Online | Publishing | Nonfiction | Seminar

4-Week Online Publishing Seminar: Freelancing 101

"For me, going from idea to pitch is the most difficult part of writing, so getting work can be a struggle if I don’t write on spec or get an assignment. This class helped me take abstract ideas for stories and put it into a compelling pitch. The salon and feedback on each assignment was invaluable, especially if for someone who doesn’t have the luxury of an editorial team or journalism background. I truly appreciated Laura’s enthusiasm for our work and how she made herself available to us outside of meeting hours. She helped me realized my ideas for stories, even the ones that were previously turned down, were worth pursuing and gave me the tools and confidence to rework and pitch again." - former Catapult student

Do you feel totally lost when it comes to pitching and publishing? Are you intrigued by freelancing as a career but don’t know where or how to start?

This course is for anyone who wants to learn more about freelancing, from how to write a successful pitch, to insider tips (like how to find editor emails, turning a single story idea into different pitches, or how to get paid more). Whether you want to land your first byline or break into higher-tier publications, this course will help you get your writing career to the next level.

In this intensive four-week online seminar, you’ll read successful pitches and the published stories they became, brainstorm and workshop story ideas, track down sources, and conduct research. You’ll learn the behind-the-scenes tips to demystify the process, and learn to love rejections (really!). You’ll get personalized feedback from a working freelancer, and you’ll leave with a polished pitch and a list of potential outlets. 

One full-ride scholarship ($199) will be awarded for this class to a writer of color. To apply, please send [email protected] a writing sample (500-2,000 words) and a short statement of purpose by Wednesday, September 4th, with the subject line "Freelancing 101 Scholarship."

This class will meet over our text-only chat platform. There will not be any video or audio component to class.

COURSE TAKEAWAYS:

- A complete, polished pitch for a feature, profile, or personal essay (with a reported element)

- Close reading of successful pitches (and finished articles) to learn what makes them work and how to apply them to your own writing

- Coming up with story ideas

- Finding sources, conducting interviews, and background research

- Demystifying the freelance process: from finding potential outlets and to establishing editor contacts

- Understanding contracts, negotiations, and what happens when a story goes live

- The tools you need to dive into the freelancing world after the course is over

COURSE SKELETON:

Week 1: THE IDEA: students will deconstruct a successful pitch, brainstorm story ideas, develop potential angles for pitches, track down sources and start background research on their way towards drafting a pitch

Week 2: THE PITCH: students will workshop and revise a compete pitch, find potential outlets for publication, track down editors, and learn to streamline the submissions process

Week 3: WHAT NOW?: editorial feedback, negotiations, contracts, what happens once your story goes live, and more tools you need to tackle your freelancing career!

Laura Yan

Laura Yan is a freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in Wired, NYMag.com, GQ.com, Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Outline, Penthouse, Southwest: the Magazine, Victory Journal, The Awl, & elsewhere. Her stories have been featured in Longreads Best of Arts & Culture Writing 2017  and Longform.org. She loves deadlines, and hearing from you!

Testimonials

"I signed up for Laura's class because I realized I wasn't great at developing pitches and, as an emerging writer, I knew I needed to learn some practical skills right away. After two classes of Laura breaking down the important elements of writing a pitch, the pitch I was crafting for the course was accepted by a publication. I had tried to pitch the same topic unsuccessfully in the past, so I know that Laura's guidance and tips helped me land this piece. Can't speak highly enough of the class!"

former Catapult student

"Laura Yan is a whip-smart writer who knows how to take a burning idea, put it through its paces, and emerge with a story that editors can't resist. Not only is she generous in sharing insider tips on writing and publication, she's fun to be around. "

Deborah Campbell award-winning author of A DISAPPEARANCE IN DAMASCUS

"Laura is concise, engaged, knowledgeable, and committed to her students. She is also a great writer who has published extensively and is in the thick of building her exciting career, and brings that energy and drive to her classes."

Kevin Chong author, teacher, and editor at Joyland Magazine

"For me, going from idea to pitch is the most difficult part of writing, so getting work can be a struggle if I don’t write on spec or get an assignment. This class helped me take abstract ideas for stories and put it into a compelling pitch. The salon and feedback on each assignment was invaluable, especially if for someone who doesn’t have the luxury of an editorial team or journalism background. I truly appreciated Laura’s enthusiasm for our work and how she made herself available to us outside of meeting hours. She helped me realized my ideas for stories, even the ones that were previously turned down, were worth pursuing and gave me the tools and confidence to rework and pitch again."

former student