5 Skills Every Freelance Writer Needs
Freelance writing can be a tough way to make a living, but it is also very flexible and you to get work on a wide variety of projects. All writers know, that successful writers rely on skills to help them be successful. This isn't to say that you have to have skills before you become a writer, but skills are what will make your writing better and make freelancing easier. Freelance writing requires you to be a writer, a boss and a negiotater; so developing skills in these areas is essential to your success. Over the years that I have been freelance writing, I've developed my skills and have improved my writing and grown my clients.
Writing is an art form and each writer has a different process that they use to be creative, however all writers have some basic skills in common that help them to be successful competant writers.
When I rely on my skills I find writing easier; especially on days when I may lack inspiration or motivation. Staring at a blank screen with an equally blank mind, doesn't help you when deadlines are looming and bills are piling up, those pressures only make writing harder. While there are many skills that a freelance writer needs to be succusful, here I've listed 5 skills I've found to be very helpful to me.
Ability to Express Ideas
Freelance writers need to be able to write succintly and logically, especially as more often than not, they are expressing the ideas and concepts of other people. Writing logically is more involved than being able to string together pretty descriptive words. You have to be able to clearly describe ideas and concepts.The easiest way to learn how to write logically is to write directions for everyday tasks like making toast or tying your shoes. After you write the directions, read your directions aloud to a friend, who has been instructed to follow your directions verabatim to accomplish the task. The first time you do this, you will be surpirsied by 2 things: 1) how much you left out 2) how much specific information people need. Repeat this exercise until you can easily describe everyday activities and then start experimenting with explaining concepts and ideas.
Excellent Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation
Even though text and social media is creating a new way to shorthand written language; when you are paid to write content, your clients expect you to know and use the fundamentals of grammar, use proper spelling and punctuation. Maybe you are like me and flailed miserably in English class, how do you ensure your writing is grammatically correct? Easy; utilize spell and grammar check in your word processing apps, use online resouces like ratemypaper. As you make corrections, you will learn proper grammatical structure. Depending on the type of project you are working on you can even use an editor, but make sure you know what they corrected, so you can improve as a writer.
Give and Receive Feedback
Being able to take feedback from clients can be one of the most challenging parts of being a freelance writer, often times clients will say that they not only do they do not like your work but that they are not going to pay for your work. This type of situation will not only affect your wallet, it will also affect your confidence. As important as it is to take feedback: it is also vital to give feedback, from the beginning of interacting with any client. If a client does not want to outline projects, it is up to you to create an outline. Creating an outline, that your cient approves, allows you to create a draft, that your client will approve. If your client doesn't like the draft, you can remind the cient that they approved the outline, always ask clinets for specific feedback, so you can make revisions. You can also set boundaries in a job from the beginning; by clearly stating your total word count for the project and fees if you go over, as well as the number of revisions you are willing to do.
Work Independently with Little or No Supervision
When you freelance, you are your boss. When you take a job, a deadline of 6 weeks may seem like an eternity, until a week before your deadline when you actually start the project and realize you need way more time to research the topic or get in touch with people tin interview. My best advice it to 'show up' to your office daily: check emails, outline projects, work on drafts, line up interviews. There are always going to be 'special' times when this can't happen but if it is an everday occurance you are definitily going to be a starving artist. When you are working avoid common distarctions like surfing the internet, taking phone calls or doing errands or chores.
As a freelance writer you have to be able to promote yourself, if you won't promote yourself, who will? Your self promotion should be an honest assement of your skills, knowledge and abiliities. For instance: I am a subject matter expert in food, nutrition, fitness, health and wellness. I am skilled in writing: articles, tutorials, curriculums, ebooks, reports, recipes, menus, meal plans and blogs. I am able to back up my expertise with degrees and certifications and able to show my clients examples of my writing in my portfolio. I also do not assume that people think I am employed, I list my profession as a freelance writer and I constantlly seek out clients who may want to hire me.
I hope these skills help you, thanks for reading!