Top 20 Tips for Freelance Writers
August 7, 2018
Looking for a new adventure? Perhaps you’re sick of your day job? Do you dream of working from home in your pyjamas while binge watching Netflix all day? Maybe you have a small family and you’re looking for a way of bringing in an income while making the most of each precious moment. You may already write – a journal, a blog, a book – and now you wish to turn your hobby into a career.
Freelance writers come from all corners of the earth, each with their own drive and passion. We are all different, but there are a few universal tips that each of us would have or did benefit from when starting. Today, we’re going to share these 20 tips that would have been useful to us as brand new freelance writers!
- Start writing everything and anything and start today. Write with freedom about any topics you want because once the client list begins piling up you won’t have as much time to air your personal voice or thoughts. The other benefit is to help increase the speed of your typing, encourage the flow of ideas and to hone your craft.
- Network with fellow freelancers. Working as a freelancer can be isolating, especially when working solely from home. Get involved with local entrepreneur groups, follow freelance accounts on social media, listen and contribute. Networking is great for generating connections that can be valuable when work dries up.
- You must schedule in time to go outside. Many freelance writers will spend hours sitting at their desk or on the bed with a laptop on their legs. Either way, movement is minimal, and this is not good news for you or your craft. Get up and get out at least once a day and aim for those 10’000 steps.
- Freelancing does give you a certain amount of freedom regarding how you spend your days, but deadlines must be met. Have a calendar, both on and offline and spend the start of each week planning how you will spend each day. My personal tip is to work at least two weeks in advance when possible. Staying ahead will be beneficial for those times when you’re ill, you have visitors, a new video game comes out or when you hit a creative block.
- Schedule in the down time, don’t leave it to chance else it will get pushed back.
- Don’t kill yourself for low paying jobs and rude clients. There are plenty of opportunities awaiting you, don’t sell yourself short.
- Spend time perfecting proposals and learn to sell yourself. Have belief in your abilities and skills and trust that you are worth their investment.
- Don’t take things personally. Develop a hard skin and be prepared for some negative feedback. Most clients will politely indicate where changes are required while others may seem a little harsh. You will quickly discover the types of clients you are happy to work with and those you don’t.
- Read up on search engine optimisation and understand how a few simple techniques can help encourage more readers to discover the content you’re writing.
- Don’t let SEO control your content. SEO is beneficial but never but optimisation above the reader, if your content isn’t readable it won’t do well in the search engines.
- Listen to your client, read every email carefully and take notes during meetings. Don’t be afraid to ask for more detail or clarification if you’re unsure of any points. Ensure you understand everything before starting the brief to help avoid any problems later down the line.
- Leave time between writing and editing. It’s beneficial to come back to your article with a fresh pair of eyes. Write the article and head out for some fresh air or return to the piece the next day with a cup of coffee in hand.
- Continue writing for yourself when you get the chance. Stay in love with your craft.
- Keep reading and looking for inspiration from others. Browse websites, find writers you love and connect with them on social media.
- Protect yourself with a contract for each new client and be prepared to read and sign multiple NDA agreements.
- Be prepared to research and write a few topics that may bore the life out of you. Sometimes you may have to take the work to pay the bills. Look on the bright side, you will be learning plenty of additional information on things you would have never imagined!
- Discover the topic you enjoy the most and work hard on becoming an expert in that field. This is a wonderful way of avoiding problems caused by tip 14!
- Don’t apply for everything, pick and choose. Select the most fitting jobs and focus on them. It’s very easy to stretch yourself too thin and burn out too quickly.
- You deserve holidays and weekends! Freelancers often forget this in the first year or two.
- There’s no reason to wait, just get started.
Ready, set, go!
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Lynette is a freelance writer and blogger; her days are spent working from her home office with no commute to ruin the flow. Lynette enjoys the writing and playing video games for a living, life doesn’t get much better!