They say you can't find work as a writer, but that isn't entirely true. What's hard to do is get paid to do your own writing. There are lots of people out there who are willing to pay you to put their words on paper.
Most of my searching is done via Craigslist. Here is a small sample of the sorts of things I'll find on the "SF Bay Area Writing/Editing Job Classifieds":
Wed Feb 18
Copywriter for Benefit Cosmetics! - (financial district)
Writer for online course development - (santa cruz)
Tue Feb 17
enterprise software marketing - freelance - (SOMA / south beach)
Mon Feb 16
Seeking Freelance Technical Abstractor - (berkeley)
Instructional Designer Role-Play/Simulations (Ad Agency background) - (Cupertino)
The "Instructional Designer Role-Play/Simulations" one is a lot less interesting than it sounds. I don't think I applied for that one.
Of the jobs listed on a given day, I will find between zero and three or so jobs that I think I could do and stand a chance of getting. I'll fire off a salvo of emailed cover letters and attached resumes, make a note of the applications on my nifty organizational spreadsheet (a gift from the Abigail's father) and decide when to follow up with a phone call (if they were kind enough to supply a number) or a second email (much more likely), and that's it. Then, I throw myself into the "Education/Teachers Job Classifieds" and the "Marketing/Advertising/PR Jobs Classified." Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Of course, does anyone really get a job from Craigslist these days? Really?
So, I hedge my bets with conversations. They aren't really conversations, though. What they are is interviews. These aren't the kinds of interviews that get you jobs, though, at least not directly. They are what we call "informational interviews,"an hour to an hour and a half when one of the wise and lucky will agree to share their knowledge with the young, naive, and unemployed: me.
These are a lot more fun. I get to talk to exciting people about their wild and varied pasts. I get cool little hints, fun advice from the interesting and successful, and an excuse to buy myself a cup of coffee and a muffin at a fancy coffee house on Fillmore (if they're already friends of mine, sometimes the wise and lucky buy me lunch!). It's easy to have a good time with informational interviews. It's harder to avoid feeling down when they don't result in anything.
Of course, that's not all I do. I have wilder projects, things even less likely to result in a job than informational interviews, but much more fun.
For example, I blog. If I get a comment on this or another post offering me a job thanks to the sheer geeky brilliance of my prose, I'll take it. More rationally, I hope to build up a small tribe of fans, people who read my thoughts on writing, buy my fiction (when I'm published), and carry me on their shoulders towards success. Some writers have even managed book deals as a result of large online fandoms. Such coups are hard to manage, but they can happen, and if they can happen, they can happen to me.
Similarly, I have a super secret project. There will be no more on that until it's ready to be unveiled.
Ultimately, we are in a depression. Finding work is hard, as a writer, a marketer, a teacher, or anything else, and we all stagger on as best we can. If you can find a way to make part of your search fun, do it.
That's the best advice I can offer, and I'm open to any advice anyone else might have.