Posts Tagged ‘freelance writer’
Writing can be a very lucrative and self-fulfilling career, but it hardly ever starts that way for anyone. You might love writing. You might be good at it. But unfortunately you need a couple of more qualities to start your writing career and accomplish your goals as a writer. Below are the 7 essential characteristics freelance writers need to possess:
I’m one of the most impatient people you can ever meet. I get bored very easily and I can’t wait for anything or anyone without doing something useful and/or fun on the side. And yet, I chose freelance writing as a career.
Now, I love writing. I am addicted even. So the girl who can’t even stand to wait for a couple of minutes chose a line of work where response times range from weeks to months, editors don’t necessarily write back, and you are required to spend countless hours researching, marketing, networking, writing, re-writing, editing and more re-writing.
Yet, I can handle it. After all, it is about knowing what’s at stake and jumping to it accordingly. It is not a walk in the park most of the time, but it is still worth it for me. How about you?
The editors may not receive your e-mails, or they may not feel inclined to respond, even with a standardized rejection reply. Yes, they are incredibly busy but so are you. While they have to read millions of queries and make decisions, you are a one-person company. So if the guidelines say follow-up, follow-up. If there is still no response, follow-up for the second and final time. Just remember not to leave your bedside manners, even if you get nothing in return for a carefully crafted, perfectly relevant query. After all, you need a good reputation. And there is the fact that you probably submitted that query because you liked the publication. So you might want to pitch again.
The idea is to keep it polite and professional. If you think this sucks, please read the first must-have freelance writer characteristic on this list again.
You will get rejected. Every writer does, even the ones who turned into international bestsellers. So never take it personally. Make sure you work constantly to improve yourself, and keep submitting your work elsewhere.
P.S. When the going gets tough, just remember John Grisham’s first novel is A Time to Kill. He published The Firm first, because A Time to Kill was rejected everywhere. And after The Firm, everyone was after A Time to Kill, which also became a bestseller.
And you need to have fun. You need to be capable of fun, even when you want to slap someone or cry. You are writing because you love the craft. There is no reason to keep doing it if you are feeling miserable all the time.
You don’t need to be obsessive, but you do need to keep track of every idea, bill, manuscript, article and everything else that is related to your writing. You also know what to find and where. There is a great blog for writers that concentrates on the organization side of things. Check out OrganizedWriter.com for tips and resources.
You might be the type to start a project at the latest minute possible. I know I am- for the most part. But you need to make sure you keep the deadline and make sure your final draft meets every requirement, and is a good read.
You are your own boss, so you better be an understanding slave driver. Notice the oxymoron there? But it is true. You need to work really hard to make it as a writer. But of course you have the flexibility to choose your hours; as well as where, when and how you work. As long as you put in the necessary work, there is no reason you can’t enjoy the freedom.
Intimidated? Don’t be. You just might realize your personality and mind can work in mysterious ways to help you realize your dreams.
This is how wikipedia defines freelancing:
“A freelancer, freelance worker, or freelance is somebody who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer long term.”
Pay attention to the “free” in the word freelancing. Freelancing is -by definition- different than a regular desk/office job. You don’t have one boss, you don’t have set working hours. You don’t typically make the same income every month.
Unfortuntely, economy is almost always tough, and many employers in the marketplace have some unreasonable demands, or just demands that resemble more of the demands of a controlling office boss.
Below are some of these unreasonable, un-freelance-like demands that I run into often:
1. Hourly pays
Some employers want to pay you hourly. While it can make sense for some writers, most freelancers like to freelance because of the freedom.
Some jobs can take you 30 minutes and some can take 4 hours. When you are expected to bill in, your performance and motivation can dramatically decrease.
Of course if you manage to snatch a writing job that pays $500/hour, by all means please take it. I know I would.
But jobs that pay $10/hour? Thanks, but no, thanks.
2. Webcam on desktop turned on
There are freelance job sites (such as odesk) and employers who request that they can see you working. It is a very odd demand, as even your ex office boss didn’t probably have a chance to watch you directly, unless you worked in a very small office.
How can you concentrate or feel liberated when you know someone can observe you anytime? Yikes.
There are many bidding job sites, such as Elance, Guru, oDesk and more.
The concept on these sites is that an employer gives you his budget and you estimate how much your time should be worth. Then you make a bid at a common denominator.
But of course the employer will be likely to choose the writer that charges less, given that the credentials are equal. This doesn’t work in the favor of the writer as the cheapest most qualified writer tends to get the job. The only benefits here is obtained by the employer.
And since most projects don’t really involve impressive budgets, these bidding sites decrease the amount of money the writer is going to make.
4. No-pay jobs and Internships
The idea behind applying to a job is to make money. Some job posters do not disclose how much they are offering. And you quickly find out that this is mostly because they don’t intend to pay at all. Under the name of internship, recognition and work-experience, you are supposed to work for free. But who is going to pay for the bills?
5. Very low pay
Some businesses ask you to turn in about 10-20 articles a week. This is doable, unless you are expected to get $5 or less for each article. Then why would you do it? You could write whatever you wanted for user-generated content sites, and maybe earn even a little more, without being obliged to write about something you don’t have control over.
I am not defending content mills blindly, but I am really opposed to taking $5/article jobs. The lowest I ever went for was $10/500 words -on a topic I could write my eyes closed. Let me put it this way: I used to talk about these topics (my favorite bands) all the time when I was in high school. No one paid me then.
If an article is going to take you a lot of time, and it is not on a subject you’d write about even for free, even $20/500 words is low.
6. Low pay, but maximum quality requirements
Some companies do offer to pay you $1-5 per article, and moreover, they demand the quality of a $50-100 article. Yes, you heard right. This is not any more rational than a guy who demands a loyal wife while he wants to be allowed to sleep with whomever he wants. These are things that should never happen!
