Freelance writing isn’t for everyone, but it can be for you if you’re willing to hone specific skillsets that will allow you to succeed. It all depends on how much you want it.
That’s the first thing you need to do: ask yourself what your motivations actually are in becoming a freelance writer and if they’re sufficient to getting the job done.
So do you want it? If you do, the important thing to remember is that it’s possible; it’s not a field that bars entry arbitrarily. There aren’t tests to pass, certifications to purchase, or even degrees to earn in order to become a qualified freelance writer.
In fact, a degree isn’t necessary at all. It’s nice to have, especially when you’re trying to make your resume look as attractive as possible, but your potential clients are going to be paying more attention to your work portfolio, reputation, and recommendations than where you went to school and what you studied.
So What Do You Need?
We’ve covered what you don’t need: formal writing certifications. Now let’s discuss the four must-have qualities every successful freelance writer does need.
- Writing skills
- Self-editing skills
- Quick turnaround
- Job satisfaction
Yeah, you’re gonna need these if you want to become a writer. Writing skills can be honed with practice, as with any type of skill, but if written communication has always been a struggle for you, you should probably ask yourself why you want to be a writer. The main thing is that you enjoy it; if you do, write prolifically, be receptive to feedback and criticism, capitalize on opportunities to write for others, and ultimately do what you need to do in order to improve your desired craft.
Remember that your clients will only be your clients if they are satisfied with your work. They will expect their freelance writer to write well.
As a freelance writer, you’re a writing department unto yourself. Quality Assurance is your responsibility. How good are you at proofreading your own work? This depends on how strong a grasp you have of grammar rules. You will need to be a proficient self-editor if you want to be a successful freelance writer; you cannot expect your clients to do this for you.
It’s always hard to see mistakes in a piece of work you’ve just finished, so manage your deadline schedule in such a way that you finish your writing projects with enough time before the deadline for you to revisit and revise the text with fresh eyes.
Remember, there’s no shortage of freelance writers and anything that gives you an edge is a good thing. Oftentimes, this will be your turnaround speed. If you can write well and fast, you will become invaluable to your clients, especially the ones that often have strict, last-minute deadlines.
Luckily, this is also a skill that can be improved with practice. Whether your issue is with typing speed, inspiration, or simply writing flow, there are exercises you can do to type faster, generate creative and original ideas, and ultimately start and finish your projects quickly—all while maintaining a peerless level of quality.
You need to like what you do. Can you do it full-time and still be satisfied? As a freelance writer, that is all you will be doing. It’s up to you to create some variety in the projects you take on, but the fact remains that you will be writing, writing, writing. If you don’t enjoy it at a root level, freelance writing may not be for you.
Have you found any other qualities to be essential as you’ve established yourself as a freelance writer? Share your experiences in the comments!
Hamill, Kate. “So You Want to Be a Freelance Writer.”https://www.freelancersunion.org/blog/2014/09/10/how-to-start-freelance-writer/. (January 14, 2015.)