You’ve gone through the trouble of setting up your website, ordering business cards, drafting a business plan, and building your network. You’ve spent endless hours imagining what life would be like if you could only hit it big as a freelance writer.
But are you actually submitting pitches and producing quality work? Or are you paralyzed and afraid of rejection, thinking your writing skills aren’t good enough?
We all feel that way sometimes. When I first started as a freelance writer, I was full of hope and ambition.
I was plowing through the first steps of establishing myself as a writer online – setting up a website and business bank account, ordering business cards – but then I got to the part where I actually had to write. And suddenly, I was full of fear.
What if I’m not as good as I think I am? What if I’m not good enough? What if no one actually hires me?
The “what ifs” could go on and on.
The truth is, life is full of uncertainties. And if you’re brave enough to take the leap into the world of freelance writing, chances are good you’ve got quality writing skills and business ability to propel yourself forward into winning an actual client.
But there’s always room for improvement. We should always strive to become better than we were the day before. Incorporating these tips and tactics will help you to become the best freelance writer you can be.
5 Tips for More Powerful Freelance Writing
#1 Write naturally
I know you want to impress your clients with big words, fancy sentence structure, and elaborate paragraphs. The truth is, that will just complicate your writing and cause your reader to have to stop and try to understand what they’re reading. And, yes, you want to invoke thoughts and feelings in your reader but you want to avoid confusing them.
Your writing is a gift.
Your writing is a gift. It’s an art that speaks for itself. Please, keep it simple and let it flow naturally off the page and into the mind of your reader.
#2 Be specific
It’s easy to jump into a creative-writing mode when our thoughts start to flow, but you must stay focused on your topic and the purpose for your writing. There are many times I go back and reread the title and the outline for the article I’m working on to keep myself on track with my writing.
Also, be specific by avoiding clichés and the use of vague words. Statements like “as old as the hills” or “in the nick of time” should be avoided. As should words like “stuff,” or “things,” and “really,” because they offer no added value to the outcome of your writing.
#3 Write every day
The adage that practice makes perfect is true with writing, too.
You see, writing is a muscle that must get regular exercise to work most effectively. Sitting down with your laptop, or a good ole’ fashioned pen and some paper, and writing every single day is the best antidote for writer’s block.
If you’re writing every day there’s less pressure to come up with that “perfect” story or article. Instead, writing every day gets your creative juices flowing and all of your ideas, good and bad, flow out of your mind and onto paper where real ideas can take shape.
#4 Include outside sources
Yes, I know you’re an expert and it might come as a shock to hear me say that you don’t know everything. There are huge arrays of information available. Some you might not know and some will shed a new light on an old idea.
Use outside sources to expand your understanding and add a new angle to your writing. Plus, finding a way to incorporate links to others’ writing will help build your network and increase your credibility with readers and writers alike.
#5 Spend more time reading
Take it from author Stephen King, who said “if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Now that is a powerful statement.
Teaching someone to write is difficult and simply learning the grammar tools and sentence structuring techniques aren’t going to do it. It will make it better, but not great.
Reading gives you new insight and knowledge, and increases your understanding of language, which leads to finding inspiration and structure for your next project.
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. -Stephen King
There’s no class or diploma for being a great writer. But there are some secrets you can uncover through learning from other writing gurus. Learning from others through reading is a great way to improve your writing, which is why the last one on this list is the most important.
Following all of these tips will take your writing from good to great. But knowing them isn’t enough. You have to actually use them in your writing practice. Start with number five, spend more time reading. And once you have your inspiration, the other tips will improve your skills as a freelance writer and help you land more clients.