Freelance writing is an extraordinary profession. It takes diligence, concentration, dedication, and a commitment to others to do it well. Unlike creative writing, where the truth is something that can be bent and twisted to fit a plot, content writing has to be completely honest and give the reader valuable information that can be used in everyday life.
This is a commitment that is, by far, harder to stay true to than just about any other form of writing. If you are ready to make that kind of commitment, here are 6 steps that you may want to keep in mind in order to stay true to a craft that will pay fantastic dividends to those who truly love to write for the public.
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1. Write It, Hold It, Re-Write It
The first words that you lay down should come straight from the heart. Your emotional attachment to any particular topic should flow from you, staining the page with honest, unbiased, and completely original content. The truest form of self-expression always comes from the heart.
Unfortunately, heartfelt expression is almost always the worst kind of writing. Unless you are writing poetry, your true voice always comes from the rewrites. Once you have laid it all on the line in content writing, walk away.
The idea is to put distance between your heart and what you are really trying to tell your reader. Give it a day, and then come back to it fresh. Cut at least 20% or more of the sap during the rewrite. What you are left with will be a more concise form of what you were trying to convey. The rewrite is where your true voice lies.
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2. Editor, Enemy, Friend
If you are unable to separate heartfelt writing from true voice, and you are lucky enough to have an editor, he or she will do it for you. A good editor is someone who knows how to write from the heart, trim the fat, and leave a lean form of true self-expression while following the ultimate goal of reader value.
What they do to your writing may piss you off – at first – but once you realize that self indulgent writing is not the goal, you will also realize just how valuable it is to have the editor’s objective foresight on your side.
They usually know how to salvage what you are really trying to say and please the reader at the same time, making you both happy.
3. Freelance, Creative, Freelance
Content writing is a lot like truck driving. It is fun at first, but after a while, it is really easy to fall asleep behind the wheel. If you are a busy freelance content writer, one who is constantly writing to pay the bills and support a family, it may behoove you to pull into a truck stop from time to time.
Take a day or two every couple of weeks to write a poem, short story, or update your journal. Write in a way that open expression and heart-felt sentiment mean much more than it does in content writing.
Creative writing for yourself; writing that does not need to be edited or scrutinized in any way is always refreshing for the hardworking content writer that spends more time in fact than fantasy and truth than whim.
4. Deadline, Lifeline, Deadline
Deadline writing is a common occurrence for the freelance content writer. Every site owner I have ever written copy for has had a ridiculous deadline that just had to be met at all costs. If copywriting is your writing forte, yet you find yourself struggling to meet deadlines, look for a few clients that just want content, to break the stressful monotony that comes with deadline writing.
In the end, you will be happy for the freedom and thankful for the time spent not having to worry as much about maintaining your sparkling reputation.
5. Verify, Verify, Verify
Writing from the heart is great, especially when you have a good editor or already know how to trim the fat, so to speak. The trick is to always make sure that your heartfelt writing and more down-to-earth rewriting sticks to the facts as they pertain to the reader.
A rant that flows off-topic and delves into the world of conjecture is always damaging to your credibility as a content writer.
Verify what you write, and then verify the source you get your information from with another trusted source. Honesty in writing is just as important as true voice and self-expression of the facts. The rule is, be you, but be true.
6. Location, Location, Location
In real estate, location is everything. In content writing, the place that you give to your readers should be the best place for them to be to get the most from what you are trying to say. In other words, leave your reader on real estate that is a beachfront property and not the land of nod.
Informative, original content is far more valuable than a fact-filled post that does not open doors of opinion. Writing thoughtfully and exploring a variety of avenues and options (all based on fact) is better than giving one fact and leaving the reader to guess at where you were leading them.
In the end, draw your logical conclusion and then let the reader decide for themselves where they stand.