Becoming a freelance writer doesn’t happen overnight.
You have to put a lot of thought, research and hard work into it.
I haven’t figured it all out myself and am still learning something new every day but there are a few resources I know of that have been very helpful to me this past year that I have found and I thought I would share them with you.
In my last post “10 Things You Need to do When You Decide to Be a Freelance Writer” I wrote about the things you should do to get you to where you want to be as a writer more quickly. I had to learn the hard what not to do as a writer to get in my own way.
I want to share with you the tools I found to be the most helpful to me as a freelance writer.
Some of them I have just recently found and some I have been using for awhile.
- Pen and Paper
Yes! Dinosaur writing if you will. Without fail pen and paper have helped me more times than I can count. Even with my assignments and as a student I still use this to write down my work before I type it up and submit it to my instructor. It takes a little bit longer but the results are so much better in the end. I realized too that it cements your ideas in your mind when you physically put the pen to paper to write out what message you’re trying to share. It’s one on one. You, the pen, and the paper. A happy little simple trio but not the third wheel kind cause no one likes that. I even used it to write this post before I typed it up. (I will show you the proof in the pudding at the end) 🙂 There is less room for error and you know immediately if you need to change your wording around and makes it easy to simply scratch it out and start fresh. No backspacing, no playing around with lines and things getting all jumbled up or accidentally deleted, copied/pasted somewhere else somehow. I also like that during the transfer of your content from paper to typing it up in a document you get an extra layer of editing/proofreading before you decide on the final wording before submitting it.
I would recommend just a regular 3 or 5 subject notebook. Loose leaf paper travels too much and it can get messy very quickly. Also, you will always have past work at your fingertips should you need to quickly look it over at a later date.
One more thing I want to mention is that when you have to research and read a lot online sometimes its a nice little break for your eyes if you just write out your articles on paper instead of it being another hour or two or however long you need to write. It’s easier on your eyes.
2.If You Must Type First (or second) Either way You Should Have a Backup Editing/Proofreading Software.
I like to use Grammarly as I write to make sure I am not missing any grammar mistakes I may be making. I am not perfect and don’t assume that my writing is either even if I am being careful. I usually use my student Office 365 I got when I started college two years ago. It’s great. That is where I use my Grammarly plugin for Chrome which is really nice to have because when I type up anything (email,post,assignment, papers) its always there to back up my work without me even having to think about it and it makes it that much easier and quicker to get my all my writing in on time. If will even work on all your social media posts and comments too automatically. No more spelling mistakes, especially the embarrassing kind. 😦 You can click one of my links below if you’re interested in signing up with Grammarly.
This post was proofread by Grammarly
3.Get Some Kind of Organizer or Scheduler (Offline)
Yes, offline. I know here we go with the dinosaur stuff again. You can have electronic ones as well I just like to use this option as another backup.I used to always try to use my devices for this but they always failed me. I am not the greatest at keeping my devices charged and so when it came time for my alarms to go off I would miss them because I would either turn my sound down too low (for the kids to nap or sleep) or they just would be dead (also because I had mommy brain from the kids) of course there is always setback three where your phone/ computer/device just doesn’t alert you for whatever reason it decides not to. So this is my personal reasoning for not only using my devices as a reminder and why I like to do my scheduling on paper as well. If you don’t like handwritten notes or schedules you can also use printables too. There are so many free scheduling printables out there and they are all just a google search away. There are some that are even specifically just for bloggers, writers, editors/proofreaders etc. Just depends on what you need one for. I’m a list person. I make to-do lists and just check them off as I go.
4.Join A Group That Supports Your Type Of Writing
What type of writing do you do or will you do (if you haven’t started yet)?
