HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR FREELANCE WRITING SKILLS IN FIVE EASY STEPS
Let me start by saying that writing is generally difficult.
Even the most educated native English speakers may find it hard to write, especially on a professional level.
Don’t get me wrong; this has nothing to do with one’s educational background or nationality. I’m simply saying that it takes a genius writer to be able to write contents that can engage and enchant.
Not to worry if you’re not a genius writer. As a matter of fact, you can learn to write like a genius if you’re willing and determined enough to put in some real hard work.
Note that there are a lot of highly successful non-native English freelance writers out there. If they can do it, so can you. Here are some basic steps that can help you become a master of words who can write persuasive copies, and contents that go viral.
- MAKE OUT APPROPRIATE TIME AND SPACE TO WRITE:
I know we’ve been told that you can work from anywhere and at any time as a freelance writer, but you have to do yourself the favour of being disciplined about it. If your aim is to be a professional freelance writer, then you’ll have to be professional about it.
Being disciplined and professional about freelance writing means you have to, first of all, create quality time and space for writing. Your sitting room sofa is out of it, and so is your bed. Find a proper work environment with a suitable desk and seat to go. You can have a separate room in your home as your office, or you can create a work corner in your bedroom/sitting room. If you’re disciplined enough, you can stay at home all day and work without being distracted by the feeling to take a nap or a snack. But if you know you can’t handle distractions, then you’ll have to help yourself by leaving your house to, say a library, or a restaurant, or any other location away from your home where you can work comfortably with no distractions.
- START FROM THE VERY BEGINNING:
I remember back when I was a child, I always feel the need to write something down, or to draw something. Sometimes, I make patterns and symbols, and I’ll give them meanings that make sense to me alone and no other person. Now that I think of it, I’ve come to realize that those years were my formative years as a creative writer, and it stuck with me as a habit. But being a creative writer is just a little aspect of being a freelance writer. So, when I decided to go pro, I had to face the reality that I need to start all over from the beginning to learn the ropes if I must make it as a good freelance writer.
What is the point here?
The point here is to know the basics of writing. It does not matter if you have to start from the beginning, like learning writing mini skills. Talking about mini-skills, here are some tips to get you started in the right direction.
- Learn to write good sentences with no form of errors – typo or grammar.
- Always include questions in your writing to make it more conversational.
- Learn to use stories to engage your readers and make your points clear.
- Make use of short sentences or phrases that are easy to remember.
- Master the skill of punctuation; it can give a whole new meaning to your contents.
The more you practice all of these (and more), the more you’ll grow and get better at writing.0
- READ! READ!! READ!!!
Here, we’re all about writing, but it goes without saying that readers make better writers. Reading as much as possible will help you in the following ways.
- Get exposed to new things
- Write better
- Prepare before writing (or taking any other action)
- Get other people’s point of view
- Keep your brain alive
- Boost your imagination and creativity
Still on the issue of reading, it will really go a long way to help you as a freelance writer if you have other established freelance writers/bloggers that you look up to. You can read their blog posts, and practice to write like them. It is called “finding inspirations by studying the masters”.
- WRITE ALL THE TIME:
If you must become a successful freelance writer, you must practice writing all the time; make it a habit.
There is no such thing as too much emphasis when it comes to the need to write all the time; write all the time. If you really want to improve your freelance writing skills; write all the time.
Switch off your phone, set your timer to thirty minutes, and start writing. This will give you the feel of urgency, and distractions will tend to reduce. Do that as often as possible and it becomes a habit.
It will also help if you do not write just for yourself. Like, what is the need of writing all the time when no one gets to read them, right? You have to find a way to share what you’ve written with an audience.
Create written posts for your social media accounts on a regular frequency. Use social media as a platform to share your writings with people, and watch their comments as well. It may be hectic and disheartening in the beginning, especially if the comments are negative; but it will get easier and better with time; so stick to it.
- HAVE A PLAN TO LEARN AND IMPROVE YOURSELF:
I have a little confession to make here; I’m the most unassuming and nonchalant person I’ve ever seen, and I can tell you first hand that my unassuming and nonchalant nature did more harm than good to me as a new freelance writer. But that’s in the past now. I’m more than 100 days sober and still counting.
I remember then, I’ll just wake up and start working with no plan or attention to any other thing. All I just wanted to do was write. I did not associate with other freelance writers, I read very little, I had no plans for the future; I was all about “the now”.
What caused this, you may ask?
Well, I landed this long-term writing contract, and the pay was fairly okay. So I was focused on impressing my client in the best way I can, and I had no intention of doing anything else. The contract ended after 17 months, and I was back to square one.
It was not easy to start all over from square one, but I had to. However, I learnt my lessons
One is to make out time to read a specific post and leave comments
Two, to be published as a guest writer on other people’s blog (guest posts) at least once every week
Three, send cold pitches every blessed day, and more importantly, to follow up
Four, Have my own blog where I can publish my work
Five, take courses from established persons to help me improve myself and become a better writer
So, every day I set out to work, I make sure I do not focus on my client’s work alone. I take the time to work on myself also. This is a very helpful tip to everyone that wants a sustainable business as a freelance writer.
Implementing these steps above can help you or anyone else become a better writer. They have helped me. Feel free to share tips that have helped you become a better writer so we all can learn.