UPDATE: This position has been filled! Thank you so much to everyone who applied.
This idea has been brewing for awhile, but something about this week has inspired me to make it happen. Maybe it’s that back-to-school energy that still inspires me to buy new pens and notebooks every September; maybe it’s that this month marks my ninth year as a freelance writer (here’s my origin story, if you haven’t read it).
Or maybe it’s just that I’ve been busy out of my gourd this week, and realizing how much more efficient I could be at everything if I had somebody helping me make the sausage over here. Whatever the inspiration, I’ve decided that I need some consistent help with admin, story research, and really, a whole long list of things that keep silently shuffling forward on my to do list without ever getting accomplished because I need a second brain and more hours in the week in order to accomplish them all.
So, I’m hiring! I need a (very part-time, freelance) assistant who can manage some of my logistics, help with story research, and so on. Here’s the deal.
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
I keep meaning to write a post for the Freelance Life series about how to be a great editorial assistant (since that’s how most of us get our start), but haven’t gotten around to it yet, so here is a related post by Emily Henderson about how to be a great design assistant; obviously the specific job responsibilities are different but pretty much everything else applies. So start by giving that a read. In addition to having the attitude and work ethic that she describes, my perfect writer’s assistant will be:
- A college graduate with a passion for writing and journalism, who is looking to learn the ropes of the industry from a freelance writer’s perspective.
- Highly organized and detail-oriented, with excellent phone and email manners.
- A persevering and creative problem-solver (a lot of reporting involves hitting dead ends and figuring out how to regroup and restart).
- Experienced with Word, Excel, WordPress, and generally comfortable with your computer being an extension of your brain in all ways.
- Confident with social media.
- Super efficient and not afraid of a wee bit of multi-tasking.
My weeks can vary wildly, which means the scope of my assistant’s job will be ever-changing as well — and I fully expect it to grow along with the person’s talents and abilities. But this is not a full-time job (no benefits, sorry), nor is it a writing-heavy position. This position will have a mix of admin and editorial responsibilities, much like a good editorial assistant gig would be at a magazine. Here’s the kind of thing I know I need help with, right now:
- Tracking down story sources and scheduling phone interviews
- Idea research and development
- Organizing research and annotating manuscripts for fact-checking
- Website maintenance (uploading new article PDFs and maybe even giving this-here blog some love)
- Social media love (marketing new stories I publish, updating my professional Facebook page, etc)
- General virtual admin (travel arrangements, PR correspondence, expense reports, and all sorts of other random unglamorous tasks — but nothing demeaning or related to my personal life, promise.)
The idea is that we’d touch base each Monday and I’d rattle off a few tasks that I need help with, you would go to town, and get back to me by the end of the week with your results. That means you can work virtually (though I may give an edge to NY-based candidates, since having the option of meeting in person could be nice from time to time). And it’s a 1099 gig, so you can also set your own hours. A lot of this job will be done via email and therefore can happen any time, but I choose to work very set hours myself and reserve the right to occasionally request your participation in a work-related activity during a specific daylight hour — so full-fledged vampires need not apply.
This job will be competitively paid, and as such, I will cap your time at five hours per week to start, so I can stay on budget. (Obviously that means you will not be doing everything on the above list every week; we’ll prioritize to make the best use of your time. And of course, the hours may evolve as my needs and budget change.)
HOW TO APPLY
Email your resume and cover letter to virginiasolesmith (at) gmail (dot) com, subject line: Writer’s Assistant. Show that you’ve read my work, that you read in general, and that you’re excited to work on the types of projects I do — keeping in mind that a professional freelance writer’s life is not all wearing mermaid tails. Let me know why you want to work for a writer (seriously, have you met us?) and what you hope to gain from the experience, but also be sure to let me know why I want you to work for me. If you have published clips, a blog, a strong Twitter, whatever, please include so I can get a sense of your personality, passion and voice.
The bottom line: Give me five hours a week, and I’ll give you… a competitive paycheck, plus the opportunity to shadow a professional writer and learn how to develop a story from pitch to publication. Also, if you happen to live nearby, free tomatoes. The garden is overrun.
*I will try my best, but may not be able to respond to all applicants. I plan to fill the position as soon as possible, so if you don’t hear from me by October 1, you can assume it was not a fit.