Author: Joanne Troppello
If you're a new writer and want to embark on a freelance writing career, you may be wondering where to start. Getting a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree or taking online writing courses by reputable colleges, universities, or organizations are both great places to start. However, you may have done that already and are still not sure what steps to take next. Consider the following ten tips on how you, as a new writer, can enhance your writing journey.
1. Start Journaling
As a creative person, you likely have many ideas for articles, blogs, and novels spinning around your head each day. If you want to capture those ideas, start keeping a journal where you can track them. If you don't want to carry a journal with you throughout the day, keep track of your ideas with the Quick Memo app on your phone or download another note-taking app like Evernote, Sticky Notes, or Microsoft OneNote.
2. Practice, Practice, and Practice
Whether you have an actual writing assignment that day or not, you should practice your craft. Keep writing in your journal or write a post for your blog. Start an account on a writing platform like Medium or Vocals and post content each day. Every time you write during the day is one step closer to growing and improving in your craft.
3. Create an Action Plan
You need to set clear goals for yourself to increase your chances of success as a freelance writer. You can put that success in motion by creating an action plan. Divide your action plan into three segments--immediate, short-term, and long-term goals. Maybe your immediate goal would be to apply as a freelance writer for five content creation companies so you can get approved as a writer and start taking assignments.
You might have a short-term goal of building the readership base for your blog by creating consistent educational articles that appeal to your readers and that will improve your search engine results page (SERP) ranking. A long-term goal may be to finish the planning stage for that novel you've always wanted to write and then to get started writing.
No matter your goals, if you don't write them down, you won't be as likely to accomplish them, and it will be more challenging to track and revise them. Consider using a goal tracker app like ATracker, Habitica, or Toodledo.
4. Don't Obsess Over Editing
Editing is a part of the writing process. If you want to succeed as a freelance writer, you need to hone your editing skills. However, it would be best if you didn't start obsessing over editing while you're writing. Focus on writing your article, blog post, or whatever other assignment you're working on--and then begin the editing process after the draft is done.
As you progress in your craft, you'll be able to automatically self-edit as you write the draft. However, if you focus too much on the editing process while writing, you could start to doubt your abilities and never complete the draft.
5. Connect with a Writing Buddy
As a writer, you may already have friends or acquaintances who are writers. If not, consider getting connected with local in-person or online writer's groups where you can share your content and get critiques. However, if you're writing an assignment for a client, you likely cannot share the writing draft with anyone in your writing group.
However, you can find value in these writing groups because it's a way to grow and develop as a writer continually. Maybe you'd share some of your blog content or other creative writing you've done, like poetry or the draft of your novel. Anytime you get advice from other writers can help you augment your writing skills. Consider joining an online writer's group like The Write Idea, Writer's Café, The Writers Beat, or Scribophile.
6. Optimize Your Online Presence
Having an online hub, like a blog or website, is an essential part of optimizing your online presence so you can showcase your writing ability and find more freelance writing assignments. By starting a website now, you will make things easier for yourself down the road when you get that book deal because you've already been cultivating an online readership base.
As a new writer, you likely don't have money to pay for a website right away. Various platforms offer a free website, which you could then upgrade to one of their paid plans in the future. Some of those website builders include Wix, WordPress, Weebly, and Blogger.
7. Cultivate a Love of Reading
If you love to read, you're already off to a great start. Reading can enhance your writing skills. You get the opportunity to read quality content--whether articles, blog posts, novels, or nonfiction--and get educated. In addition to learning about specific topics, you get the chance to see how the author wrote the content and know what you can do to start writing better.
Reading can inspire you to write another blog post or article or get started on your book's next chapter. Just remember that reading should be for education and inspiration only. Plagiarizing doesn't just mean copying someone's words verbatim and using them as your own. It also consists of taking someone's ideas and rephrasing them as your own.
8. Use Well-Known Authors Online as a Resource
If you have a few favorite well-known authors, follow their social media accounts so you can track their writing journey and learn from them. Check out their websites and sign up for their newsletters or subscribe to their blog. When deciding which authors, writers, or bloggers to follow, focus on ones that offer educational writing advice.
9. Become a More Diligent Researcher
There are online scams that are disguised as legitimate writing opportunities. Some publishing opportunities, like vanity publishers, want you to pay to get your book published with them.
If you want to succeed as a writer, you need to become a diligent researcher. Learn how to dig deeper when searching online for the next freelance opportunity or deciding which blog platform to use or which publisher to submit to your manuscript. It would help if you were your own best advocate for finding the right legitimate opportunities for your career as a writer.
10. Stay Focused on Pursuing Your Writing Dreams
Only you can decide whether or not you will succeed. Sure, great opportunities may come knocking at your door. However, if you don't stay focused or start to get discouraged when things move too slowly, you could give up on your writing dreams.
Write yourself a letter stating your top ten reasons for writing and keep it in a safe place, like your journal or saved in a digital file. Whenever you begin to lose focus or feel discouraged, reread the letter to remind yourself why you want to write. Hopefully, that can inspire you to keep following your writing dreams.
Enhance Your Writing Journey
By following the ten tips outlined in this article, you can begin to augment your writing skills and build a solid foundation as a successful freelance writer, blogger, or author. You'll need to be open to change and realize that you'll experience growing pains as a writer. However, if your dream is to become successful in the writing industry, you'll welcome the growing process.