You’re a freelance writer, which means you’ll be doing a lot of typing and shaping of the written word. However, the landscape for writers is changing rapidly. Before you know it, the ability to write might not be enough anymore. Whether you’re interested in blog writing jobs, content creation, grant writing, or other forms of writing for a career, there may come a time when you’ll need to know basic videography. [Read more…]
It took me a while to get Twitter, but I have found myself using the microblogging platform more than I use Facebook these days. While your Twitter account is public by default, which can be a big turn off for those who are concerned about privacy, I have discovered the platform to offer more interesting information.
The links that people share are more relevant (to my interests). The conversations are snappier and hold my attention longer. And yes, I don’t see gory photos of people who have been injured or are sick and need help. (Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against promoting charitable causes, but I find it difficult to stomach very graphic images.)
On another note, I have been thinking if Twitter can also offer some interesting benefits to writers in terms of improving our skills. As you may already know, Twitter has a 140-character limit. That fact is where everything revolves around.
The value of brevity
Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras was supposed to have said “Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few”, and I suppose that he would have been a Twitter user if he were alive today.
While there are some cases when we have to expound and write long pieces, there is indeed beauty in being able to get your point across in as few words as possible. It takes skill, though, and if you need to work on brevity, I think Twitter is a great venue to practice.
The importance of accuracy
More than having to keep it short – 140 is the magic number – people who use Twitter (and who care) also need to pay a little more attention to the accuracy of their message. And when I say accuracy, I am referring to grammar. There are many ways to shorten a sentence, but not all of them equate to proper use of grammar. You may be scoffing right now, but I have found myself pondering on the wording of some tweets to ensure that I get my message across, use the most appropriate grammatical structure, AND keep to the 140-character limit. It is a wonderful challenge at times!
To answer the question I posed from the get go, yes, I think that Twitter can be a useful tool for writers. Of course, the temptation of being lax (as I sometimes am, also with text messaging) will always present itself, but if you slightly alter your perspective, you can derive more from Twitter than simply interacting with other people online.
Are you on Twitter? Follow us @freelancewj, and let’s try to keep each other’s writing skills sharp!
Since there are a lot of aspiring freelance writers in the Freelance Writing Jobs community, I thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the most important skills that freelance writers must have if they want to have a chance at being successful.
In other words, if you want to get paid for your writing, you need to make sure you can do the things in the list below.
If you can’t spell and you choose not to use a dictionary or effective spell-checking tool, then you won’t get far as a freelance writer.
2. Follow Grammar Rules
If you don’t know where to put commas and when to capitalize, then you need to learn how — quickly!
As you write, you need to be aware of spelling and grammar, but it doesn’t end there. You also need to proofread your work. Keep in mind, proofreading your own work is never full-proof, but you should try to catch and fix as many errors and inconsistencies as possible.
4. Write Well
If you can’t write well, you won’t get quality writing assignments that can truly grow your career and business. Make sure you get feedback on your writing by joining a writer’s group or taking some courses. You can also pursue self-study online or through books about writing to ensure you can actually craft clear, compelling, and well-written content.
5. Market Yourself
You can’t be modest when you’re trying to get work as a freelance writer. Instead, you need to turn into a marketer and really sell yourself as the person for every gig! It takes a while to learn how to market yourself, so be prepared to spend time on this part of your business.
6. Research and Fact Check
In order to write, you’ll often need to do research, double check that facts used in your writing are accurate, cite sources, and make sure you can backup your claims. If research bores you, then freelance writing might not be right for you.
7. Learn New Things
The worlds of publishing and media are changing so fast that writers need to be prepared to write for a wider variety of media and to learn new skills applicable to new media. For example, writing for the web often requires a knowledge of search engine optimization writing techniques. Today’s freelance writers are constantly learning new things.
8. Think Like a Business Owner
Freelance writers who work for themselves are small business owners. They need to manage expenses, pay taxes, invoice clients, collect payments, and more. These are all business-related tasks that take up time but can’t be avoided.
9. Be Thick-Skinned
Freelance writers need to be able to handle rejection and criticism. If you’re easily offended when someone tells you they don’t like something you wrote, then freelance writing is probably not the best career choice for you.
10. Be Professional and Communicative
Freelance writers have to communicate with clients, editors, and more on a daily basis. You need to remain professional at all times. While the worlds of publishing and media are changing, they’re still proverbially small worlds — which means your reputation is at stake with every interaction because word travels fast within both worlds.