When your income is determined by the amount of content you create, the pressure to be productive as a freelance writer can be debilitating. Don’t allow diminished output to be the white whale of your writing career. Increase your writing productivity with these six easy suggestions: Create a Flexible Schedule Freelance writers need a daily writing plan to stay on track, especially if they juggle simultaneous projects or write several articles per day. But when using a schedule, permit some flexibility. Don’t become so tied to your calendar that you deny your own creative impulses. Allow yourself to be inspired rather [Read more…]
I have hired dozens of freelance writers in my role as an in-house copywriter for a content conversion firm, and it never ceases to amaze me how many writers lack basic writing skills. Whether you’ve been a freelance writer for two months or ten years, there are always ways to improve your craft. Here are some specifics things writers can do to strengthen their writing: Use “is” Sparingly The most valuable lesson I took away from my upper graduate English coursework involves use of the word “is.” Here’s how it goes: if you can rework a sentence to remove use [Read more…]
Travel writing gigs are not as many as one would want them to be. I honestly do not know the reason for this, but what I do know is that there seems to be a glut of “What I did on this trip” type of travel articles and blog posts. That is quite understandable, but there is no reason for a travel writer to stay in that box. Traveling is such a wonderful experience. There are so many facets to it, which can be translated to writing. If you are looking for a little inspiration for your travel writing, take [Read more…]
I love spunky articles and blog posts. When a writer takes an unusual stance or approaches a topic with razor-sharp wit it makes me excited about a piece, often ends up in my saved/bookmarked file and is forwarded on through various social media channels. As much as I like an offbeat approach, I practically cover my eyes and cringe at some ‘devil may care’ stances that fall flat. One reason why these posts miss their mark is they lack true understanding of who is in their audience. There was a post from a PR rep that recently made internet waves. [Read more…]
A bullet point is a helpful little tool that helps break up content, smooth transitions and draw out important main ideas. They also help create more white space on the text or web page. When using bullet points remember to: Be consistent with content and style. Start each point with the same part of speech and maintain the same length within bullet point sets. Use main ideas. Bullet points are key to directing the reader – and their eyes – to the ideas that count. Clarify complex information. Complicated topics are best explained when broken up into bite sized pieces. [Read more…]
Parallel structure, or parallelism, is a basic concept that students learn in writing class. Over the years, we may forget the term, but the idea should continue to be applied. Whether you are writing for your personal blog or for a big client, avoiding faulty parallelism can help you get your point across more clearly. I think parallelism comes naturally to most people. As humans who appreciate beauty and balance, we easily detect if something is off. Take a look at this sentence: I like to play soccer and swimming. You don’t need to spend minutes going over that sentence [Read more…]
If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have already seen the great list of the 100 most commonly misspelled words that I tweeted yesterday. YourDictionary.com put together the list and it’s filled with words that most people have trouble spelling. I scrolled through the list and found several that often cause me to pause as my fingers fly across the keyboard. Accommodate and embarrass are two such words that always make me second guess myself. The best part about the list on YourDictionary.com is that most of the words include a helpful little clue so you can remember [Read more…]
As much as I love old school – old school hip-hop, pen and paper interviewing, in-person interviewing, library research, etc., I have to admit, the new school is pretty darn fun too. Everyday there’s a new blog on how writers/freelancers can maximize their efforts to get work, get noticed and build a reputation through social media. AND everyday there’s another writer who is quick to say, “Bah! I don’t use all that stuff. I’ve got a website, a solid client list and I’m good.” Those poor souls are wrong. They are also likely the same people who wanted to hang [Read more…]
Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to talk about some oldie, but goodie elements of article writing that are still important for writers. It’s easy to dismiss some tried and true techniques because of all the fancy, technological whiz-bangs available to writers, but when technology fails – and it will from time to time – it’s good to have something to pull out of your coonskin cap. Do I sound 100 years old yet? Good. Pen and paper interviews. Important. Reliable. Still in use even after the invention of the iPhone. Why? Because technology doesn’t have your best [Read more…]
Andrew Rosen published a post on Splashpress Media’s BloggingPro.com site today called “Bringing Old Content Back to Life: 5 Ways to Revive a Blog Post” that applies to freelance writers, too, so I wanted to share it with the readers here on Freelance Writing Jobs. A big part of writing is knowing when it’s time to remember that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to make an impact on an audience. If you write evergreen content for a blog or other media that can get lost in the clutter over time, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with [Read more…]
