How to Be a Successful Freelance Writer

How to be successful freelance writer, tips on succeeding as a freelance writer, freelance writing tips…. much has been written on these and similar topics. New or beginning writers these days find it so easy to start a career in freelance writing by going through such tips. But things weren’t so easy when I started out on this career… this was over 20 years ago. Twenty-two years to be precise.

Twenty-two years ago there was no internet (here I mean I didn’t have access to it since it wasn’t very common back then). As a result – no tips for me, no finding jobs online, no knowing how to go about finding work.  Neither was there anyone among my friends or acquaintances who was a freelance writer who could guide me through. I did know a couple of journalists, but to be very honest, they weren’t very helpful. Whatever I did, I did on my own… whatever my gut feelings told me to do. I must thank my stars here that whatever route I took – with only my talent for writing in my hand – it led me to success. How I managed to get my first assignment, and the assignments after that, will go in other posts. For now I’ll just give some tips on how to be a successful freelance writer. They may be similar to what others say, but as for me – I am just going by my own experiences. Here they are:

  1. Pay attention to the details of your client. You are not writing for yourself, but for your client. So go through the requirements and follow all the details. If during the process of writing you need to know anything more, don’t hesitate to call. Communication is important.
  2. Know the topic well. Research the topic thoroughly. Most topics have already been written about, so try and bring in something new (keeping in mind your client’s requirements). Never ever plagiarize.
  3. Give your best to each assignment. Take each assignment as a challenge and meet it as never before. It should be a perfect piece of writing.
  4. Keep to deadlines. This is very important for your reputation as a freelance writer. No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t meet deadlines. Shortage of time is the reason given most of the time for not meeting deadlines. So, what becomes important here is time management. Manage your time well and there’s no reason you can’t complete the job on time.
  5. Keep your rates reasonable. If your rates are too high, you won’t get much work. If they are too low, then it’s proof of your not being good enough. So, keep it somewhere in between.  
  6. Be versatile. Being an expert in a field is good, but if you want assignments to keep coming, you have to be versatile. It may be a little difficult in the beginning, but with time, as you learn with each different assignment, you will be able to do many different things with equal ease.
  7. Keep looking for new assignments. Don’t wait for one to complete before looking for another. This will waste a lot of time in between. You should have another job ready to start on just as you finish one.
  8. Maintain good relations with your clients. This is very important if you want them to come back to you with new assignments.

I would love to know about your experiences. How did you learn tricks of the trade?

 

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