A Look Inside The World of Freelance Writing

Entering the world of freelance writing is an adventure that is as challenging and tough as it is captivating. The term freelance writing itself might sound like an easy-going and creative pursuit. However, one of the first lessons for newcomers is that freelance writing is far from being carefree. In reality, it often lacks the creative freedom many expect.

New freelance writers soon encounter three hard truths after they find themselves overwhelmed with more tasks than they can handle without losing sleep.

  1. There’s little romance in the day-to-day of freelance writing.
  2. The job title loses its novelty quickly in most social situations.
  3. One should not expect to make a fortune from freelance writing alone.
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Freelance Writing vs. Creative Expression

To those new to the field, freelance writing may initially seem like an effortless endeavor, especially for individuals whose only experience with writing is the act itself. They often mistake it for something closely related to creative writing.

Yet, the reality is that freelance and creative writing share little in common. A creative writer might spend hours or days at their computer without needing to fact-check a single detail. In contrast, a freelance writer devotes a significant portion of their time to ensuring the accuracy of their content more than the actual writing process itself.

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Verifying Facts

Every piece of information that a freelance writer considers must undergo rigorous fact-checking to ensure its accuracy, to avoid any risk of appearing uninformed. This involves not only verifying sources but also ensuring the reliability of these sources before citing them in their work. Consequently, freelancers often rely on a select few trusted sources, once they’ve confirmed their credibility.

verifying facts

Before incorporating these sources into their work, freelancers must double-check each piece of information for accuracy, leading to a preference for repeatedly citing the same reliable sources.

Mastery of Writing Styles is Crucial for Freelancers

The creative writer enjoys the liberty to select, blend, or switch styles as they please, a luxury not afforded to freelance writers. Freelancers must identify their unique voice early on and remain consistent with it. Initially, they are bound by the style requirements of the topics they cover.

writing styles

It is essential for freelancers to be familiar with AP, Chicago, APA, and other writing styles to the extent that they can accurately apply them in articles, press releases, or blog posts.

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Versatility: The Freelancer’s Key to Success

Many newcomers to freelancing dream of specializing in one area, like content writing, content marketing, or eBook writing. However, reality quickly sets in, revealing that versatility is the key to earning. To stay competitive and profitable, freelancers must be adept at producing a wide range of content, from articles and blog posts to eBooks, ecommerce content, SEO, CRO press releases, and even creative pieces. Without these skills, a writer’s demand in the market diminishes significantly.

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Adapting to the SEO and CRO Era

Freelancers unable to deliver SEO-optimized content will find themselves in a perpetual job hunt. In the current post-Panda era, understanding and implementing SEO and CRO principles is not optional but a necessity. This knowledge enables freelancers to produce content that not only meets client needs but also performs well in search engine rankings.

adapting to SEO

Navigating the Challenges of Demanding Clients

Working with a variety of clients is part of the freelance writing landscape. While many clients are understanding and easy to work with, there are some who believe they possess complete knowledge of freelance writing. These are the clients who can push a writer to the brink with endless revisions and unreasonable demands.

The moment you’re tasked with creating a 300-word article based on dual keyword sets and asked to produce 30 different versions of it, the concept of an ‘outrageous request’ becomes crystal clear.

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Unrealistic Deadlines

Such clients might overload you with tasks, then set a 24-hour deadline for a workload that realistically requires six hours per piece. Others may assign an impractical job as a strategy to avoid directly terminating the contract.

unrealistic deadlines

By setting deadlines that are impossible to meet, they aim to force you into resignation, thereby creating a pretext to dispute payment for the substantial amount of work already delivered.

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Preparing for the Inevitable Dry Spells

Freelance writing can sometimes feel like a feast or famine profession, with periods of back-to-back projects followed by weeks where work seems to vanish. Wise freelancers plan ahead for these dry spells by saving.

However, encountering clients who disappear right before payment, taking both your hard work and expected earnings, is a harsh reality, albeit a less frequent one.

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Dealing With Challenging Editors

For those new to freelance writing, encountering editors through client projects is inevitable. Being open to constructive feedback and willing to revise your work is essential. Many editors are skilled and can significantly enhance your work’s appearance.

editor editing

Yet, there are editors whose understanding of a quality article or blog post is questionable, leading to demands or alterations that compromise your professional image. It’s important to note that an editor’s word can influence a client’s decision to continue working with you, so navigating these relationships with care is crucial. Cherish the good editors you encounter.

A Realistic Glimpse into Freelance Writing

On the surface, freelance writing might seem like the ideal career, with tales of substantial earnings and a passion for writing fueling the dream. There’s no shortage of blogs and websites enticing you with the promise of a lucrative career as a “professional freelance writer.”

However, let this serve as a caution: the path of freelance writing is far from easy. It’s a field that can be just as demanding, if not more, than many other careers.

freelance writing
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If writing is your passion and you believe you can thrive as a freelance writer, then by all means, pursue it. But be aware of the challenges ahead. While freelance writing can indeed be fulfilling at times, success often requires more than just luck. Be diligent, stay alert to job opportunities, and with a careful approach, you might find your place in the world of freelance writing.