Freelancers Should Start Creative Collectives

Al Jazeera English newsroom–the old school. (Wikimedia Commons: Wittylama)

Ann Friedman at CJR has a post for her series #realtalk that suggests freelance journalists should consider forming collectives. She’s seen it work well with her friends in the graphic design community and in groups like the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto, where writers are rarely at a loss for ideas.

“One of the most tangible benefits of working in a shared office space is having officemates who pass along assignments when they’re too busy,” said The Grotto’s co-founder Ethan Watters, according to Friedman’s post. “Over the years, I can safely say that I’ve covered at least half of my office rent through such overflow work. I’ve also profited from having a stable of writing pros on hand to pick up my slack, critique first drafts, and give me advice.”

Though writing is thought of as a solitary pursuit, Friedman argues, journalists benefit from a newsroom atmosphere.  It “makes a lot of sense for those of us who work freelance,” she says, because most freelancers have left newspaper and/or magazine offices. In a collective space, journalists can collaborate to complete projects, share story ideas, learn each other’s skills (I’ll take your website design and raise you my photojournalism…)

The point is, really, why not? Of course, you have to know people you trust and whose work you admire, but if you’ve ventured off into freelancing chances are you do.