Your Guide To The Albuquerque Writing Scene
A lot of us content writers these days, we get all our work from the internet. It’s an easy enough way to get by, but the best way to do your best work as a writer is to keep your client base growing, and the best way to keep your client base growing is to get out there, join the community, and do some in-person networking. So how does Albuquerque stack up as a city for writers?
Writing for a Living in Albuquerque
The average base pay for a writer in Albuquerque is fourteen percent below the state average at $46,072 a year, according to Glassdoor. That doesn’t sound like such a hot deal at first, but Albuquerque real estate is proportionately lower in price than the national average, and it’s not hard to live very well in the forty thousand dollar range in Albuquerque. You will find that the writing market in Albuquerque is considerably less competitive than in Los Angeles or New York City, so while there are fewer jobs to be found in the market overall, there are more to go around.
Content marketing managers make considerably more, at $66,227. There is a lot of overlap in the duties of a content writer and a content marketing manager, but the difference in pay reflects the extra workload you’ll have as a marketing manager.
If you’ve been at the game for a while, then we don’t need to tell you that there are slow seasons and transitional periods where it feels like the whole industry is collapsing, but the sky isn’t falling, the terrain just changes on a regular basis, and content writing remains one of the most steadily growing fields. We saw industry growth of 33% between 2017 and 2018, and we’re looking at another 8.9% over the next five, ten years. The internet is mostly just words, after all, and someone has to write them down.
Glassdoor and Indeed.com are great places to find writing work, but if you live in the city, your best option is to take advantage of the writing and business communities here. Network, build your contacts list, and hunt out your own clients and employers. We recommend Linchpin by Seth Godin and Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind if you’re new to networking.
Academia in Albuquerque
Albuquerque has a strong academic presence owing to the University of New Mexico – Main Campus. A large public university offering six degree programs in creative writing, UNM is a cornerstone of the writing scene in Albuquerque. Whether you want to hone your craft with advanced courses, teach, or make new contacts, UNM is worth a visit.
Writing Meet-ups in Albuquerque
The most popular writing meet-up in the city would have to be the Albuquerque branch of the international Shut Up & Write group. A fun, casual writer’s hangout with almost three hundred registered members. You can find them in coffee shops around Albuquerque every first and third Sunday of the month, around three in the afternoon. Write, chill and chat.
Upcoming Conferences and Events for Albuquerque Writers to Check Out in 2019
- Albuquerque Museum Author’s Festival. November 8, 2019. A one day event held at the Albuquerque Museum, the Author’s Festival features panel events, workshops, and contests open to published and unpublished authors alike in every category. This will be the fourth year of the event,
- Southwest Writers/Military Writers Society of America Joint Writing Conference. September 12 through September 15, 2019. A four day event co-hosted by SWW and the MWSA. The conference will be held at the Hotel Albuquerque and serves as a gathering of writers of all experience levels, allowing amateurs to learn from professionals and rookies to learn from seasoned pros. The MWSA is an association comprised of creatives with military backgrounds, poets, artists and writers who bring authentic experience in the armed forces to their work.
- 15th Annual Writers Conference. April 13, 2019. Hosted by UNM Continuing Education, the Annual Writers Conference is in its fifteenth year, and hosts agents and editors from New York, as well as local and visiting authors and teachers. This is very much a business-oriented conference, tracking trends and market patterns in everything from poetry to non-fiction. A great place to meet business contacts and learn what’s going on in the world of publishing right now.
Writing Workshops and Classes in Albuquerque
There are two places to go for workshops and classes in Albuquerque: UNM, and SWW. Here’s what you need to know about each of them:
- University of New Mexico classes and workshops. UNM hosts a number of classes covering every area of writing. Classes like Opening Up: Writing for Healing (April 16) are recommended for people who are still working to find their voice. For professionals, Writing for Magazines (April 3) and Writing and Publishing (online) will cover essential building blocks for your career.
- SouthWest Writers classes and workshops. SouthWest Writers hosts dozens of classes and workshops throughout the year oriented around personal and career-oriented writing. If you write for a living, essential classes and shops include Preparing for a Writers Conference (March 2), which covers the art of pitching, Finding Online Work (April 6), and Writing for Magazines: Bagging Your First Assignment (April 13 to 20), an extensive two-week course focused on getting you your first high-profile byline.
Albuquerque’s Best Writer Hangouts
Maybe you do most of your writing in the comfort of your own home, but we’re willing to bet that you could use a change of scenery now and then. Here are a few cozy, relaxed places to hang out when you need to get away from your desk:
What really makes for a great writing spot is that it feels like a home away from home. These locations are a great starting point, but the more time you spend in ABQ, the more you’ll gravitate towards your own favorite diners, restaurants, bookstores and parks.
Sometimes you just need to be around the right people to do your best work. Here are some of our favorite writing communities in Albuquerque:
- ABQ Community Writing Center. Free, friendly and welcoming of every kind of writer. Whether you’re here writing an academic paper, creative work or trying to hit your deadline, the ABQ CWC is as open and inviting a writing community as any.
- Albuquerque Creatives. Hosting writing challenges and events, Albuquerque Creatives is a great group to join up with if you want to meet like-minded writers and artists in the city.
- Albuquerque Writers’ Workshop. The ABQ Writers’ Workshop has a narrow, specific focus: Contemporary literary fiction. If you’re writing professionally, then that might or might not be of much use to you. But if you need some support while you write the next Great American Novel, they’re worth a signup.
Supposing that you’re a professional writer, this is probably the part that you clicked for. The best way to find work in any city is to keep your ear to the ground. Make business friends. Keep up with people you meet at conferences and workshops. You can start by getting in touch with the ABQ Journal to see if they need some more beat reporters, or arranging a meeting with marketing groups like Duke City, there are always more tweets and blog posts to be produced.
In many cities there will be one or two major industries that are hiring. LA is an entertainment town, Boston is really into marketing, New York City has the literary and magazine scene. In Albuquerque, it’s a little more disparate, and if you haven’t selected a specialty, you might need to shop around to figure out where you fit in. In the meantime, we suggest…
One of the best ways to keep work coming in: Sign up for a content platform. Here are a few suggestions:
- Constant Content. We love this place because you can set your own prices and sell your own work. What we don’t like so much: It’s not exactly contract work but a direct market, and you might wind up writing articles for clients who forget they requested it in the first place. But when your article finally sells, it’s like finding extra cash in your pocket.
- Skyword. A collaborative content marketing platform that names IBM and Anthem among its clientele. Not a bad place to land a few gigs.
- Writer Access. Based in Boston, Writer Access serves more than 25,000 customers with 15,000+ writers, content strategists, translators and editors. If you have some writing skills, APPLY NOW, and you’ve got a good shot at connecting with clients looking for exactly what you have to offer. Clients are vetted and verified, this is work you can count on. It’s always a good idea to keep looking for more clients, but Writer Access provides thousands of writes with a steady flow of work to keep them busy no matter how many bites you’re getting through your networking efforts.
Come to Sunny Albuquerque!
New Mexico has a long, rich literary history, being home to the likes of Georgia O’Keefe and Cormac McCarthy. Low real estate prices, endless natural terrain and a unique culture make Albuquerque and the surrounding area one of the greatest places to be for anyone who has a passion for writing.
Albuquerque-based Gilbert S is a professional writer with over a decade of experience writing everything from research papers and catalog descriptions to tech magazine articles and music reviews.