Writing is an essential job skill. Businesses nowadays require writers in a variety of capacities, which has expanded the freelance writing field. If you are interested in working as a freelance writer, it’s time to begin setting your rates, marketing your services and managing your projects.
Writing pushes you to extend a line of thought beyond your first impression or gut response. Many enjoy writing and think they could make a career of it, but some burn out in the process. Getting in the rhythm of writing is a lot of work. Writing requires passion and a degree of seriousness.
This article will help you find a market for your writing, teach you how to take your initial idea to a first draft and through the editing and rewriting process, and provide you with pointers on how to improve your writing in general.
Writing enables us to share our thoughts and ideas with others, evaluate situations, challenge the truth, answer questions and understand subjects deeply. Writing down our thoughts refines them, allowing us to provide others with useful feedback. The ability to write and communicate well enables us to influence people and society. Writing systematizes and orders knowledge.
Writing skills are essential to achieving career and business goals. Writing is vital in all of the following fields:
Academic writing requires critical thinking skills: you must decide whether sources are credible and relevant to your topic. Determine what examples and facts will be the most meaningful to readers, and develop your research into a coherent, solid argument.
When applying for a job, your language should be mature, objective and intelligent. Impressive credentials and unique content presented in elegantly and systematically will make a favorable impression on the recruiter.
It’s the age of the Internet. The masses are browsing online job websites and social networks, and most of these people have a good head on their shoulders. To beat the competition, a writer should possess above-average writing skills in combination with a credible and relevant style.
Business is conducted not only verbally: project proposals need to be made, too. The content of documents should be clear, concise and lucid. Poor writing skills will transmit the wrong message and elicit a negative response from clients.
Scientific and technological breakthroughs are published in journals and white papers. Scientific concepts should be communicated in effective and sophisticated language; otherwise, the reputation of the organization or individual will diminish.
All activities in the government sector require filling out forms and writing applications. One must be able to write accurately and lucidly.
Important international agreements such as treaties, trade agreements and alliances require superior writing skills. Critical points must be related in a clear style so as to avoid misunderstandings.
Generally, writing standards have declined. Activities like watching television, emailing, instant messaging and texting have replaced the habit of reading and writing. Call centers have grown, indicating the importance allotted to oral communication. Mobile Internet access means that we are communicating with each other more than ever before, but the quality of this communication is questionable. Increasingly, we use acronyms in our emails and instant messages. We need to reform educational systems in order to counter these negative trends.
Anyone with enough motivation and commitment can become a freelance writer. Do you want the freedom to earn to your potential, the liberty to work from home and control how you spend your time? If so, freelance writing may be your best career choice.
The desire to communicate, the drive to excel and a love of writing will help you on your way to being a successful writer. Freelancing is a great way to work on your own time, without the shadow of a boss. Writing is a talent. Some people are naturally better at it than others, but anyone can learn to write and communicate effectively. Writing is a skill that can be developed through training and practice.
Freelance writing is not for everybody, but if you can write in clear, solid English, it is likely you can make money as a freelance writer.
Freelancing is an exciting and independent career path. A solid grasp of design, development and entrepreneurship is required. Freelancers are also entrepreneurs. Many freelancers fail not because they lack talent or skill, but because they don’t know how to run a business. You’ll need to be able to manage resources (financial and human), market yourself, write copy, plan and organize. As a freelance writer, confidence is an absolute necessity.
To succeed as a freelance writer, your work should be clear and concise. Concision means that every word counts. Write simple and direct sentences, and avoid showy, jargon-filled sentences. Don’t get caught in a web of words. Write naturally and directly. Writers need to be able to communicate their ideas to readers; when you explain something, your point should be clear the first time around or else the reader will get lost.
Some guidelines to remember:
Narrowing your focus is a fundamental marketing principle. There are many topics and genres, so which to choose? Carving out the right niche is one of the best ways to become a profitable freelance writer. Instead of trying to cater to every possible client, focus on a package of services that caters to a narrow target market. As a specialist, you will be able to charge more than a writer who writes anything for anyone.
As you delve into your niche, your expertise will become recognized. Expertise brings more value to readers and creates long-lasting relationships with clients. Good writers interact effectively with their audience, and it’s more rewarding to interact with an audience that you know. Choose what corner of the writing sky you would like to occupy!
So, how to choose a niche? Explore the industries and topics that interest you. This is important! If you are completely bored with a topic, staying motivated will be difficult. When discovering your niche, focus on your:
Now that you’ve identified a few options, check out the market for your niche and your competition. If a market is saturated, success will require a lot of hard work and marketing. Try to go for something that’s not so saturated.
Here’s a few things to consider when looking for a niche:
Choosing a niche simply helps you market your business more effectively. It helps you position your services and profit from them. A writing niche doesn’t limit your business—it elevates it.
Writers are inspired by their outlook on life and field of interest. Any event, experience, fact or piece of information can be inspiration, with the potential to be cultivated into a story, article or book. What’s keeping you? Awaken your weary soul and let the inspirational breeze flow.
Whether you are at work, at home or taking a vacation, be on the lookout for inspiration. Great ideas come when you are at leisure. Breaks in routine charge you with new ideas.
