How important are writing skills to the career of a freelance writer? Naturally, since you earn a livelihood through your creativity it is important to be able to write coherently. But are writing skills the sole criterion to assess your success as a writer? Seasoned writers offer a list of additional skills you need to build to be successful in your career as a writer.
Deadlines are sacrosanct for writers and clients. Sticking to deadlines tells clients you take your work seriously. It also helps clients plan their next project accordingly. Punctual writers get paid more. Also, by following deadlines, you can finish your work on time and then move on to the next project, thus boosting your income. One way to ensure time-bound completion of assignments would be to start working as soon as you are assigned a project. Don’t waste time on non-essential things, and start planning how you will be finishing the assignment, as soon as you are assigned the project.
Because writers are inherently creative by nature, they tend to reach toward perfection. In the process, the lose track of time. When it comes to writing web content, speed is important. You don’t have to write perfect prose, but your ideas should be conveyed clearly. Since websites cater to a diverse range of visitors, clients would want that the content be written in a simple language but carry an engaging style. So you should be able to write fast. As you gain more experience as a writer, you would be able to finish your work faster.
Many writers don’t want to move outside their comfort zone. This leads to stagnation, whether as a creative person or in terms of career prospects. The key is to try your hand as many different types of writing as possible. Some writers long to write personal essays, the type glamorised by movies and biographies of famous writers. However, as a freelance writer, you cannot always have a choice. You might have to submit a few commonplace product reviews and articles to earn a living. You would need to write copy for websites devoted to ordinary businesses. These jobs don’t sound very glamorous, nothing like writing for lifestyle magazines and celebrity journals, but they have their rewards. They offer steady career prospects and they help you learn about different types of businesses, products, and facts. You also learn to look at things from a new perspective because a copy writer’s job is to put a shine to even ordinary things.
Approach clients sensibly
Handling clients is one of the key factors to succeeding as a freelance writer. You would need to not just pitch to new clients, but also maintain stable work relationships with existing and past clients.
Most established writers depend on repeat business from past clientele. So you have to be polite yet clear in your communications. Once you start earning a living through writing, you are not just a writer but also an established business.
Therefore, you have to think of clients as a lifeline for your business and handle them with tact. Relevant to this aspect is promoting your business.
You can send out newsletters through email to keep established clients in the loop and as a subtle reminder to turn to you for their new projects. You can also find new clients by promoting yourself online, or through magazines and newspapers.
Find new ideas
To be able to write good copy, you should be brimming with ideas. This means you should always be open to inspiration. Many writers find it worthwhile to carry a notebook and pen around with them to jot down new ideas.
If you are technologically adept, you can save ideas on your laptop or mobile device. New ideas should help you find your way in the competitive world of freelance writing, where only a fresh angle on the same old subject can get you heard.
Since you are running a business, you would need to maintain accounts. From costing to invoices, to taxes, everything needs to be taken care of. There are no accounts departments that you can find at regular workplaces.
Instead, you will need to store receipts, calculate taxes, plan for expenses, remind clients about pending payments, and undertake a lot of other activities to ensure that financial matters are taken care of.
Gone are the days when freelance writers could rely on pen and paper, snail mail, and typewriters to get their copy prepared and sent. The age of the internet has lead to instant connectivity and made life simpler for freelance writers.
On the other hand, this has also lead to the need to know more about current technology, whether computers or tablet phones, or printers, speakers, and cameras. You would need to keep updating your technical skills as technology advances.
While it is important for freelance writers to polish their writing skills, it is equally important to learn a few more skills in order to build and manage a successful career.