What_Is_Freelance_Speech_Writing_

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					Title:
What Is Freelance Speech Writing?

Word Count:
913

Summary:
Freelance speech writing is the cha
mpagne of freelance writing; it off
ers a high degree of creativity, a
high-profile clientele, and the cha
nce to have your work heard among e
lite people. Of course, there are d
ownsides as well: your style is res
tricted to that of the speaker, and
 the pool of jobs is substantially
smaller than many other forms of fr
eelance writing. But on the whole,
the advantages make it very attract
ive to pursue gigs as a freelance s
peech writer.

Speech ...


Keywords:
writing, freelance writing, freelan
cing, creative writing


Article Body:
Freelance speech writing is the cha
mpagne of freelance writing; it off
ers a high degree of creativity, a
high-profile clientele, and the cha
nce to have your work heard among e
lite people. Of course, there are d
ownsides as well: your style is res
tricted to that of the speaker, and
 the pool of jobs is substantially
smaller than many other forms of fr
eelance writing. But on the whole,
the advantages make it very attract
ive to pursue gigs as a freelance s
peech writer.

Speech writing is one of the oldest
 forms of communication. Much of wh
at we consider good rhetorical prac
tice today goes back to the Romans
and Cicero. Until the previous cent
ury, long rhetorically-polished spe
eches were a central (and enjoyable
) part of serious literature, from
the hieratic diatribes of Shakespea
re's Lear to the long burlesque fli
ghts of Dickens's heroes and grotes
ques. Today, speech writing is most
ly confined to large formal parties
, serious events, and political car
eers, but something of the dignity
of the art's long history still adh
eres to people's ideas about roarin
g good speeches. Speech writing is
the art of making people appear bot
h persuasive and dignified, of turn
ing ordinary people into sources of
 entertainment and wisdom. As expec
ted, writing speeches effectively c
an be difficult to do well.

The key to effective speech writing
--as well as the key to effective w
riting in general--is to know one's
 audience. In speech writing, the a
udience is a literal one: an employ
ee pool, a group of wedding guests,
 or a rural electorate. The speechw
riter should, before setting even o
ne word to paper, find out who the
speech is intended for and take thi
s into account when structuring the
 work.

Once you know your audience, know y
our speaker. As Bernard Shaw once s
aid, it's impossible to make a silk
 purse from a sow's ear -- or at le
ast, people don't want to believe i
t's possible. If the CEO you're wri
ting for is known as a good ol' boy
, down-to-earth businessman, it won
't ring true if your speech contain
s a number of high literary allusio
ns and elaborate rhetorical constru
ctions. If you're writing for a mus
eum curator, opening with an off-co
lor joke and referring to "the folk
s back home" is not necessarily the
 best way to go.

You not only have to know about you
r client's perceived character, but
 about his or her actual speech rhy
thms. Interview your client if poss
ible, or if not possible, try to ge
t access to videos, tapes, or other
 recordings. This should give you s
ome idea of voice, and some underst
anding of how best to express your
ideas in the "client's words." If a
 speech doesn't sound natural comin
g from the client's mouth, the spee
ch won't work and you won't develop
 a good reputation that leads to mo
re assignments. So put in the time,
 get a good idea of the client's vo
ice, and use it exclusively in your
 work.

Framing your speech around the subj
ect matter can be tricky, but fortu
nately all the prep work you've bee
n doing will make it a much simpler
 proposition. If you know your audi
ence, your client's speech style, a
nd your client's public perception,
 you'll have a decent compass for n
avigating your speech through possi
ble dead areas, out of dark, depres
sing moments, far to the lee of exc
essive frivolity, and generally on
an even course from the first atten
tion-getting moment to the conclusi
ve point. It's difficult to know ex
actly how a speech will play before
 it's actually delivered, but you c
an get a rough idea by reading your
 drafts to a friendly audience (spo
use, friends, children), or by tape
-recording yourself delivering the
speech into a mirror. A good speech
 doesn't have dead moments, doesn't
 bore, and reaches a series of shor
t, conclusive points to keep the au
dience's attention from wandering o
ver time. If you do plenty of revis
ion work and get a real idea of how
 your speech sounds when read aloud
, you can fine-tune appropriately i
n order to ensure a successful spee
ch, and a satisfied customer.

Of course, getting customers in the
 first place can be tricky: the spe
echwriting market is usually fairly
 small and fairly exclusive, since
only the very wealthy can usually a
fford to have professional speechwr
iters work for them. The Catch-22 h
ere is that the very wealthy typica
lly only want established, proven s
peechwriters, a difficult preferenc
e for novice speechwriters to deal
with. You can establish yourself an
d build a reputation, however, by a
dvertising heavily in local papers,
 club newsletters, and anywhere lik
ely to need a speech writer at some
 point in time: wedding planners, l
ocal organizations, startup corpora
tions in your area. This may not be
 the best-paying work, but it's ess
ential to building a proven reputat
ion as a good speechwriter. Once yo
u have some gigs under your belt, s
tart upping your level of advertisi
ng to include corporate newsletters
 and trade journals, and make sure
to network at every event where you
've written a speech. Word gets aro
und, and eventually, if you promote
 yourself well, it'll get to the ri
ght people.

In any case, it'll be some time bef
ore your speech writing is well-kno
wn enough to command high prices, a
nd to allow you to make it the excl
usive focus of your freelance writi
ng career. Keep up some other freel
ance jobs, write speeches whenever
you get the opportunity, and keep u
p the self-promotion among the righ
t circles. If you're talented and y
ou're fortunate, you can make the s
witch to the champagne of freelance
 writing, and achieve that most sat
isfying of jobs: you can become a s
uccessful freelance speech writer.