Great Habits For Successful Freelance Writers

by WorkFromHome on May 16, 2011

You may be a great writer, but it takes much more than the ability to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to become a successful freelance writer. Being a freelance writer means contracting with several different clients to provide them with high quality writing. It could mean a series of articles on different topics that the client will use to promote his or her business or a constant stream of new posts for a business’s industry blog. You also could earn money as a freelance writer by providing your services to corporate headhunters who need you to write job descriptions as part of their advertisements for top professionals in many different fields.

With so many different opportunities that you can take advantage of, it is easy to see the many ways that you can find full time financial success as a freelance writer. The trick, however, is to actually become a professional writer. Doing so means making the leap from writing for fun to querying clients and building the good habits that will take your writing from that of a well meaning amateur to that of a seasoned professional. It is only when your writing talents have been honed to the point of perfection that you will be able to earn the maximum commission possible for your hard work.

Start your writing career off by finding out what the current best practices are in your new industry. Although you are working from home as a freelance writer, you can still leverage the experience of others in your field. Subscribe to industry periodicals and visit reputable websites that are aimed at freelance writers. If you have a niche, such as medical writing or writing for sports journals, then look for a publication or website that will serve that interest. The more specific the advice is that you are reading, the more useful it will be to you as you work to build your client base and improve your writing.

Writing magazines and websites run by professionals for freelance writers will help you to learn the fine points of pitching an article idea to both current and potential clients. It may sound scary now, but with some inside tips and a lot of practice you will soon be able to chat up anyone with confidence. It is also important for you to learn how to grow a relationship with both your clients and your editors, depending on the type of writing that you do. Managing these relationships will become key to your long term career success, so finding out inside information on how to begin and build them, as well as how to subsequently maximize their value is essential.

You can also find out crucial information about your new field by reading industry blogs. Look for top literary agents who maintain blogs to find out their perspective on where the writing world is going. By reading these and other blogs from publishers and editors you can learn about projects that you can become involved in. These can include possible anthologies that publishers are searching for talent for, literary agents who are open to new clients, as well as a wealth of tips and information on negotiating, writing query letters and writing competitions and conventions that can get you noticed. If you do not have time to surf the web every day to look for industry news, you can set up RSS feeds to stay current on what is going on. Checking in once or twice a week should be enough to keep you on top of what you need to know.

Of course, all of this information gathering will be for naught if you cannot focus on actually writing that great book, series of articles, web content or blog post. For many freelance writers, the hardest part of making a living from writing from home is not that they cannot find clients who will hire them, but that they are unable to focus long enough to produce the content that they previously agreed to write for those clients. Even though you are working from home, you should still treat your writing like a job. This means turning off the television and setting up a space that is dedicated to your writing.

You should be able to write there without worrying about distractions, and you should be able to leave your work there while you are gone without worrying about someone else messing it up while you are gone. It could be a separate office that fills this need or just a desk that is off limits to the rest of your family members. Think hard about what will be most practical for you and the other members of your household as you set up your new workspace.

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