Can anyone give me some advice on become a freelance writer, particularly of columns? (Sport & Features would be my strong suits).
I don't know if there's much of a market surrounding this these days, but I have ideas, I can write (but with limited exprience - I've worked mainly as a broadcast journo) and really don't know how to go about breaking into this field...
Its pretty tough to get into freelance, especially sport, but get writing and send your work into the papers. I found calling editors was useful because at the very least they would know who you are. Most remember what it was like getting started and do their best to help. They will also get you in touch with other people in the industry.
Beyond that I dont know what everyone else would advise you to do but when I looked to get started I set up a blog and writing here on boards. You'd be surprised how much feedback you get here and also how much it forces you to improve your style of writing.
I had studied computers and never looked at journalism but in March of last year I started to write about motorsport. My first break was, like most people in the field, lucky. There was a rally in Dundalk and I sent in a report for it, I managed to convert this into a weeks work experience and from that, and the blog, I have had a weekly column since.
Ive been lucky to build up my portfolio and get to F1, MotoGP and Superbike races that I never thought Id have the chance to attend but you need to force the door down when an opportunity presents itself. Anytime that you get a chance to impress someone take it and then try and show them some of what you want to actually write about.
I was able to make small steps in the first year but the last six months saw a lot of progress. It would have been easy to get disheartened and disconsolate in the first year but if you persevere you'll be able to get things published.
For what it is worth try pitching the betting companies - they require loads of sports articles for seo purposes - they might even have more than the papers. Hope that helps