We all long to call ourselves writers, don’t we? If you ask me, being a writer has always been my dream, and today I live it, thanks to the internet.
Today, freelance writing is considered one of the most coveted jobs because you can do it from anywhere in the world. The perks of sitting in your comfort corner and earning while in PJs are enough to make one want to be a freelance writer.
However easy and comfortable that may sound, becoming a freelance writer without experience will demand a lot of hard work and patience on your part. So be ready for that!
When I had taken up freelance writing, I was an amateur without the least bit of knowledge in the field. But today, freelance writing is considered one of the most coveted jobs.
So if you’re thinking of ditching your day job and taking up writing as a work-from-home job, here are 8 things you need to know before you break into the world of freelance writing.
Rates and Payment
While freelancing comes with its own set of merits, the biggest challenge is that of payment. Payments can be made on the basis of rates per word, per write-up, or as per the working hours.
You can simply use this to your benefit and charge according to your convenience. Also, make sure that the rate you charge is neither too high (to fetch you no work) nor too low (to suffice for your efforts).
Since countries like India are offering copywriting services at lower rates due to the low cost of living, you may have to charge more economical rates, so that you find work for yourself.
However, do keep in mind not to lower your worth and settle for anything lesser than you deserve.
When seen from the perspective of paying taxes, freelancing comes with a significant benefit of several exemptions. If you are an amateur freelance writer, we suggest you maintain your books and accounts properly.
Although a tedious process, it can actually pay off when you finally have to file taxes. Since you will be a freelance writer, you can save up on professional tax, as that will be exempt for you.
Keep a proper record of all the invoices of your expenses so that you can calculate the deductions while filing for tax return.
Know your audience
The first and foremost thing that you must have a clear understanding of is about your readers when you become a freelance writer.
Since most newbies start with web content writing and SEO copywriting, you must remember to write in a voice and tone that is most appropriate to the targeted audience.
For example, if you are writing for a youth magazine, then you should use a more casual tone with the colloquial dialect. If it is a creative zone, then you can go out of the norms and write your heart out.
But if it is an informative medical piece, you must make it formal as you know the target will be people from the medical background or people looking for information regarding the issue.
To get a better insight, go through the published content on a site before writing for the same.
Stick to the brief
When you start your journey as a freelance writer, you will be told that writing skill is the biggest asset you can have. Although partly right, there are more important things that you must keep in mind before you kick start as a freelancer.
As a freelancer, you must learn to be specific to the requirements of a writing contract and deliver work as per the brief you are given by the editor. If the requirements are for a blog, then make sure you make it informal wherein you give a personal overview of the topic.
At the same time, pay attention to details. Make sure you are abiding by the guidelines of the site and maintaining the word limit for the content that you have been hired to write.
As a freelance writer, the foremost thing is access to reliable sources that you can use to conduct extensive research on the topic that you have given to write on.
The availability of a good search engine isn’t everything! You must know how to carry about detailed research and should know the right places to look for data relating to your content.
However, while using Google and other such similar search engines, you must know the sources that you can trust. For example, if you are writing an article on monetary and financial topics, then the official website of the World Bank and other business papers like The Economic Times should be the ideal options for you.
Put more real-life facts to make your piece more credible and relatable. And if you think you are not sure about something, just Google it instead of giving inaccurate information in your writing.
Learn SEO copywriting
It is a new era of digitalisation, and online content is taking over printed publishes. Search engine optimisation has become crucial to making sure that a piece of online content gets a higher search ranking to attract more readers.
Assignmenthelp says “it becomes vital that you learn the various techniques to make your writing SEO compatible. Before you start pitching for work, do make an effort to know more about keywords and the different rules relating to them.”
Learn how to use and where to place keywords, so that your writing can be optimised to the fullest. Having said that, also remember that whatever you write, people will use it, not the search engine. So make sure that your content is not written around a keyword.
As a writer, your work does not end after you are done writing a piece. Editing is the key to good copywriting, and therefore you should get into the habit of re-reading your copy as many times you can.
Revising your writing helps you to make changes to the tone and style to make it even better. When you are composing an elaborate piece, it is quite likely to make mistakes or miss words in between.
Effective editing helps you to fix such issues so that you deliver blemish-free work. Also, keep aside some time to proofread your writing for grammar and spelling mistakes.
While you can use many tools available online, I suggest you read it yourself because the human brain can trace errors that at times the software fails to catch them. Once you’re done revising, give it the last read to make sure that the content is coherent.
Plagiarizing is the biggest hurdle for any writer- be it a freelancer or not. It can have fatal consequences for your professional career and can taint your reputation.
Now, you would not want that, right? So when you are writing content for online publishing, make sure that you do not copy or borrow material from someone else’s article.
There are several online plagiarism checkers available that can detect even the slightest trace of piracy in your writing. So beware!
I am not telling you not to use ideas at all. But if you do, make sure that you do it legally. If you are wondering how to apply ideas in an appropriate way, the answer is citations.
Simply cite the references of the sources that you have taken information or ideas from in your content. Another way to use ideas is by quoting the author. This will make your work more credible and therefore get your more work.
While being a writer can be a fun job where you can give vent to all the creativity within you, being a freelance writer can have its share of challenges too.
Unlike full-time work, the incomes will be a lot more inconsistent as work will depend upon the seasonal demand. At times, there will be an influx of projects while sometimes there will be none.
So make sure that you have some saving that you can rely on. But again, what is the best thing? The fact that you save time on the commute and can work from the comfort of your house gives the best opportunity to grow as a writer.
So what are you waiting for? Go kick start your career as a writer today. Good luck!
Nathan William is an engineer by fate and a writer by choice who offers to do my assignment for students. Besides being an active blogger, he loves honing his culinary skills.
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