Inspiration needs no fixed agenda. Flip through a magazine or newspaper and see what comes. Go through your favorite books: when a person is immersed in familiar material, they may be able to think better. Music is a great inspiration. Listen to music to calm yourself: this increases your efficiency several fold. You’ll be able to put all your energy into one thing. Nurture a thirst for fresh ideas in everything you do and they will come.
These pointers will help get those juices flowing:
Now let’s talk about the art of writing. Like most things, the more you write, the better you’ll get. Through experience, you will develop a process that suits you. The stages include: prewriting, writing, revising, editing and publishing. Let’s explore these in depth.
A good writer never jumps straight into writing without creating an outline. Identify your audience, and then gather your thoughts. Prewriting is your opportunity to plan, and it includes everything you do before starting the rough draft. In fewer words, prewriting means coming up with an idea!
When you’re done thinking, add flesh to the bones of your idea through the following:
Once you’ve done one or both of these, it’s time to plan and structure your writing piece. During your free writing and brainstorming, you had many thoughts. Decide which of them belong to this piece of writing and which can be kept for another time. Order the ideas in a logical progression.
This is the time to compose your rough draft. Sit down with your plan and start writing. When writing a first draft, word count, grammar, spelling and punctuation don’t matter. Don’t worry if you’ve gone off topic; just keep writing!
All writers must go on a journey with their rough draft until it is a final copy: even renowned authors write multiple drafts before they’re satisfied. This is a normal part of the writing process. Writing requires concentration and energy. Get focused!
Writers improve their first draft by revising it. After reading the draft and sharing it with others, they make changes based on the feedback. The changes could be big or small. You might remove sections, rewrite entire paragraphs or add missing information that the reader will need. The revision stage requires the following:
Copyediting is the process of correcting mechanical errors. It involves getting up close and personal with individual sentences and words. Editing should be done after you’ve made large-scale revisions, or else you could agonize over perfecting a sentence, only to cut it in the end. When editing, go through your piece line by line to ensure that each sentence, phrase and word is as strong as possible.
Some questions to ask while editing:
Publishing is the final stage of the writing process. Publishing the final piece can be achieved in a wide variety of ways and depends on what you’ve written. Check guidelines carefully, and make sure to follow them. Your piece may never be published. That’s okay. Nothing you write is wasted, because it all contributes to your growth as a writer.
Freelancers can’t take things as they come: they must scratch and claw. Put your best foot forward, and convey the image of a true professional in your field. Sometimes, though, we sabotage ourselves. Bad writing mistakes can be caught early if a conscious effort is made.
Breaking the occasional rule of grammar is fine in order to communicate effectively. But some mistakes will detract from your credibility. While we hope that what we’re saying is more important than some silly grammatical error, the truth is that some people will not consider your work if it contains errors. Silly mistakes will make them automatically rule out buying your work.
Here are some common errors:
Every freelance writer dreams of being an author. Being an author has its rewards, but they are not always monetary. You may be closer to authorship than you think. Never be satisfied, and keep pushing yourself to shoot for more. There will always be authors who are better known, more successful and better selling than you. So keep driving yourself to be the best.
Your formula for success could include writing to make a positive change in people’s lives, guiding and encouraging young authors or writing simply for the joy of it.
Here are some tips to become a happy and successful author.
Other authors are not the enemy. In fact, they often prove to be motivators and guides. Learn to work cooperatively, and you will benefit from incredibly valuable information that will allow you to thrive in the marketplace. When we don’t cooperate and we refuse to share market information with one another, publishers end up with all the power.
Your entire career depends on you and your ability to protect and renew your creativity, ideas and energy. You are the resource, the source, the supplier, the distributor, the factory, the product and the package. Nurture, enrich and expose yourself to new ideas and new ways of thinking, and treat yourself as a precious commodity.
Sketch out a business plan, even if it’s just a rough page of notes to yourself. Your business plan is a road map for the coming year: without it, heading out on a road trip is quite dangerous. Unexpected challenges are a part of any journey, but your map keeps you grounded.
Make it a policy to work only with people you genuinely like. Life is too short to work with divas and people who are unethical or just plain mean. Work with honest, trustworthy, reliable and ethical people.
Think of all the ways to work your niche. Expand your territory. Explore international markets. Get the maximum mileage out of your existing material. The sky’s the limit.
It’s what’s written in the contract that counts. Don’t sign the first version of a contract. Educate yourself about contract issues and copyright law. Work with writers and professional organizations to guarantee and protect your rights.
Sometimes trusting the experts is best. Don’t be afraid to pay for good advice when you need it. Don’t be an amateur lawyer or accountant: avoid any major career and financial mistakes that could cost you.
Make writing a significant part of your life. If you’re not writing but are totally in love with the written word, or if you are writing but falling into the trap of writing only to pay the bills, find ways to free up time to do the work that you love. Remember, you can’t work without passion.
Dare to define what it means to be a successful author on your own terms. Know when to be satisfied and when to push yourself to hunt for more. There will always be an author more famous, successful or salable than you. You can drive yourself crazy trying to be the “best” or trying to make it to the top of the bestsellers list.
Writing is an essential skill, not just in business but in life. Many resources for improving your writing skills are available online. Some require payment, and some are free.
While writing this article, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great writing tips and resources. Feel free to share it with us.