How These Common Mistakes Made Me a Better Writer
A decision from the past
It has been quite a while since I started as a freelance writer. After spending more than five years in the field, I understand the pain of a budding writer and the troubles he/she goes through while starting a freelance writing career. Thus, I wanted to share my own story to learn from them and not repeat my mistakes when I started.
Initially, it was to supplement my regular income to enjoy my little comforts without splurging out my entire salary. However, as years passed on, I realized that I am not that bad at it. Moreover, the payments which I earned were quite decent.
As things started to look promising enough for me over the years, I decided to leave my regular job and concentrate fully on freelance writing. After spending more than six years as a metallurgical engineer, I finally took the plunge. Switching a career was the biggest decision I have ever made, but the realization came to me after a few months. I later realized it was only the beginning of what is to be a long journey.
The Journey Began
When I started writing full-time, I had no idea about the pay rates or the platforms to get a steady income by writing. I worked as a ghostwriter, almost for peanuts, connected through classified advertisements and personal contacts with clients.
However, I soon realized that I am looking forward to a life where I must forget money, fame, or recognition at the current pace. Scared, as I started exploring more options, I found out few more places to earn money by writing. I began using platforms like UpWork, Guru, Freelancer, etc., where I made more than what I was paid at that time.
However, there was a catch. I realized that I lacked many skills related to writing. Also, when I compared myself with other top-rated freelancers, I found that being unaware was my major fault.
Nevertheless, I started working on improving my skill sets to develop my stature as a writer. I started pitching different clients through UpWork and taking up projects with challenging subjects and higher payment offers. I got a few excellent offers, accepted them, and worked on them for a month.
I was happy in doing what I wanted – but again, I hit another roadblock. I worked relentlessly with three clients for a month, and it was time that I am paid now. However, I found both of the clients fake, and they suddenly disappeared in the thin air. I never received the expected payment, and they cheated me just like that. Not only the payments, they even reported my profile as fake, and that was the end of my story with UpWork.
The Change of Pace
After the UpWork debacle, I moved on and started looking for better opportunities that would allow me to sustain myself as a freelancer. I started writing through iWriter, DotWriter, and ContentGather, which let me earn decently for my work. However, I started realizing that a freelance writer in India is not a career choice. It is something that you do because you do not have any other options.
Throughout the journey, I learned another thing. If you choose to be a freelancer, either you have to compromise with the pay rates, or you will find that almost everyone will look down upon you.
True, being a freelance writer has its benefits. You can work whenever you want and can take up as much or as little work as per your wish. There are no location constraints or no fixed boss to breathe down your neck. You can spend as much time as you want to celebrate festivals, traveling to places, or enjoying yourself with your friends and family. Moreover, yes, there is money - a lot of it, to be honest.
However, there are some downsides to being a freelance writer too. You have no fixed salary, so there is always a chance that you may face financial hiccups. Freelancers are devoid of getting any promotions, and they do not earn any proof of service certification most of the time. Also, the chances of online fraud by scammers are high. Lastly, most freelancers work as ghostwriters, so they do not get any recognition for their work.
You must be thinking, why the hell people like me opt for freelance writing then? Well, there were no specific answers. Some do it for the money, others for learning the art of writing. A few get to start freelance writing, as they have nothing else to do. These are the facts that most content writers know but will not reveal.
The Road you should choose
Whatever your reasons might be, if you still want to earn a living through writing, be a full-time freelancer, you must avoid a few mistakes I made. You must stick to them if you look to grow fast and stop losing sleep over the workload or payment rates.
Before you start pitching to clients, research and select a niche that fits into your comfort zone, reach out to the leaders in your niche, know and learn the basics, and evaluate where you stand.
Create a profile, or better, a blog for yourself. You can write a few articles or share your thoughts on some issues. You might look like a novice, but make sure that you build up your online presence. Share your blog with friends and family and to people who care to read about what you have to say.
Most of the freelancers start working from platforms like Upwork, Guru, and Freelancer. These are quite good if you want to start, but keep scouting for other places, which can help you be a better writer. When you want to build a career as a freelance writer, these will not help you much in the more extended run. Your earnings will also be on the lower side unless you land yourself with a hefty offer. Even then, you have to pay a commission, or there are high chances of fraud if you decide to work outside a platform.
Keep yourself updated by learning new tricks and nuances of writing. Polish your writing and researching capabilities and learn different techniques to acquire new skills.
Once you identify and perfect your unique tone and style of writing, start looking for websites that pay you for writing. Some sites pay more for your work, and the rates increase as your level and expertise increase. You can earn more than $100 per article if you are decent enough with your work. However, it would help if you remembered that they only consider high-quality articles, so you must be at that level to earn regularly.
Once you are confident enough to take up more work and want lasting inflow money, start pitching to different clients in your niche. Get in touch with various organizations and make inquiries about their content requirements. Start cold pitching the clients by searching for them on networking sites and job portals.
The steps mentioned above helped me grow as a writer after leaving my full-time job and becoming a freelancer. It can help you too if you are willing to work hard, learn the basics, and master the art of taking defeat in your stride. The only golden rule that you should always remember is never to work for low rates and start writing whichever person pays you. Setting a standard and sticking to it is the only way that can help you to succeed in this field.
© 2018 Sandip Acharyya