10 things every freelance writer needs
Freelance writing can be a joyful way to make a living. But like every mode of earning a living there are needs and requirements that need to be met to make it a smooth ride. Here are 10 of the most important ones
For any freelancer to consider writing as a serious job the workspace should be clearly defined. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the bedroom, on a corner table, or in the living room sitting on a couch, the main thing is that it is should be a place the writer identifies as ‘my writing space’. Man is habit forming creature, and the habit of coming into that space will help in getting the writing juices flowing.
Like the writing space, a freelancer should also make the habit of writing at certain hours. Most freelancers, at the beginning at least need to hold down a regular job to make ends meet. Therefore the time that is set aside for freelance writing needs to be one that is optimal. The writer shouldn’t be exhausted after an 8 hour shift, and neither should the writing affect the performance on the day job either. It is usually enough to invest a couple of hours afterhours, preferably after errands have been run and family matters handled.
The Supporting Cast
A freelancer can not live alone. Most writers have to deal with family members and friends during a normal day. And sometimes that can pose a problem. Family members should be informed that the time spent writing the articles is a time off, just like going to a regular job. They should be able to accept the fact that for the few hours the writer is in his den, it is a no-no to make contact, unless it is to announce a major disaster, that is.
Some people prefer to write using a pen and paper. That is fine. But to get the articles ‘out there’ they have to be transcribed into electronic format. And that is usually done using either computer or a laptop. If a freelancer is thinking of taking the writing to the next level then it becomes a wise decision to invest in a computer of good quality. Major disasters, like total loss of articles can be avoided by simply opting for a few more dollars and buying a sturdy computer.
Next after the hardware is of course the internet. Any serious freelance writer needs to make sure that there is a reliable internet access. While this is taken for granted in the developed world, there are other countries where brilliant minds are held back from putting their works out because of either the internet access being too unreliable or way out of their economic reaches. It also becomes a major point if the freelancer plans to continue writing articles on vacation to an exotic yet unconnected location. In this case mobile internet connection methods, like CDMA, should be taken into serious consideration.
In order to get a steady income, freelance writers need to look for jobs. And when applying for these jobs, the writers are usually asked to demonstrate their writing skills. A good way to do this would be by creating a showcase. This can be a website, where the writer can post a few articles online where the prospective employers can see it. There are free sites like Blogger and WordPress that can prove to be a valuable help in bagging the job.
Support here implies ‘support of the body’ – the chair. A writer will find that the hours will flow unnoticed once the mind tunes into the writing. But that can be dangerous thing to the overall health of the writer if the chair is not ergonomic. The risks of blood clotting and leading to major health failures are high in people who tend to sit for too many hours. Therefore a wise writer would choose a chair, and even a desk, that meets health standards. And even then, care should be taken to have regular breaks at hourly intervals.
Good writers are usually good readers. They tend to read almost any written thing on any given topic. They are curious. While having the natural tendency to be happy to read anything is a boon to writing, sadly not all writers have it. In fact most writers prefer to specialize in their subject area. That might work if the intention is to write for one major publication, for example. But the whole idea of freelance writing is being able to churn out good articles on any given subject. Of course the internet helps, and with a little research almost all topics can be tackled. But having read about a topic beforehand makes the words come out naturally as the articles are written from a point where the writer already understands the subject.
Almost all god writers have the discipline to write a certain amount of articles or spend a few hours a day doing the writing. If a writer considers taking writing to the next level, the discipline should be ingrained right from the start. Allotting a few hours a day, whether a good article comes out or not, is a good idea. Later, when there comes a time to work on major or multiple projects, the writer will not have a problem with having the mind spill out words that contribute to the making of a great article each and every time. In fact, even if he doesn’t have work to do, a writer should just sit and write about any topic to post on either the showcase or write-and-get-paid sites.
Finally, the last but most important point: passion. In this case it is the passion to write. Writing is not a fad thing. It is something that is inside the freelancer that can not be faked or attained. It is either there or it isn’t. A writer writes because it is what comes naturally. It is not for the money, it is not for the fame. It is for the sake of writing. Most of the famous writers died paupers. While some may try to write without the love of it, they will eventually fizzle out and let their manuscripts gather dust. But a true writer just keeps going on.