Most people think that given the time and the opportunity they could be a writer. How many of us have thought that we had a book in us just waiting to be discovered or have read an article in a newspaper or magazine and thought, ‘I could have written that better’? Having these thoughts is very different from the reality and working as a freelance writer and becoming successful takes dedication, effort and hard work. There are certain things you should be doing to make your freelance writing a successful career.
Work well with others and accept criticism
Whilst freelance writing is a mainly solitary profession, the writing you do will generally be for someone else who will need to check what you have done and ensure that it is suitable for the publication and audience. As a result, being able to work with an editor or other publishing professionals is a must, as is the ability to take criticism constructively and either do further work on your material or ensure that the comments are taken on board for the next piece of work.
Most freelance writers work from home and unless it is managed carefully, this can cause a conflict in the work/life balance, especially if you have children and are trying to fit in your writing around school runs and after school activities. It works best to treat freelance working as any other regular job, so get up, get dressed and then begin work as you would do if you were working in someone’s office. It is also a good idea to have an area set aside for work, which can be separated from the rest of the house.
Another potential time management issue is taking on too much work and then requiring extensions to deadlines. Ensure that you have the capacity to take on any work you agree to so you can deliver in a timely fashion.
Good quality material
Your material should be of good quality, free from errors and have been checked thoroughly before you send it to your client or publisher. Although they are bound to have their own checks in place they will not want to spend a long time correcting mistakes in copy that has been sent in as ‘final’.
Areas of expertise
Identify your areas of expertise and make sure that you keep up to date on those areas so you can speak knowledgeably through your writing to your target audience. The reader is more likely to enjoy your writing if you know your subject and will get much more from it.
There is no substitute for writing practice. Honing your skills in the English language including spelling and punctuation and writing ‘for fun’ will all help to improve your freelance writing skills. Perhaps you could begin work on that book you have always dreamed of writing and transfer the skills you use to your freelance writing.
So whatever the subject, the publication or whoever the target audience is, the skills you need as a freelancer writer are the same and if you take note of the tips outlined above, you will soon be writing your way to freelance success.
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