Survive Freelance Article Writing

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Lynn, Anonymous and 3 others

A person engaged in freelance article writing is someone who earns a living by writing on either full-time or part-time basis. A freelance writer may also be writing for fun or for the purpose of building up an impressive portfolio showcasing his writing skill. Whatever angle it is looked at, a freelancer writes without being committed to any single company or entity, but rather operates as an independent business or contractor.

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Every freelance article writer has been through the bad patch when their copies are rejected, or their contracts have been cancelled. In this business, there will always be lean and rough times, at least until a more solid base of clients had been established. In the meantime, how does one survive the adversities that often accompany freelance article writing?

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The Harsh Realities in Freelance Article Writing

Like any career, freelance writing is not without challenges. Whether you're just a budding writer, or have an established name, there are certain realities you have to face and overcome. You'll find that some of these, you did not even realize exist in the world of freelance writing.

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  1. 1
    It takes time and effort.
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    You've probably bitten the hook that if you enroll in a crash writing course or download the newest software, success will be served to you on a golden platter. Unfortunately, that is farthest thing from the truth because writing takes time, and it is not easy. You have to spend sleepless nights breaking your back to finish your copies without even being guaranteed of good results. There are simply no shortcuts to a successful career in freelance article writing
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  2. 2
    You're on your own.
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    Your professors in college are not around to help you succeed. Neither are the authors of the reference books you've read capable of boosting your business. You can only remember the tips they provided. The real success is of your own doing, depending on the amount of effort you put in. There's no miracle to expect, but only results based on your hard work.
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  3. 3
    You don't have to be the best to survive.
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    You may have the tools, skills, or degree that it takes to be the best in the field. However, they are no guarantee to deliver your success. In freelance writing, good and bad writers stand on equal footing in terms of being paid for articles demanded by the editors. It's not about writing well. The key is in continuously learning and feeding the mind with new ideas and contents.
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  4. 4
    It takes commitment.
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    As creative people, writers are more expressive when allowed to work beyond the limits of time, space and routine. There is always an effort to be unique. However, there's also the need to deliver, even when you're not inspired. It requires commitment to produce quantity and good quality articles.
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Basic Skills for Freelance Writing

There is so much to be learned as much as to be done in order to survive freelance article writing. Gone are the days when it was enough to create a snappy headline or develop a story with poignant twists. Whether you are writing, editing, or doing both at the same time, being a freelancer is a task that requires some skills to set you apart from other struggling freelancers and endear you to your print or online editors.

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  1. 1
    Knowledge in content management system.
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    Many editors require their contributors to submit their drafts in a content management system or CMS. WordPress is commonly used, but it also helps to learn how to add categories, tags, or links. Although not necessary, a basic knowledge of HTML is a plus factor for a freelance writer.
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  2. 2
    Perfect English.
    The editors who will be proofreading your work will only be expecting minimal or zero corrections for your work if they will consider keeping you as one of their resident writers. Brush up on your grammar, spelling and the technical rules of American or British English, depending on what readership you are writing for.
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  3. 3
    Photo shooting and editing skill.
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    Online editors have no budget or they tend to scrimp on hiring a photographer. They usually pick images that are available in stock or ask the writers to supplement their own articles with photos. It becomes advantageous for a freelance writer to have the ability to shoot high resolution images and edit those images according to the editor's photo requirements.
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  4. 4
    Proficiency in SEO.
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    More and more online publications are seeing the need for SEO strategies to develop articles stuffed with keywords. Freelance writers with the aptitude to employ the art of SEO writing are carving their niche in the reader-friendly style of content writing.
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  5. 5
    Idea generation.
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    Writers are always under pressure to come up with unique and fresh ideas for their stories. It pays to be one big idea person who gets inspired and motivated to write about anything under the sun. The ideas are developed as contents that can provide rich and interesting information. <b>If you're a freelance writer
    , you may have learned by now that even the largest print and online publications offer very little for writers like you. It's even difficult to imagine how it is even possible to thrive as a freelance writer. The truth is, there are ways to survive and even strengthen your independent writing business in easy steps.
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Survival Tips for Freelancer Article Writers