If noones takes these jobs, no matter how desperate they are, people won’t post it. If there is no supply, how can there be demand?
7. Only employing people from certain countries
Many employers have some specific location requirements. Of course being from New York would help if you are to write New York-related articles. But if you are going to write about universal topics, such as blog traffic tips, what difference does it make if you are in New Zealand and your employer lives in Japan?
8. Only hiring people of 5 years’ experience
Some jobs go very overboard with their requirements, such as demanding multiple years of experience. While experience is a bonus, not all jobs really require that much experience. Sometimes experience is wanted only for experience’s sake alone.
I mean, if you have 5 years of experience, chances are you are not applying to jobs to get clients. Clients are contacting to hire you.
9. Phone calls and face-to-face interviews
One of the most appealing things about freelancing in the 21st Century is that you can handle anything via an internet connection and a laptop.
However some editors like to treat their freelance writers as they are office-bound, or as if freelancers need to live nearby. While it might be helpful on some occasions, having to meet/see your employers is something you did frequently when you weren’t freelancing.
I’m not opposed to the occasional skype conferencing, but commuting to offices? It wouldn’t work unless you lived close to where the hiring company is located. Remember one of the most attractive things about freelancing versus office jobs: Eliminating commute!!!!
10. Revenue-sharing job ads
Many internet writers take advantage of revenue sharing sites such as Factoidz. I did. I actually still do. It is fun to get paid while I do article marketing and link-building.
However when I am searching for writing gigs, I don’t want to run into ads of a million sites who only pay according to your adsense earnings. There are already many websites that work in that fashion. If I were satisfied with their paychecks, I’d write for them only. After all, nothing hardly beats the freedom of writing about whatever you want.
11. Job ads of sites already famous for revenue sharing such as Hubpages and Suite 101
It might be a blessing for newbies to find out about as many revenue-sharing sites as they can but for a more seasoned web-writer, it becomes old and boring news. Because chances are you already checked out Hubpages or Suite 101 ages ago and you are either writing for them or you aren’t.
I really don’t want to see their ads on my favorite job-hunting sites!
What writing job requirements do you find against freelance nature? Do you agree with any of these 11 pet peeves of mine? What are yours?
Applying to individual freelance job ads can sometimes be a tedious process. You might also feel like you would rather self-publish (it can be a book, or simply blogging) than going through all the formality of writing cover letters, customizing resumes and selecting or creating appropriate samples. Still, while it is not the most fun activity for writers, applying to different freelance gigs has many benefits:
Benefit 1: Market Research
You get to see which jobs are in demand, what’s expected of the blogger/writer (resumes, samples, blogs, years of experience, etc…). You also see what kind of jobs are available and how much which jobs pay.
Benefit 2: Publishing Industry Research
Sometimes there will be ads from publishers that they are expecting manuscripts. Now, you can and should search about them and see if they are trustworthy. But if they are in the clear, the good thing about these types of ads is that even though you don’t happen to have the manuscripts or collections of poetry they want. You will be able to add names to your list of publishers. Because you will be able to know what kind of stuff they are usually in need of, you can submit your work accordingly later on.
Benefit 3: Different Kinds of Jobs
There are jobs for editors, copywriters, article writers, article rewriters, website content with seo focus, novelists, bloggers, fiction writers, photographers, researches, business plan or grant writers and more.
You can analyze your strengths and weaknesses, along with your interests and expertise and be able to work as a writer in more areas than one.
Benefit 4: Enhanced Address Books
Some of these jobs come from craigslist. It is free to post ads on that site so many people choose their service. After all, who doesn’t like a respected website that doesn’t charge? The only problem with it, however, is the contact address of the poster of the job ad. More often than not, people choose to give a craigslist address. The address expires after the job is gone so you don’t have to option add the contacts and keep them for future use.
However some ads include the actual e-mail address of the editors. So even though one job isn’t right for you or you are not here, you can always use it later if you have a relevant sample. There is also the fact that craigslist addresses allow a very small attachment size in total. So a colorful CV with a nice picture, along with writing samples may be out of the question. However when private addresses are given, you are only limited by the storage capacity of your email account.
Benefit 5: Traffic to Your Blog and Articles
When you apply for jobs, you will often be asked to show samples. But most employers are happy with links to your published work online, especially if the job in question requires writing for the web. So you give links to your relevant articles. If the article is on a website where you earn money per page view, you will have at least guaranteed one view. If the link is to your blog, you will have gained one unique visitor. If the employer doesn’t hire you but likes your writing all the same, you might just have gained a reader.
Benefit 6: Entering the Database
Many employers would rather choose to work with writers they have already worked with. And instead of going through all the hassle of posting another ad, they would rather look at resumes and samples they have already acquired. There is a big chance that a writer who wasn’t perfect for the previous job might just be the right person for the current gig. It is always beneficial to be in the database. Because the next job might just find you.
Benefit 7: Customizing Your CV
I had previously discussed that looking for a job in writing wasn’t all that different than job-hunting in other areas – Customizing your CV is necessary in all professions if you are applying for different positions.
You don’t want to send movie reviews to a fashion editor. And you don’t want to send an academic article when you are applying as a gossip columnist.It takes time, but after a while, it becomes easier to prepare quality resumes, customized appropriately for the targeted job and it won’t take much of your time after you have gotten used to the process.
Plus, keep in mind that there are many individuals out there looking to hire writers to write their resumes for them. If you become good at this area, you can use your acquired skills to help others and make money through the process as well.
So do you agree with these benefits? Do you have any more benefits to add? Let me know.