As a writer, being new to the online writing game is overwhelming. The Internet churns out content on a constant basis—bad, good, and great—and figuring how to insert our voices and where (and then get paid for it) seems like a colossal and intimidating task.
Finding success in writing online will require networking, contributing to and drawing from writing communities like Free Guest Post, and ultimately becoming prolific in what you do. Writers characteristically exist in their earliest stages within a shell of insecurities and inhibitions; we all need to undergo the process of de-shelling to begin contributing our art to the world.
To start, we have to detach our sensitivity from our art and let it become second nature. Writing must become to us what music is to the skilled musician: simply an outpouring of fluid notes, well-versed, well-practiced, and precise. It’s not just our art, but our marketable skill, as easily uncorked and accessible as a singer’s voice.
One way to learn how to do this is to listen to the stories of others who have done it, hear about their pitfalls and successes, and to mimic what worked for them.
Things to Remember as a Freelance Writer
Here are a few practical tips offered in a condensed version of a Q&A session with Billfold contributor, Nicole Dieker, who recently answered fan questions about freelancing processes and best practices.
- Your pitch should fit the publication. Smaller publications will have individual submission guidelines that you’ll simply follow. You’ll want to have your piece finished beforehand. Larger publications will require more formality. A query letter will be more appropriate in this situation.
- These days, finding the resources for work as an online freelance writer (blog writing, copy editing, and more) is a simple Google search away. Other writers are already doing exactly what you’re setting out to do, and they’re writing about how to do it. Just do some research and use the Internet for the purpose it was intended. To get you started, Dieker provides these two links: a.) Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing, b.) Make a Living Writing.
- Ghostwriting comes in two sets: long-form and short-form. Long-form encompasses pieces like book and speeches, and the ghostwriter is credited for the work in the fine print. Short-form covers blog posts and similar pieces for another person’s brand and is published on their name. In this situation, the ghostwriter receives no credit, only compensation for the work. Generally, short-form ghostwriting is not a desirable or lucrative final destination. It should always be thought of as temporary. Seek out situations that allow you to use your own byline and receive credit for your work.
- When trying to find a balance between writing for work and writing for pleasure, consider your bliss. Are you enjoying what you’re doing? What’s compelling you to write at all? Both sets will demand to be written in one way or another, and if you can seek out work-writing that you actually enjoy, even better!
- Be pleasant. I was about to write professional, but the connotations with that word can mean stiff or formal, so I redacted. You can be fun and engaging, witty and controversial, without being unpleasant to work with. Understanding that healthy networking is key to your success, don’t use social media irresponsibly. Watch your writer’s tongue, which we all know craves the taste of sarcasm, and don’t burn bridges.
To the Keyboard!
The main trick to making it as a writer is to write. A lot. Be prolific, hone your craft, and let the words flow.
What resources have you found that have helped you the most as a freelance writer?
Dieker, Nicole. “Advice to New Freelance Writers: How a Freelance Writer Makes a Living.”http://thebillfold.com/2014/06/advice-to-new-freelance-writers-how-a-freelance-writer-makes-a-living/. (December 9, 2014.)