime special for the Vinepair community. Moral of the story: give yourself space to be creative + shoot your shot. Also, you don't have to have a "connect" to a publication in order to pitch them. Head to their website or check out their Twitter page and LOOK for the information you need. 

3. Be consistent, yet patient. (The money will come, just wait on it.) Breaking news my friends: freelance writing isn't going to bring forth a super huge coin in the beginning. You will have to put in the work (read: literally secure the bag) in order to build credibility. With your personal blog, there are a number of ways you can become consistent. Create a content calendar to track your posts. Schedule your posts with tools like CoPromote, Buffer and Hootsuite ahead of time. Keep tabs of the news with Google alerts that are related to the content that you are producing.  While you're waiting to hear from an editor, continue to work and look for opportunities that will help to improve your craft. And once you do get that byline of your dreams...

4. Promote, promote, promote! (Again, put yourself on!) My first post for was one of the most exciting moments of my career thus far. I was standing in PG Plaza Mall and with my phone on one percent, I moved as quickly as I could to screenshot my byline and share it with the Interwebs. I text the link to both of my parents and shared it with the various Slack communities that I'm apart of. You've worked hard for this moment, so don't be afraid to tell everybody what you've accomplished. Pro-tip: be sure to keep a Google doc of all of your clips and social media content to promote them on hand. Here are also three more ways you can promote your blog posts.   

5. Tap into resources. (Help is everywhere, bro.) Now that you've dipped your toe into the freelance journalism pool, the next step is to connect with your peers who are hustling just like you. Below are a few resources and communities that I've grown to love as my freelance journalism career matriculates: 

MiM Connect


Create Daily



Freelancers Union

Writers of Color

Black Freelance 

...and many more. 

So, do you feel ready to start riding the freelance writing wave? Great! If you're still a little hesitant, send me a note and I'll be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.


What It Really Means To 'Faith Your Fear'

This post marks Day 2 my #NaNoWriMo challenge. Peep my first post here Today marks the one year anniversary that I've been at my current job. For some, reaching that milestone seems like a pretty decent accomplishment. But for me, it's one that I'm pretty darn proud of, given that four months prior to my hiring date, I was unemployed.

While I was job hunting one night sitting Busboys & Poets, I remember listening to The Eternal Peace LP by Purple Wondaluv (Musiq Soulchild's alter ego) and being completely captivated by one song in particular, titled 'Faith Your Fears.'

The last year has been full of numerous teachable moments, but the idea of "Faith Your Fear" as been one that has quietly stuck with me throughout.


We see the phrase all the time - on t-shirts, mugs, Internet memes. It's our go-to 'Motivational Monday' or 'Wisdom Wednesday' when we need a reminder to persevere, press toward the mark and push a little harder to get the job done. For those of us who grew up in church, Hebrews 11:1 is forever etched on the walls of our hearts. But what does it really mean to take something as "abstract" and "intangible" as faith and use it to defeat the overwhelmingly paralyzing emotion we know as fear

First, let me give y'all a few definitions to lay the groundwork:

The dictionary defines fear as "an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat."

Conversely, faith is described as "complete trust or confidence in someone or something."  Faith is also usually connected to having a strong belief in God or other spiritual practices.

See, both fear and faith require that you exercise how you are going to react to a situation and what you are going to tell yourself during that particular season.

When I was fired from my job last year, I won't even front - I was scared. I had rent to pay, student loans to manage and other obligations that I need to take care of. But there was also a sense of relief and peace I felt walking away from a job that brought me unhappiness, worry and stress. Even within the uncertainty that loomed in the days and weeks ahead of me, I knew deep that another job opportunity would come my way. I actively chose to believe that something greater was coming. I didn't know what it was, but I trusted that

In the meantime, I had to do the work, be proactive, and put myself out there as I waited for my next opportunity. This 'waiting' came in the form of work: writing (A LOT) for different publications, pitching small businesses and organizations as future clients for social media strategy freelance work, and holding myself accountable for the work that I said I was going to do.

Here's the 411 - fear is crippling, anxious energy that keeps us stagnant, stuck, angry and weary of the ways of the world (word to Solange.) With faith, you are obligated to DO. Believing in yourself, in God (or your higher power of preference) and in the goodness of the Universe requires you to act and put all cylinders in motion.

A few weeks ago, I experienced a very familiar feeling at work, where I wasn't performing to the best of my ability and my boss had called me out on it. Uncomfortable and guilty, I immediately started to get down on myself, think of a way out and place the blame on someone else.

But I had to stop myself. After a long and necessary chat with my mom (because, Mama Wideman ALWAYS be knowing) I had to assess the situation, see where my boss was coming from, and take responsibility for the mistakes that I had made and why  I didn't execute in a timely fashion. Doing so allowed for me to create a 30/60/90 Day action plan (which I shared to my manager) in which I acknowledged my short comings, things I needed to change and set goals that I wanted to accomplish within the next three months.

It probably would've been easier for me to fold, hold a grudge and chuck up the deuces -- but what would I gain from doing that? Sure, people would have their own thoughts about me (which, I couldn't care less about) but those feelings of defeat and shame probably would've rendered their ugly faces at one point and tried to keep me from flourishing. But I didn't. I had my usual 'come to Jesus' moment, put some things on paper and put forth some effort. Holding myself accountable to the job I've been called to do required me to trust myself and put faith in the work I'm capable of doing.

Currently,  I'm reading the book "Letting Go: The Pathway To Surrender" by Dr. David Hawkins. Throughout the book, Dr, Hawkins highlights a number of feelings that we encounter as we travel this pathway of surrender, but the one that has stuck out to me the most is (you've guessed it) fear.

Here's a passage that I highlighted, underlined and put a star by as it relates to fear:

The more fear we hold, the more fearful situations we attract to our life. Each fear requires additional energy to create a protective device until, finally, all of our energy is drained into our extensive defensive measures. The willingness to look at a fear and work with it until we are free of it brings about immediate rewards.

As I sit typing this post in a coffee shop, just hours ago I felt fear because I wasn't going to be able to complete it. But within that fearful moment I had to choose: was I was going to let that fright stop me or work though it so that I could make sh*t happen? 

I know it's easier said than done, but in order to become the person you know you are destined to be, you have to first believe that it is possible and then, take the necessary steps to ensure that it will come to pass.

The next time a moment of fear is on the horizon, try these three things to put your faith to work:

  1. Take a moment and ask yourself, "What is it that's really making me afraid?" Identifying the problem will help you decide whether to avoid it or work though it.
  2.  Create measurable and attainable goals, and keep track of them.
  3. Remind yourself that you are enough.

Fear is an emotion that is normal for all of us to feel, but it can drain us of the energy we need to do the work. Having just a little bit of faith can change our mindset, help us power though those tough times, and build things that we would have probably never imagined.

Have you experienced a moment recently where you've had to 'Faith Your Fear?' Send me a note and let's chat about it.