There are some words in the English language that are like nails on a chalkboard to me. I’m particularly sensitive to business-related jargon. Why? Because I always think if a person is hiding behind a bunch of jargon, buzz words and corporate rhetoric, they’re undoubtedly trying to cover up their lack of real knowledge on the subject at hand. Whether or not that’s true is up for debate, but I much prefer get-to-the-point, give-it-to-me-straight language over jargon-heavy fluff. So now that I got that off my chest, you’re probably wondering what my point is. It’s simple. While I’ll gladly admit [Read more…]
More than one person I know has said that they couldn’t work as a freelance writer because they don’t feel confident enough. I tell them that feeling confident is not a requirement; if I waited until I felt completely confident and I was wearing just the right outfit and the phase of the moon was just so, I would never reach out to any prospective clients. If you take how you personally feel about your job hunt out of the equation, you can get a lot more accomplished and be on your way to finding a gig that is a [Read more…]
We’re going to take a break from the 5 days, 5 Ways to Enhance Your Writing Skills series and answer a freelance writing question I receive pretty regularly. “What’s the difference between a blog post and an article?” In many ways they are the same and much of the information featured here can apply to both. There are, however, important ways they differ: Length Most blog posts are short – between 200 – 300 words. They may be longer, but the majority of posts are designed to give you information quickly before you lose interest – almost like a commercial. [Read more…]
We all have days when we feel as if we’re only going through the motions. Even during our most productive periods we can produce work that’s lacking a little..something. Maybe the tone is off or maybe it’s not getting the point across well enough or maybe it just needs…more cowbell. Don’t be afraid to use your voice Many writers stifle their voices in favor of more antiseptic writing. What we forget is that our clients hire us because they appreciate our voice and wish to use it. It’s OK to add personality to writing that isn’t supposed to be personal. [Read more…]
The other night The Wizard of Oz was on and I watched Dorothy and her crew sing about following the yellow brick road. It was a simple instruction, but it dawned on me the yellow brick road was a terribly convoluted roadway, with twists and turns all over place. Who were the city engineers on that project? Sheesh! Some ledes are the same way. They are good enough to hook the reader, but take so long to get to the point readers lose interest and turn the page or hit the back button. Here are a few rules of the [Read more…]
Ok, the first Lede (Lead) This!” didn’t go so well as we had no participation. Maybe it was the stunning cuteness of my little lion or the (hopefully) super busy week all our FWJ writers had, whatever the case we are going to try again. I’m a little late getting this up, it’s been a crazy week over here as well. Remember a good Lede (Lead) is what captures your audience’s attention and gets them to read the article. Brush up on your skills and get featured here at FWJ – the number one site for freelance writers! The Rules: [Read more…]
Last week I named a few things you shouldn’t say to an editor “5 Things You NEVER Say to an Editor” and the post was pretty darn popular so I figured it was only practical to give a couple of tips on things editor’s love to hear from writers. 5. “I need help.” Writers like to present a tough facade. They want to show they have everything under control and worry that asking their editors for help on a piece will cost them future work. On the contrary, editors love to know a writer will come to them for help [Read more…]
Great writers check and double check their resources to make sure they are not relying on hunches when it comes to editing their articles.
Sometimes normal sources of information just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you gotta have friends.
Yesterday we looked at scheduling time to research information, conduct interviews and prep an article in the first part of “Scheduling Time for Your Articles ” today we are going to wrap up this mini-series with a look at writing and editing. Schedule time to write the article. Once your preliminary work is complete it’s time to write. Short articles you may wrap up the initial draft in an hour or so, longer feature articles or more detailed subjects may take you anywhere from a couple hours to a couple of days. You should know your writing style by now [Read more…]
Getting comfortable with ‘just finishing’ is like cozying up to mediocre – it will just hold you back.
Every writer knows creating a great lead (lede) is key to a great article. It piques an audience’s interest and pulls them in for you to deliver the goods. What some writers fail to realize is a good ending or conclusion is just as important. We’ve all been there – one minute you’re reading a piece, zooming right along and then it just trails off… An article is not a novel, it shouldn’t have a cliffhanger. When writing a newspaper article, there are a few set standards for finishing up a conclusion, such as a final quote. Features have more [Read more…]
This week I am pretty disturbed at the amount of angst Deb received when she took a break from writing leads. There was a distinctive tone I heard in many of the comments that was very familiar…it was like so many of the writers I’ve had the opportunity to work with throughout the years. I heard a level of entitlement. I’m sure you’ll find it in every line of work, a host of people who like to stay in their comfort zone, particularly when that comfort zone has a bit of hand holding. As an editor, I love to work [Read more…]