How to use a troll site to find writing advice, prompts, and gigs.
When I first heard of reddit, I avoided making an account because a few friends had complained about sexist comments on posts, or being blocked from certain threads for no reason. But as a researcher and freelancer, I try to learn how to use social media to my advantage whenever I can.
I’ve dedicated posts to writing advice Twitter threads by author Roxane Gay. I’ve also used the interwebs to find motivation for sending out regular pitches. So sometime last year, I made a reddit account. But… it just sat there for a little while.
It wasn’t until I was an editorial intern for DNAinfo (RIP to the most magnificent local news site ever) that I saw that there were a number of ways to promote work or find ideas for articles in specific subreddits.
An editor also pointed out that if I spend time looking for specific topics that I wanted to write about, I would be able to potentially find sources to interview.
Thanks to that website, I wrote the first ever local news story about a new wine bar/bookstore in the Bronx. Once it opens it will be the only bookstore in the entire borough. And all it took was a few subreddit searches and reading comments when I was bored. That’s when it really sunk in how useful the website could be for pitching regular ideas to my editors.
During my free time outside of the internship, I’d begin searching around on the site and noticed that I had come across so many other subreddits and links where writers would share ideas, laments about the difficulties of being a freelancer, and suggestions for getting into publications.
Like most social media sites, Reddit is what you make of it. It can be used to kill time, or it can be used for hobbies and jobs.
A resourceful freelancer uses as many websites or social media platforms as best as possible. I make a point of signing and searching around weekly. Sometimes I don’t find anything, other weeks I’m able to get leads on gigs or potential ideas that I can eventually flesh out.
If it’s worked for me… then maybe it’ll work for you as well. Here are 4 tips for using Reddit as a freelance writer:
Tip 1: Be Specific When Searching for Subreddits
Though you may find something writing related by searching “jobs” consider writing out the kind of jobs you want. Also search for the specific genre of writing you want to learn more about or write about.
There are subreddits for romance writers, erotica writers, non-fiction writing, and even fantasy. Put in the right key words and you’ll find a subreddit for just about any writing interest.
Tip 2: Don’t Over Post Links
I learned the hard way that if you post in the same subreddit from the same IP address, you’ll be banned from posting.
You’ll still be able to see posts on the specific subreddit, but you won’t be able to do make your own.
So if you’d like to avoid that, don’t over post. Just be mindful of how often you link or share the same thing.
Tip 3: Get Creative When Searching
Don’t just stop your search at something like “freelance writing” and “writer.” Consider using your vocabulary skills and expanding your search.
I’ve looked for “writing prompts”, “freelancers”, “freelance writers”, or “writing ideas.” The more ways and combinations of highlighting a job search, or anything to do with writing, the more subreddits you’ll find.
Consider every phrase you know that is about a job or writing. For example “freelance writing”, “writing gigs”, and “writing jobs.”
Tip 4: Use Non Writing Subreddits as Inspiration as Well
Consider the things you want to write about as either a creative writer or reporter and then look for those topics as a subreddit. Back when I was an intern, I was constantly browsing the NYC subreddit. I’d catch videos of events and find updates to older news stories.
I’ve also looked up subreddits for specific hobbies, cities or states, or even movie genres. It’s a great way to do background research for a blog post or an article.
It might even help with creative story ideas or for a weekly brainstorming session.