English: Confederation Square, with National W...
English: Confederation Square, with National War Memorial in its centre, in Ottawa, Canada. The view towards downtown from the Corktown Pedestrian Bridge in Ottawa, Canada. The Laurier bridge and Château Laurier are visible. Français : Vue vers le centre-ville depuis la passerelle de Corktown à Ottawa (Canada). On peut voir le Pont Laurier et le Château Laurier. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Writing can be difficult for any particular market. Today, I’ll use Ottawa as an example. There are a few newspapers, but with today’s world of syndication, it can be difficult to get on staff anywhere. There are a ton of technical writing jobs, although many of them require field experience. There are also the less than fulfilling large corporation and government jobs where you spend a ton of time crafting the perfect prose, only to have it butchered by a committee.

I know everyone and their dog tells you that you can make a whole huge pile of money blogging and that anyone who doesn’t blog to make money is a stupid idiot with a nine to five job, but that’s just not true. If everyone could make money blogging, everyone would be doing it. It’s very difficult to make a living doing nothing at all but blogging.

Starting a writing career in Ottawa is possible. You’re not going to get a lot of book deals or script writing roles being in Ottawa, but you can pick up a great deal of web content writing jobs that pay reasonably well and don’t make you want to slit your wrists. If you are going to go the way of the freelance writer, you’ll need a web site, a rate, and you’ll need to start to get some jobs.

Do

  1. Take low-cost or free jobs if it’s to build a portfolio.
  2. Post on freelance boards offering your services.
  3. Partner with web or technology companies to get more work.

Don’t

  1. Work on anything that you can’t put in your portfolio.
  2. Accept unpaid internships (unless they are with a large credible company or organization)
  3. Work on anything where you are promised a percentage without actual up front payment.

That’s what I think about the Ottawa writing scene.

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