Do You Have What It Takes to Be Successful as a Freelance Writer?

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Lots of people want to make freelance writing a career, but few are actually able to make it happen. This is because it takes a special kind of person with the right drive and motivation. Simply knowing how to write is not enough — you must be willing to market yourself. If you’re interested in pursuing freelance writing as a career, let us help you determine whether it is a good choice for you or not.

Your Writing and Editing Skills Need to Be Top Notch

Firstly, you need to know how to write and be good at it. I worked several years as an editor for a content mill, and I often came across writers who shouldn’t really be writers. What I mean is that their writing and editing skills were not anywhere near a professional level. To truly be successful as a freelance writer, you need impeccable skills. This takes both practice and education. You don’t have to have a degree in English, but you do have to be a good writer. So, don’t jump into the freelance writing life before you are confident that you can write coherent sentences that flow from one paragraph to the next.

Editors shouldn’t have to spend hours rewriting sentences and adding flow to your content pieces. That’s a major problem with content mills — they will let anyone be a writer. This gives many people false hope that they can make freelance writing a career. I started to notice that the better writers didn’t stay with the content mills long. This is because good writers move on to higher paying gigs. If you can break free from content mills, you can make freelance writing a career instead of a hobby. Now, I don’t want to entirely bash content mills. They are a good place for new writers to test the waters in terms of their skills and interest in freelance writing.

You Can’t Be Afraid to Market Yourself to Clients

Once you have the writing and editing skills down, you need to put yourself out there. You can’t be afraid to market your writing abilities to potential clients. For the most part, clients won’t just fall into your lap. Many people who hope to become freelance writers have unrealistic expectations about the work load. They think they will spend most of their time writing, when in fact a good portion of their time will actually have to go towards marketing their skills and expertise.

In the beginning of your freelance writing career, you’ll probably spend more than half of your time marketing yourself. This includes things such as sending query letters, sharing your portfolio, and networking with professionals in your industry. Once you’ve established a client base, you won’t have to spend as much time on marketing. However, you’ll always have to dedicate time to maintaining client relationships so that the work continues to pour in. Writing isn’t simply about expressing your opinions; you have to make your clients happy.

A lot of people lack the courage to market their writing skills. This could be for any number of reasons, such as being afraid of rejection or making excuses for a small portfolio. To be successful as a freelance writer, you must be willing to take chances and out your writing skills in front of potential clients.

You Need to Have Self Motivation

Once you start getting a chunk of work, you need to find the self motivation to get it done in a timely manner. I’m not talking about overcoming procrastination; I’m talking about finding the balance between pay and effort. For instance, if you’re being paid $100 to write an article for an online publication, but you spend 10 hours or more writing, you wouldn’t have a very good hourly rate. Freelance writers have to be good at monitoring their time. Of course, you don’t want the quality of your work to suffer, either. This means you should never take a freelance writing gig that does not pay you what you’re worth because you will lose the motivation to get it done.

I’ve never met a freelance writer that didn’t have a problem with procrastination to some extent. As an editor, I rarely saw articles come in more than a day before their deadline, even if they were assigned two to three weeks in advance. Personally, I find deadlines a great source of self motivation. I can see the amount of time I have to complete the assignment and this keeps me motivated and on task. When I’m working on something that isn’t due for a while, I have more of a tendency to check emails, visit Facebook, and do other things online that waste time that I could have spent writing.

People who procrastinate can still be good writers. If you are a habitual procrastination, just make sure that you leave enough time to finish your projects before the deadline. You won’t make it in the freelance writing world very long if you miss deadlines. You can probably get away with it a few times, but clients will notice and you’ll lose work. Self motivation is about being able to overcome procrastination when it is needed.

Are you self motivated, willing to market yourself, and confident in your writing and editing skills? These are the three most important traits to being successful as a freelance writer. What other traits do you think would be helpful to a freelance writer? Leave a comment below.

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How Pregnancy Affected My Freelance Career (The First Trimester)

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My husband and I were thrilled to find out we were pregnant because it was so hard to get to that point. However, I wasn’t prepared for the toll pregnancy would have on my freelance career. I’m not complaining; I just figured I’d share my experience to help others prepare. Everyone’s pregnancy is different, but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience similar things.

I Had a Major Lack of Energy

First of all, I knew I’d be tired because that’s what all of my friends told me. What they didn’t tell me is that I’d be tired to the point of needing a nap every day in the afternoon. As a freelancer working from home, I knew I could get away with a little snooze, but it did affect my productivity. This sometimes meant I’d have to work longer during the day to cover the time I missed while napping. Of course, this flexibility is one of my favorite things about being a freelancer.

Additionally, I am a very deadline-driven person, which means I tend to procrastinate until my deadline is in sight. This is really bad, but if I have a 6 a.m. deadline, I sometimes wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. to get it done. When I’m done, I just go back to bed and sleep for a few more hours. The first time I tried this as a pregnant woman was a nightmare. I had a really hard time dragging myself out of bed and then keeping my eyes open to work. Because of my pregnancy, I had to force myself to overcome my bad procrastination habits, at least to some degree. (You know you’re guilty, too…)

I Was Stressed from Pregnancy Complications

On top of my constant need for sleep, I lost valuable working time because of frequent dr. appointments. For a couple of weeks near the beginning of my pregnancy, I had to spend an hour every couple of days to go get my blood drawn. Also, my doctor had me coming in for weekly ultrasounds. There are so many things that can go wrong with a pregnancy, and they all add stress to your life. This doesn’t mean you’ll have pregnancy complications, but you should be prepared to miss some work in case you do. Plus, you might not be as productive when you do work because of the added stress on your life.

Also, my pregnancy complications led me to be on bed rest for a couple of weeks. This isn’t unbearable when you work from home, but it is still an inconvenience. I would just sit or lay on the couch with my laptop nearby. I usually move about from room to room during the day, but staying in one place wasn’t a very hard adjustment.

I was only mildly sick during my first trimester, so that didn’t really affect my freelance career. Although, I hear it can be a major inconvenience for some women (75 percent of pregnant women get morning sickness). Luckily for me, I could end my queasiness pretty quickly by eating a cracker or two.

I definitely lost some productivity after getting pregnant, but I was still able to make freelancing work for me. How have your pregnancies affected your freelance career? Leave a comment below.

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