  1. 1
    Be Professional.
    Act in a business-like manner. Being your own boss is not a ticket to treat your freelance work as just one of those jobs. You create your own image and that will be your reputation in the industry. Being polite in your dealings, and meeting deadlines or commitments are common business deportment. But a single screw-up can cost you everything.
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  2. 2
    Persevere.
    It's easy to lose heart when things don't happen according to your expectations. But even the most successful people have suffered failure or experienced rejection. The reason they succeed is they never gave up. However, if you've been repeatedly rejected on the same grounds, you need to re-examine where the flaws lie. You have to exercise more patience in learning your craft by training, reading, and seeking consultation to get a frank assessment of your article.
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  3. 3
    Zero plagiarism.
    If you are a writer, you are expected to be creative and original. You also have a vast vocabulary of words, thus you will not have a hard time in repeating the same words over and over again because you will have a lot of synonyms to replace them with. You are also expected to express an idea in writing with a style that is entirely your own. You can whip up an entirely new twist to an old story which still makes it an interesting read.
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  4. 4
    Be resourceful.
    Know what the trends are. If you want to switch niches, learn the rudiments of what it takes to publish along that route.
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  5. 5
    Specialize.
    Pick a particular area where to concentrate your writing skills and ideas. Oftentimes, it also means being original. Even if you share similar ideas with other writers, you can provide another light to an otherwise vague subject. Avoid overcrowded niches and anything that's been done too many times. If you're tasked to write a very common topic, make sure to tackle it from another angle.
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  6. 6
    Venture into more lucrative writing grounds.
    Consider the fields of copywriting, advertising, or business writing. While it feels good to be in your comfort zone, it's even nicer to be in the company of good-paying clients such as business owners and advertisers.
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  7. 7
    Use humor.
    Being humorous does not strip off the substance of your article. However, there are taboo subjects not to poke jokes about, like religion, race, and disabilities. Generally, an amusing approach catches attention more than pretentious highfalutin composition.
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  8. 8
    Be visible online.
    Make it easy for your clients to find you by creating your own website. Keep your site current by posting blogs. You can also create links people may find useful. More importantly, you can increase your audience that can potentially come back with a working proposal for you. Having a website establishes your credibility as a freelance writer.
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  9. 9
    Be appreciative of your writing skills.
    Maybe you have always wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument. Or you might have tried to join swimming lessons, but your lungs have always failed you. Or you tried your hand in painting and sculpture, but you simply do not have the ability. Appreciate your God-given ability to write. Do you know that there are people who cannot start writing even one good sentence? Writing is not an easy skill to master. It takes years and years of learning and practice, and you got it in you.
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  10. 10
    Read a lot.
    Get out of your comfort zone of specialty topics and read about other things under the sun. Do not resent it when your editor assigns you a topic which you absolutely do not know anything about. This is your chance to widen your horizon by researching on the topic assigned to you. Who knows, this might be a turning point, and that specific topic could be a future expertise of yours in the future too.
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Tips and Tricks:

  • If you don't have a portfolio, you can volunteer your writing services to your local community publications or organizations to generate clips that can fill your portfolio.
  • To build a strong portfolio, write for a credible online community on a volunteer basis. Apart from gaining valuable experience, it helps you develop an impressive portfolio to show prospective editors.
  • If possible, go to a place conducive for you to write your articles. Of course, this is not always the reality, because as a writer, you should be flexible and ready to write anytime and anywhere. But of course, if you have the choice, a quiet coffee shop, a breezy park, a pleasant beach front, are always nice backdrops while you are writing and brings out the best ideas from you.
  • Be a habitual note taker. Great ideas occur to you at the most unexpected time and place. Do not expect all your ideas to be there when you formally sit down and write. We have a tendency to forget that great idea if you do not put it down into writing when it occurs to you. Always have a pad of paper with you wherever you are. Or simply use the gadgets of today, the Tablet or your smartphone which have notes applications inbuilt or downloadable. Do not let that great idea slip away.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Categories : Business & Management

Recent edits by: Alma, Jonathan, Anonymous

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