The Courage to Live It: A Master Class on the Business of Freelancing

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Dates: August 24-27, 2014

Place: The Mountain Research Station, west of Boulder Colorado.

Deadlines and fees

Online Application 

You know how to write and you’ve already done some freelancing, but you want to up your game — and your income. Or maybe you’re itching to quit your staff job and set off on your own to earn a living writing independently. Be your own boss. Work your own schedule. Pursue the stories you care about. If these are your passions, then Courage Camp is for you. As protagonist Owen Meaney says in the John Irving novel that bears his name, “If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”

This intensive course on freelancing will help you develop the confidence and expertise to build a freelance writing career that will sustain you for the long haul. Writing aptitude is a prerequisite to creating a freelancing career, but it’s not enough to build a lucrative one. This workshop will teach you the business skills you need to stay afloat in today’s difficult media economy.

You won’t sit passively listening to writers who’ve already made it tell newbies about their lucky breaks; this is an intensive, immersive, hands-on course that will help you plan and execute a successful freelance writing career, regardless of your experience level. Your instructors — award-winning writers Christie Aschwanden and Bruce Barcott and nationally-known editor Laura Helmuth — have more than 45 years of experience between them. They’ll share their insights and insider knowledge about the publishing world and writer-editor relationships.

During the workshop, you’ll receive individualized help from our instructors and support from the small group of peers that you’ll get to know during your stay. You’ll leave with answers to your burning questions about freelancing, a personal business plan, editor contacts at A-list publications, and a community of peers who will provide lasting support.

This intimate, interactive workshop is intended for freelance writers of all career stages who want to take their careers to the next level. Attendance is limited to 20 people, and you’ll do much of your work in smaller groups, sorted according to career stage and experience level. The focused career planning you’ll accomplish during three intensive days will give your career a lift, whether you’ve been freelancing for years or are just getting started.

The event takes place at the Mountain Research Station, located in the Indian Peaks west of Boulder, Colorado. Our group will stay together in a modern, comfortable lodge. For three and a half days, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of the freelance career, with plenty of breaks for hiking and socializing. Think of it as summer camp for freelance writers.

Our agenda will cover the most important aspects of running a successful freelance business, including:

Finances for freelancers

Everything from budgeting to insurance, taxes and accounting tricks, how to handle uneven income, managing expenses and deciding whether to form an S-corp or LLC.

Contracts and negotiations

How to read a contract, clauses to avoid or alter, how to ensure that your rights and income are protected, and how and when to negotiate rights and pay.

Building a business plan

How to develop a concrete plan for reaching your financial and career goals, the essential components of a business plan, the optimal way to set goals, short-term and long-term career planning, contingency plans and methods for measuring success along the way.

Business strategies

Where to find work, how to market yourself and how to decide whether and when to become a specialist or generalist. How to optimize your work load, find the ideal mix of long form vs. shorter stories, journalism vs corporate work, books and other projects. Most importantly, how do you balance love and money?

Marketing yourself

How to hone your story ideas and identify the best markets for your work. Best strategies for finding the right publication and editor, shaping your story to the market, the anatomy of a pitch, pitching etiquette and strategies for making the sale.

Building your network

How to meet editors and build long-lasting relationships with them. You’ll learn how to become a go-to writer for your target publications. Also, how to build a support network of other freelancers and  how to find resources to build your career.

Time management for freelancers

Finding a daily schedule that works, building a better to do list and how to master the multi-tasking required for freelancing. Tricks for juggling assignments and short-term and long-term time management strategies.

Developing the habits and traits of a successful freelancer.

Ways to develop the mindset and habits that will help propel you to success, including persistence, confidence and flexibility. How to deal with rejection and remain positive through the ups and downs.

You’ll leave the workshop with a personal business plan and an actionable agenda for achieving your freelancing goals.

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More info: Instructor bios

Workshop details, including deadlines and fees

Registration info

Application

Questions? Email Christie christie@nasw.org