Networking with other like-minded writers in your field or “niche” will help you out A LOT in the long run. Sometimes it just helps to bounce your ideas off of other writers in your same field to see what feedback they may have to give you. So before you put all that time and effort into your writing you may want to see if it’s a good topic or idea to go with in the first place. Don’t waste your time on writing something that no one is going to want to read or is not going to benefit them in some way. It’s not worth your precious time and it will hurt your reputation as a writer if you submit a bad piece to a client. So make sure before you write that next article or post that you are thinking first about what is valuable in what you’re saying and who is going to be reading it or who will want to read it.
5. Know Where to Share Your Content!
Sharing your content as a freelance writer is probably going to be the most important part of getting your writing career off the ground. If you don’t share it no one will see it and if no one sees it no one is going to read it and then what’s the point of it all really? I like to use WordPress for this very reason. It does the sharing for you. Which is great because I will definitely take all the help I can get with the sharing of my posts. Please share me. WordPress automatically will share every post you make to your social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr. That’s a pretty nice little setup for you without you having to do it individually for each post every single time. You simply connect your accounts to your posts one time and your set. Nothing more for you to do after that. Every time you publish something it’s automatically shared. If you happen to have clients that you write for and they let you share your content it’s always nice to have a writing/portfolio site to self-publish on and also to share what you have written for that client as well. (This is also a way to show off your work before you get that paying client in the beginning too.) Usually with a writing website that you write for they will let you share what you have written yourself as long as you use the website link to do so. If you have signed an agreement with that site and give up all rights to your work you can get in a lot of trouble if you post that content elsewhere without linking back to them even though you did write it.
6.Use Good Small Business Accounting Software
Once you start getting paying clients who pay by the hour for your writing services you are going to want to be able to “punch into work” so to speak. Show what you have been doing while working. Planning, researching, writing, proofreading, and editing all take time and showing a breakdown of this time shows to your client that you take your writing and your business seriously. Freshbooks is a good resource to use for this. Freshbooks allows you to invoice your work to your client with a simple email. You can get a free 30-day trial to start with (they don’t even ask for a credit card at sign up) so this is a great option to use if your just beginning and want to try out an accounting software tool before you commit to using it every month. I like it so far. If you would like to sign for a 30 day trial with fresh books you can click on the link below.
7. Make Sure You Are Offering Your Writing Services To Those Who Need Them
People (clients) are always looking for good writers to write for them but if you’re not actively looking for them they aren’t just going to find you because you wrote a masterpiece. This sort of goes along with sharing your content but it’s also a good idea to share around that you are looking for clients to work with on all platforms. Social media channels and Fiverr is a good place to start too. Your blog is a good place to put a graphic on your sidebar with something like “I will write for you” Or “I offer writing services” but you will still need to make sure you’re putting this elsewhere (other sites) too especially in the beginning.
8.Make Sure Your Headshot Works For You!
“A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words”
Headshots can be professional looking or trashy looking, or somewhere in between. Depending on the type of writing you plan on doing should determine how professional your headshot looks. If you want to be taken seriously then you need to make sure your picture reflects that. Imagine if you went to a job interview in your pajamas? Doesn’t sound like a great idea I’m sure. It should not be any different when “meeting” with a client that you plan on writing for and working with. If you don’t take your appearance seriously then a client may not take you seriously. This is the only thing they have to evaluate you with, that and your writing. You want them both to be as professional as possible or they may just move on to the next writer.
9. Find and Look Through Freelance Writing Job Boards
Finding some good freelance writing job boards is a great resource to use as a beginning freelance writer and even an experienced freelance writer. ProBlogger Job Board is probably one of the most popular ones there are out there but doing a little digging will find you what you are looking for depending on the type of writing you are planning on doing. You just have to search around a little bit.
10. And last but not least… invest in a laptop if you don’t already have one
Because as a freelance writer you are going to be writing A LOT and it can get boring and frustrating even sitting in the same spot every day researching and writing/editing everything you have to type up. Being able to move around sometimes really helps clear your mind and write better. This is just another resource that is helpful to have when your thinking of freelance writing as a career.
That’s It! Those are my resources and tips for a beginner freelance writer. Hopefully, it helped you. Let me know what you think. 🙂