In the world of freelance writing, many would argue that one of the most crucial parts of the process is the very beginning – the very first draft. This is the part where you put your thoughts on paper and try to make them into actual words, using a dictionary as a guide. After you have finished your first draft, you go back and edit it, eliminating the spelling errors, fixing the style and generally trying to make it better. But even after you have finished all the editing and proofreading, you should learn from your mistakes and go back and read what you have written with a fresh set of eyes.
What you learn from your mistakes will greatly depend on you. You can choose to be a perfectionist and want to fix every bit of your writing – you will probably end up hating what you have written and throwing away the work without having learned a thing. Or, you can embrace what you wrote as it is and use what you have learned to make something even better. In order to do this, you will need to be open to new ideas and perspectives, looking at things from a different angle. You will also need to take your time, working at your own pace, and be the type of person who can honestly evaluate their own work, before coming to a final and satisfactory conclusion. This is not an easy task, and it certainly cannot be done by everyone. But if you are determined to learn something from every mistake you make as a writer, these are the steps you should follow to become the best you can be.
Embrace The Chaos
In the beginning, when you are just starting out as a freelance writer, it can be a pretty chaotic experience. You will be working hard to achieve the most from a very low number of clients, trying to meet the tightest deadlines while also producing the highest quality work possible. This is where you make your biggest mistakes as a writer. You will need to learn to embrace this chaos, to be comfortable with a lot of uncertainty and lack of control. When you come from a family of writers (a.k.a. fiction writers), this feature may seem pretty natural to you; but, for the rest of us, it can be difficult to truly understand what it means to embrace chaos. In the freelance world, deadlines are extremely tight and, quite often, unpredictable. You will learn to be comfortable with this chaos and to really value each and every one of your clients, no matter how big or how small they may be. This is going to make you a better writer, and it is going to make you understand your work and the people who will be reading it better.
Diversify Your Incomestream
Being a freelance writer does not automatically mean that you will be making a lot of money. In fact, the opposite is usually the case. This is something that you will have to learn to live with, as a freelance writer, but it is an important lesson to learn. When you first start out as a freelancer, you may struggle to make a living, and you will certainly be trying to find paying work. But even when you do find work, it may not be enough to cover your basic expenses. For this reason, you will need to learn to be creative in how you make your money, turning your writing talent into something else that you can sell. Look for freelancing jobs in your area of expertise, but do not be afraid to try out new things as well. Some of the best advice that any freelance writer can give you is to diversify your incomestream, to make sure that you are capable of covering your expenses, and to make sure that you do not depend on just a single client for your income. When you write for different brands and companies, you will soon discover that there is always someone who needs help and who is willing to pay for such services.
Find Your Niche
Once you have been writing for a while and have had some experience under your belt, you will be able to identify what kind of writing you like doing the most. Your first instinct may be to try and write something for as many different companies and publications as possible, in the hope that you will be able to make a living wage from your writing. But this is the wrong approach – you will actually make yourself much more money if you specialize in a small number of topics and only write for the most prestigious and well-known companies and publications in your area of expertise. When you write for specific brands and companies, you will learn their writing styles, what kinds of words they prefer to use and how they want their articles to be structured. You will also learn a lot about what is important to them and what is not, which will make you a better writer, overall. So, find your niche and stick to it, honing your skills and perfecting your approach, until you become one of the best in your industry. When you do, you will have the opportunity to write for some truly amazing brands, which will put your work into the limelight and make you quite wealthy indeed.
Know When To Be Persuasive And Know When To Be Empathetic
Being able to write persuasively is a vital skill for anyone who wants to get anything done in life. However, understanding when to be persuasive and when to be empathetic is something that most people, even those who consider themselves to be quite intelligent, find difficult. When you have written a compelling article, presented it to some influential people in your industry, and seen your suggestions and ideas put into practice, you will start to become more confident and, ultimately, better at persuading others to agree with you. But until then, you may want to take some time off, and then you can come back and try again. When you write for different companies and hireives, you will find that your approaches and styles will change – sometimes significantly. Some companies will want you to be quite persuasive, while others will want you to be more empathetic. You will need to learn to be flexible and switch gears, when necessary. So, know when to be persuasive, but also know when to be empathetic, if this is what your client wants and needs.
Ask For Feedback
If you want to improve your writing and are looking for suggestions, you should not be shy about asking for feedback. When you write for different companies and hireives, you will learn about different styles and approaches, and you will start to see things from a different angle. While this may be valuable information in and of itself, it may also be difficult to evaluate, without sounding too much like a “yes man”. Instead, you can always say that you want to improve your writing and ask for suggestions on what to focus on, in order to achieve this. You can also ask for specific examples of what they think you should work on and, most importantly, you can ask for constructive criticism, which will make you see your mistakes clearly and be able to fix them. When you do, you will be able to write better articles, overall, and impress your peers and impress the people who reading your work.
Take Your Time
When you write for different companies and hireives, you will notice that the turnaround time for your work can vary. Sometimes, you will need to produce something in a very short amount of time, and this is usually due to an internal deadline that has been set. Other times, it may simply be because no one is paying attention to your article and someone else has to take the time to read it and decide whether or not to use it. This is why you should take your time and work at your own pace, whenever possible. When you have submitted an article to a magazine and it has been accepted, you will probably be emailed a draft, with changes that the magazine wants to make. You do not need to rush and agree to all of these, because, in the end, it is your work and you can do what you want with it. But you should at least be willing to discuss these changes, in an effort to make your article even better. When you do this, you will learn a lot about your work and the magazine will appreciate your input, even if they do not end up using everything that you suggest – sometimes, this is the nature of the freelance writing business and it is important not to take it personally. Sometimes, you will work on an article for weeks or months and finally send it in, only to have it rejected again – sometimes, this can simply mean that the topic is not trendy or fashionable enough for the audience that the magazine is trying to cater to (or maybe they have ran out of space in the publication). But it does not mean that your article is bad or that you are a bad writer, quite the opposite – it usually just means that there is not enough time to publish the article you have written, due to other deadlines elsewhere. So, take your time and work at your own pace, whenever possible – you will be thankful later, when you are able to look back and appreciate all of the writing that you have done.