The economic downtown has hit freelancers of all types very hard. (I love how they call it that. A downturn sounds like the bus broke down and we're standing on the side of the road waiting for someone to fix it. This feels more like an economic pirate attack, complete with sacking of our investments and pillaging of our retirement funds. But I digress...) Everyone from writers to construction workers to data base developers are having a difficult time finding enough work to pay their bills. Even freelance writers with lots of publishing experience are being cut from magazines and presses.
To help so many unemployed writers find work, there is The Career Rut Crusher, posted on Journerdism, "A news and commentary website for journalists and nerds to kick it and discuss the craft (of) journalism, multimedia storytelling, web 2.0 development, web and print design, social content and all things nerdy online." (from their f.a.q.) Follow the link to find resources and ideas to help you find writing gigs, as well as help with negotiations, contracts, salaries, and inspiration.
This is what I love about writers. Yes, we're all hungry for work and will fight like mad for any scrap of print we can get. But we also tend to help and encourage each other, share ideas, and cheer one anothers publishing victories (while hiding our seething jealousy). There are a few pricks out there who steal ideas and stab fellow writers in the back, but the majority of writers, editors, and publishers are genuinely good people. Journedism is one tiny bit of proof.
Don't let the stock market and banker pirates scare you so bad you give up writing. Keep the creative fires burning. So we're all poorer today than we were last week; we're writers! We're used to poverty. And if you really want to go broke, start a publishing company.