Writing articles for WordPress on a blog can be a nice way of relaxing, letting go of daily tensions and a good method to control stress, but what about doing it as a work? What if you become a freelance writer?
Being a freelancer is not a garden full of roses but it is an experience that can be very fulfilling both for your income and your sense of accomplishment. Try asking a web designer how nice is to deal with customers, you’ll understand my point. In this guide I will share with you my personal experience, ideas and methods in hopes that it will inspire you to become a freelance writer.
Decide What You Want to Write About
Deciding what you should be writing about can be a tiresome experience if you are not a determined type of person. As a general rule, you should write about what you love the most. Settling for less or simply jumping on a trend is not an option. Writing for a blog professionally is not something that can be achieved with mild interest – you need passion.
People will want to read about your experience, your expertise and your opinions if it comes from a place where you are inspired to do it. Otherwise the articles you write will feel dull and empty. There is far too much content on the net for you to contribute with boring articles. When you write about something, your passion needs to be there.
Don’t Wait for it to Happen
Planning on writing something for a blog? Don’t plan too much or overthink it. When you become a freelance writer creating articles can be a painfully slow process if you schedule too much. Open up an empty page in your favorite editor and start writing. As a general rule, I’ve found it far easier to first focus on the broader idea and then add in main topics/titles. If you have the main topics written, the rest of the article will flow much faster and easier.
Create Your Own Blog & Resume
If you want to attract attention you need to have your own blog up and running. Pick an affordable hosting service to start a blog (one great option is Cloudways which starts at just $10/mo – you checkout my Cloudways review to learn more). After you’ve published enough content, consider creating your own resume online.
Although you can use free services like about.me, I always prefer my own domains. You can make your own resume online with easy tools and in no time. For the domain I suggest simply using your own name. In my case, alexvojacek.com is more than enough.
Use the Proper Tools
Before we dig in, please note that I work on Windows 10 so the tools recommended are for Windows users. Some are also available on iOS, but you’ll have to check the app store to be sure.
Compiling a resume can be very easy if you use the proper tools. While you could use one of these awesome resume WordPress themes, another great way to start up your own resume is with a free site builder such as Mobirise, Wix, etc. This handy tool will allow you to build a website in no time, just by adding modules, pictures and text. Once you have your website ready, it’s as easy as copying the files to your new hosting account and your site should be visible right away. Mobirise is an HTML website builder that works entirely code free so there is absolutely no need for any previous knowledge. Aside from moving files to your hosting and since it’s an HTML builder, it won’t need to create databases either!
Working on articles once you become a freelance writer will require some tools. If you love to write offline, Word is going to be your best friend. If you use Windows, be sure to add OneNote to your favorite set of programs. That handy tool will allow you to save content easily and sync it with the cloud. It’s very helpful when you have new ideas to write about and not enough time to make an actual new document. OneNote syncs with all your devices so it’s an easy way to make quick notes that could turn into full articles later.
If you edit all your articles by yourself, it’s a good idea to have basic knowledge in Photoshop. This tool allows you to manipulate pictures easily. If you’re not into Adobe you can always go the free route with GIMP.
If you only need to enhance, reduce or cut pictures there are plenty of free options online. A great option is the PicsArt photo editor – which give you access to more than 100 million photos, stickers, memes and more. Or upload your own images and use their advanced editor to change the exposure, erase backgrounds, add effects – basically anything you can do with Photoshop (and then some!).
Or you can also use something simple like Faststone Image Viewer, or Canva’s online photo editor (which doesn’t require you to install anything). It’s a miracle such powerful software is free to use. Make the most of it.
Using your own pictures in each blog post can be a problem if your topics are not technical or tangible. A good opiton is to use royalty free stock photos from sites like unsplash.
If you need to take screenshots of your work, directly from your desktop, just add a program such as Snipaste from the Microsoft Store (by the way, there is a desktop version too).
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Facebook is great for connecting with friends, but if job is what you’re looking for you’re not gonna find it there. Linkedin is a wonderful social network to find job. Make the most of it by adding connections and increasing your network. Don’t be afraid to post your articles on the network and introduce yourself to contacts that may be interested in your work.
I do not personally recommend subscribing to job networks like Fiverr unless you’re happy working almost for free. Online jobs websites are filled with competition making it almost impossible to land the good jobs. It’s 10 times better to create your own connections and find business owners interested in posting content weekly. Jumping from random job to random job is a solution that will drain your energy in the long run.
Be Active on Communities in Your Niche
I know I mentioned that Facebook is bad for jobs but one of its best uses is groups. Be it a developer community, a photography community or any topic you find interesting. Joining groups is a good way to find and get to know your audience for content once you’ve become a freelance writer. Always ask the group or community manager if publishing external content is allowed. Posting your work on Facebook Groups is a very useful way to expand your audience, reach and potential leads.
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
So, your first assignment is ready and you don’t know what to say. Has this ever happened to you before? Don’t be afraid to speak up. If the article is going to touch some difficult topics or you’re scared that it’s not going to go well, don’t stay quite. Say something. Be polite but do not hide your true motivations.
People want to read honest articles, even if they are technical. Companies will not get offended if you write something negative, as long as it’s respectful and well written. You have let go of the fear of not people not liking your content. There will always be people interested in what you have to say.
Maintain a Healthy Environment
After some time writing for blogs you will soon find out that your work gets edited, time and time again. That’s normal. You have to let go of your ego pretending that your work is always a work of art. Although it could be, any serious blog or magazine will have editors. Those people are in charge of tweaking the content, adapting it to fit the objective of the magazine and it is completely normal to get edited.
But don’t let the editing work to go unchallenged. Too much editing can change the primary message inside your article. As a rule of thumb if the content that gets edited is not fundamentally changing your idea then it’s fine. If you suspect that a specific edit is changing the article in a fundamental way, you need to make sure to communicate this to the editor.
Letting your employer know that edits have gone too far is a sane way of maintaining a healthy environment, provided you do it with respect and good manners (being a jerk will only make everyone angry).
Become a Freelance Writer – and Enjoy it!
You may write some awesome articles and some not so good ones. That is to be expected. Don’t force yourself to write a masterpiece each time. Remember that to become a freelance writer you will need dedication and commitment. With time, your articles will keep improving. The trick is to really enjoy writing them. If you manage to balance commitment with enjoyment you’ll have the best of both worlds. Who would not want that?
Do you have any other questions about how to become a freelance writer? Or are you a freelancer with more tips to share? Leave a comment – we’d love to hear from you!