Tips for Freelance Writers

Freelance Writer

Writing for a living is a tough game – especially if you are a Freelance Writer.

We often take words on a page for granted. Every website you view, every leaflet you read, every advert that gets stuck in your head started in the same place, inside the mind of a writer. It takes skill and care to get those words down on paper in an order that makes sense. Writers spend hours agonising over getting the right words in the right order and yet we often never really appreciate the time and effort that has gone into a piece of work.

Writing a great blog isn’t easy. I am sure there are people out there who will argue I am wrong but lets face it; if it was, there would be no need for anyone to advertise for writers. They could simply do it themselves as well as their own work in which they are skilled. This cannot be the case, because with the advent of sites like Upwork.com, PeoplePerHour.com and Bark.com and the plethora of other sites, there are quite literally 1000’s of posts offering writing work. Amazingly though some of these adverts seem to only want to pay peanuts.

Perhaps this is why there are millions of sites with incredibly poor copy?

It never ceases to amaze me that talented people are in high demand and equally those doing the seeking want highly skilled and experienced writers and often expect you to drop everything else just for their work and yet seem to have the opinion that freelancers are happy to work for a pittance. Although over the years I have found this is not exclusive to writing. It seems to happen more and more across the entire job market. When I was seeking employment, the demands for the right candidate were high and the job description ran to 2 or 3 pages and yet at the end of the advert was a rather poor salary bracket. I often found myself thinking that either the job description was for the wrong job or the employer simply didn’t have clue as to the value of the skills they were asking for.

When I started, I was given some great advice. Charge a fee that you are comfortable with and can make a living from. If writing is your main source of income, you will need ensure that you earn enough to cover the mortgage or rent and other bills that come every month. Don’t be tempted to lower your standards and drop to a poor fee just to get the work. Set yourself a limit and don’t work for less. Remember if you have left a full-time employed job to write, you will probably need to match your previous hourly or daily rate. Have pride and confidence in yourself and your ability and if you do, this will resonate through the work you produce. Dropping below your own limit doesn’t help anyone. Especially other freelance writers. How can raise the profile of the profession and allow everyone to eek out a living if you’re willing to work for next to nothing?

Of course there are many people who will charge much less, but they tend to be resident in countries where the cost of living is much less than here in the UK. I am, however, a firm believer in 2 phrases;

“You get what you pay for” and;
“Buy cheap you buy twice”

Never have 2 sayings been more applicable that to those seeking professional writers. Paying £10 for a lengthy article or website content is simply not going to attract the interest you wanted and fail in its reason for being there.

So, here are my top 5 tips for new writers;

Set yourself a baseline

Be it an hourly rate, rate per word or daily rate. set it and stick to it, even if you don’t get the gigs right away. They will come and you will get better quality exposure.

Maintain your standards

Never be tempted to take a job at rock bottom rates just because its there. There are however, exceptions to this rule if there is a greater value to you than just the financial recompense; Will this lead to repeat work? Will it get you great exposure? If the answer is no then steer clear.

Take time out

Don’t think that you need to sit all day staring at your compute waiting for that elusive email to appear. Get out of the house and go for a walk or read a book, but sitting staring at your screen all day doesn’t help.

Set your working hours

Everyone works in different ways, but most people are more productive in the morning. For me I get up early and start work before taking the kids to school, and then come back, eat breakfast and start again around 9:30am until 3pm when its back out for the school run. I then work for another couple of hours but switch off at 6pm at the latest.

Love what you do

Be passionate about your work and what you do. It will show in your work, and it will keep you focused. Working from home can be incredibly distracting but loving what you do can keep you on track and away from cute kitten videos!

So love what you do and do what you love, but don’t compromise your integrity or sell yourself short. Be proud of what you do and have confidence in your ability and it will shine through in your work.

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