Of all the choices that are available for those seeking to become self-employed, freelance writing is usually at the top of the list. Writing is the very definition of a noble, necessary endeavor. Indeed, no matter how fast technology progresses, there will always be a place for the written word at the freelancing table.
If you’re someone who’s pursued freelance writing, you’ve probably noticed that it’s a career that’s equal parts promising and confusing. Promising, in that it can be applied across a wide variety of niches – anything from articles to aspects of media production. Confusing, in that with each new opportunity comes a new set of guidelines, varying pay rates, and levels of expertise.
The Internet landscape is nothing if not unpredictable, but a constant can be your level of freelance writing self-awareness. When you identify what you’re best at, you can begin to effortlessly weave those strengths into your work as you stay current and competitive.
That time thing…
Something that often stymies freelance writers is how quickly they can complete projects. Do you find yourself in a similar predicament? Or, have you generally found yourself able to adapt to project requirements and maintain reasonable hourly earnings?
Although it’s usually not considered best practice to save the actual files you complete for a client (unless you somehow don’t happen to be bound by the regular NDA/exclusive rights protocol), you can keep track of how many words you write and how long it takes you to do so.
This can be done as a spreadsheet with two columns, as a running note application on your smartphone – you get the idea. In fact, you can go a step further and separate projects by topic, too. The patterns/trends that you start to see will go a long way towards helping you pinpoint where your efficiency levels are at their highest.
- Perhaps you’ve heard of National Novel Writing Month, which is also cleverly known as NaNoWriMo.
- It doesn’t have to be November for you to implement some of the great resources in this article for The Writing Cooperative: “30 (Free) Writing Apps to Help You Through Every Stage of NaNoWriMo”
Have confidence in your quality quotient…
Even if one of your freelance writing strengths is efficiency, remember to recognize its relationship to being paid fairly. Would many clients love to pay next to nothing for quality work? Sure – it’s an unfortunate truth for the freelancing world in general. An opportunity might look well-paying, but if there’s lots of research required, it might mean that you’re actually making only a few dollars per hour. Hold firm to creating quality content on reasonable terms.
- I regularly caution against applying to jobs that ask for article pitches or desired rates.
- Article pitches = an easy way to get ideas that they can use without actually hiring.
- Desired rates = a tactic for only hiring those with the lowest price requirements.
Feedback can be your friend…
Obviously, the easiest way to figure out what works best for you as a freelance writer is to evaluate the feedback you’ve received from clients. Yes, it’s great to specialize, but you’ve got to always be thinking for the long-term. Certain topics might overall be perennially popular (parenting, finance, wellness) yet at the same time be rife with competition.
So, what do you do? You stay one step ahead by not only getting feedback from clients, but also from social media followers, people in your everyday life, etc. Think of it as a freelance poll, of sorts. Strength is all about being true to your voice, while at the same time honoring the opinions of others. Your words can solve problems, inspire, and educate – lean into that power and use it wisely.
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