Need writing tips and advice, but you’re in a hurry?
There’s nothing wrong with poring over your library of books on freelancing for the best writing tips, techniques, and business practices.
But what if you’re perpetually short on time? There’s a good chance you don’t crack those writing books for another day, another weekâ€¦
And that’s a problem if you want to ramp up your freelance writing business fast, need a shot of motivation, or a writing tip related to a current client project.
When I was fresh out of school, only a novice at my day job, I decided to be a writer. No marketing experience. No niche knowledge. Heck, I hadn’t even written a single word of business writing.
I needed a lot of writing tips and adviceâ€¦fast. So I asked writers in my network a simple question:
If you had 30 seconds to give a new writer just one piece of advice, what would it be?
And they delivered a pay-dirt pile of advice about freelancing.
Looking for writing tips to put you on the fast track to move up and earn more? Here you go:
Master your mindset as a freelance writer
So you want to be a freelancer writer? You’ll need to get your mind right.
Unless you happened to hitch a ride with Marty McFly in the move Back to the Future and got stuck in 1885, you’ve probably heard plenty of conversation about the importance of mindset.
But more than just Think and Grow Rich, cultivating a mindset of confidence, success and capitalizing failures is critical for freelance writers (newbies and pros) to go the distance.
Check out these mindset tips:
Don’t be afraid to be bold and touch on the subjects that matter even if they are sensitive topics.
â€” Sara â€œHumble Queenâ€ Scott, freelance screen writer and editor
Recognize early on that most editors and clients don’t know what they want until they see what they don’t want. (Get used to convolutes or non-existent direction before the first draft, then convoluted but passionate direction before the first round of edits.)
â€” Justin P Lambert, communications consultant
#justkeepswimming (swimming, swimming)
â€” Tricia Johnson Mool, freelance content writer and copywriter
Be patient. Everything will take longer to happen than you wish it would.
â€” Alison Leuders, freelance writer
Keep writing, and never ever give up on your own style and voice of writing.
â€” Surya Narayanan, writer at CIO Review India
Don’t give up.
â€” Scot Martin, freelance B2B Copywriter
Don’t take rejections personally.
â€” Janeen Johnson, contributing writer for Our Jamaica Magazine
â€” Oliver Orme-Lynch, content writer
Take action, keep learning
What would happen if you filled your mind with writing tips and advice without taking action? Nothing.
Carol Tice frequently uses the mantra, “Be a writer, not a waiter.” Investing in yourself to develop your skills is critical to your success.
But the real wins happen when you learn and take action. That’s the ticket to freelance success.
Here’s how to level up your game:
â€” Steve Slaunwhite, copywriting trainer & coach
Focus on enhancing your skills and don’t rest on your laurels. Success follows those who embrace continuous adaptation.
â€” Mahmood Anwar, freelancing coach and content writer
â€” Sutapa Singha, content editor
Avoid content mills. Instead, learn how to cold pitch. Keep improving your pitches.
â€” Zena Ryder, freelance copywriter and content writer
Know your audience!
â€” Bindu Chunduru, freelance writer and subject matter expert
Hand in your pieces on time, and proofread your proofread versionâ€¦ You’ll get hired again and paid more if you show you’re reliable.
â€” Heather Grace Stewart, Top 100 best-selling Kindle author
Read a lot. Write a lot. Accept your work will be rejected.
â€” Rebecca A Eckland, writer, author, marketing specialist
Use outlines, and don’t be afraid to hire professional proofreaders.
â€” Thomas Clifford, B2B copywriter for executives
Every day: Write. Write. And then write some more.
â€” Lisa J. Jackson, business writer
Think like a writer, editor & marketer
No one starts out with perfect writing or marketing skills. It’s a process.
Every step of the way, you should be developing your skills as a writer, your marketing chops to get clients, tech skills, business skills to set your rates, negotiation contracts, and talk to clients.
In other words, learn to think like a writer, editor, and marketing manager.
Assume the reader knows nothing, but don’t assume the reader is stupid.
â€” Zack Robinson, SEO content expert
Just fix your takeaway and target audience for the piece you are writing. Everything else is just flow of writing which will improve with experience.
â€” Nimeeshkumar Singh, independent journalist, brand consultant and content strategist
Market yourself regularly so you’re never short of work. Generally, I’ve observed that we freelancers start looking for work when we are short of it. Whether it is through cold pitching, social media or cold calling, market yourself regularly. Consistency is important in maintaining regular flow of work in freelancing.
â€” Gagandeep Kaur, independent journalist, writer and content marketing strategist
Conduct efficient research. Formulate creative ideas. Create and stick to outlines. Make text scannable. Provide value, on-page SEO, embedded media, links.
â€” Obaid Khan, B2B content strategist, founder of Pantheon Digital
Check your facts, don’t oversell or exaggerate
â€” Elisavet (Lisa) Pavlidou, content developer
Never marry an idea. If a story line or dialogue is going nowhere, don’t keep it and force it to work. It never will.
â€” Keith M. Hersch, 25-plus year ESL teacher, writer
Get out of your head and into the reader’s head.
â€” Jim Koscs, automotive storyteller
Write short sentences.
â€” Seth Carr, digital marketing strategist, writer
Tap into your freelance network for help
Want to be a freelance writer? It’s all-too-easy to find yourself writing in isolation mixed with a few client calls. And the best writer’s don’t work that way.
You need a network of other writers, creatives, and business professionals to share ideas with, seek out for support, collaborate on projects, and get ideas to improve your writing skills and grow your freelance business.
Stay connected with these writing tips
Join [a networking group]. You’ll connect with a group of generous, high-earning writers.
â€” Karen Haywood Queen, technology writer
Don’t try to go it all alone. Seek help in all areas – craft and business.
â€” Mary Morris, Freelance Writer
Quick writing tips for freelancers
I asked one simple question on LinkedIn and received a load of responses (see all of them here) from freelancers who make a living writing. The result: Easy-to follow writing tips and advice you can digest in 30 seconds or less.
If you’re just starting out, stuck in a rut, or you’ve been freelancing for years, there’s always something new to learn. Keep going. You got this.
What’s your one piece of advice for freelance writers? Share your wisdom in the comments below.
Dan Phillips is a freelance industrial tech writer. He enjoys taking clients on marketing gemba walks and wears steel toes all the time.