Embarking on your journey as a professional freelance writer may seem daunting. But once you have started on this path, you will find yourself basking in the freedom that the job offers. From choosing what projects you want to tackle to working according to your own schedule, the freelance industry offers liberties that a traditional nine-to-five job does not.
As a new freelance writer, you should be able to adapt to any writing style required of you. The demand for written content ranges from creative pieces to technical texts for instruction manuals. As you delve deeper into your career, you will develop a better understanding of your strengths and interests as a writer, which will allow you to carve out a niche for yourself.
It is also important to sharpen your technical grasp of writing beyond fundamental grammar rules. Learn how to apply the rules in creative ways so that your work remains fresh yet easily digestible for readers.
Finally, remain receptive to and welcoming of feedback from editors and readers. This will help you work on your weak spots and grow your abilities as a holistic writer.
While the above are some general rules you should follow, here are 18 more writing tips from seasoned writers that will help you kickstart a fruitful career in freelance writing.
|Freelance writing tips||
Build a routine
Fortunately, writing is an activity that you can do anytime and anywhere. This opens up the opportunity for you to sharpen your skills using the simplest activities. Here are some useful habits that can help you grow as a freelance writer.
1. Read profusely
Every day is another chance for you to gain inspiration and hone your writing skills. As many attest to, the simplest but most effective way to become a writer is to be a voracious reader. Expose yourself to everything from novels to manuals. Familiarize yourself with the broad range of writing and narration techniques. As you read, note down your observations and apply these lessons in your own work.
2. Scribble daily
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. One way to hone your skills as a writer is to engage in daily writing exercises. This can be as simple as keeping a diary in which you record down snippets of your day. If you want something a bit more directed, you can refer to the variety of writing prompts on the internet or in writing books.
3. Record ideas
Great ideas can strike at any time but disappear just as quickly. Whenever you get a stroke of inspiration, write them down somewhere immediately, no matter how mundane or inane they may sound at the moment. Don’t procrastinate jotting down your ideas; whether it is a story angle or a clever line, you never know if you might need them in your next writing project.
Do the prep work
Writing is like cooking. You have to do the necessary preparation, from finding the right recipe to assembling the best ingredients. With the appropriate prep work done, your freelance writing journey will be a lot smoother.
4. Research the topic
Accuracy is a hallmark of good writing. You need to spend time thoroughly researching your topic; sometimes, you might even need to speak with experts. This is especially critical when you are creating a thorough and informative technical piece for target audiences who are already professionals in the field, such as a B2B whitepaper.
5. Set writing objectives
Before you start writing, be very clear on the goals your piece has to achieve. Marketing content, for example, aims to raise awareness or even prompt readers to take action, such as make a purchase. Some clients may even set out certain SEO targets that you have to keep in mind when crafting your piece.
6. Adjust the angle
A story has many angles, and it is your task as a writer to explore all possible angles before settling on the most suitable one. A good angle highlights the strongest or most appealing part of a topic or idea, allowing it to capture audience interest, and also achieves the marketing objectives requested by a client.
Ink on paper
With all your materials on hand, it is now time to put words onto paper (or screen). Writing calls for a delicate balance between creative and technical language skills, to ultimately produce work that immerses readers.
7. Keep it short
Clarity is key in ensuring that readers are on the same page as you. The best way to make sure that readers understand you is by writing short, direct sentences. Of course, this again depends on the assignment; a more literary article that calls for flowery language would require a bit more personal voice. But, as a general rule of thumb, short sentences are not only easier to write and edit, they are also much easier for your audience to digest.
8. Active voice is best
Besides being short, sentences are best when kept active by utilizing the “subject-verb-object” structure. The active voice allows you to make your meaning clear, which in turn enhances reader comprehension.
9. Say it once
Focus each paragraph on one idea. The first line will state the idea or main point, and the rest of the paragraph provides additional explanation, information, or details that support the primary idea. Do not repeat the same idea or details in multiple paragraphs as this creates redundancy.
10. Avoid adverbs
Adverbs describe how the subject carries out an action. For example, “slowly” in the sentence “He walked slowly to the door”. Sometimes, adverbs add unnecessary details to sentences that are not pertinent for readers. Instead, replace adverbs with more accurate verbs that describe the manner in which an action is performed. For example, you can write “He shuffled to the door” instead to convey the same meaning.
Time to edit
Editing can easily be the most nerve-wracking part of writing because you need to chop off sentences or even entire paragraphs that do not make sense. Yet, good editing will polish your writing and make your ideas much clearer.
11. Breathe in
Take a break after you have finished your writing so that you can edit with fresh eyes. It might be useful to ask someone else to read and comment on your piece; if you have no one to ask, read your writing out loud to get a better sense of how your sentences sound.
12. Read aloud
If your ideas or sentences sound awkward when you read them out loud, they most likely need a rework. Reciting your writing, even if only to yourself, gives you a better idea of how readers might perceive your content.
13. Call A friend
Alternatively, you can ask a third-party without prior knowledge of the assignment to read your writing. A good piece of writing will always allow its reader to get the gist of it, even if the reader themselves is neither knowledgeable about nor interested in the topic.
As a freelance writer, you must confidently market yourself to attract future clients. Remember, you are your own manager.
14. Share on social media
If the client permits, share your published work on your portfolio or even your social media, so that more people become aware of your skills. Get your clients to vouch for your capabilities by leaving a positive review; for example, by leaving a recommendation on your Linkedin profile page.
15. Vary the format
When you share your writing on various platforms, do reformat your content to fit the medium. For example, besides sharing the link to your blog article on Twitter, you can directly tweet a punchy sentence or two. Curious audiences might then find their own way to your article. For Instagram, add compelling images or use appealing fonts, keeping in mind that social media is nowadays a visually-driven medium.
16. Make some noise
Enable readers to share your articles by placing buttons and short links for social media. Encourage them to share your content, even if it is just one or two of their favorite lines. Having people share your work is great publicity for your ability as a writer.
17. Welcome discussion
Feedback from your readers will help you measure the strengths and weaknesses of your work. At first, receiving criticism will no doubt damage your ego, but if you keep an open mind and welcome readers’ input, you can pinpoint which areas you need to work on in your next project.
18. Join writer communities
Social media makes it easier for you to find other writers. Joining writer communities allows you to connect with people who share similar interests. Forming friendships with other writers will benefit you in many ways, from learning how to improve your writing to finding mentors that can help you further your career in the future.
Above all else, remember that grit, patience, and perseverance will help you weather out the storms. And if you need some extra help, there are a plethora of online tools that will assist you in compiling ideas, proofreading the text, or even sending invoices to your clients.
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