writing onlineI get three types of questions about online freelance writing:

“What is the difference between freelance online writing and writing for print?”
“How to I find online writing gigs?”
“How do I actually land an online writing once I find one?”

Writing online vs. print

The biggest difference between writing for the online world and the print world is that reading online requires a screen.

Not only that, sometimes the screen is closer in size to a 3×5 card than even an 8-1/2×11 piece of paper. When you write online you’re not only writing for computer monitors, but for cell phones as well. Although screens get better and better, it still isn’t as comfortable to read onscreen as it is on paper.

The best way to improve on screen readability is to write short paragraphs.

Here’s why:

  • Since we know readers tend to scan, writing short paragraphs creates white space and makes comprehension in a hurry easier.
  • Making use of headings, subheads and bulleted or numbered points also helps break up the writing to make it easier to read.

Online writing has many things in common with print, at least the best of it does. One way to think of the difference is recognizing that the presentation is different.

Finding online writing jobs

You find online writing jobs the way you find any writing gig really. You can:

  • Search writing job lists like the one here.
  • Market yourself by telephone and/or email.
  • Networking and referrals.

If there’s any secret to finding writing jobs it’s to do whatever you’re going to do consistently, day after day after day.

Actually, probably the very best ways to find those great online writing jobs is to use a combination of all three.

Landing those online writing jobs

Getting an online writing job is partly a matter of timing and partly skill.

Timing seems to be a quirk of fate or luck.

But as has been said, we often make our own luck. In this case if you market yourself over and over again you’re apt to land a gig. It’s that kind of persistence that puts you in the way of luck as it were. For example, if you do a brief search with your favorite lists daily, and perhaps a more thorough search once  or twice a week, you increase your odds of getting hired.

The skill part of the equation is recognizing that your job is to solve the client’s problem. When you demonstrate you can do that you’re more likely to get hired – you certainly won’t get hired if you don’t convince them you can.

You demonstrate this by reading and responding to ads as carefully and completely as possible. When you’re talking with a potential client, you need to listen deeply and question adroitly so you understand their problem and then offer a solution you can perform, or point them in a direction that is truly helpful if you can’t. Of course, this skill isn’t automatic and it takes some time to develop your version of it – but it’s worth the effort.

What else do you think you need to know to be successful writing online?

Write well and often,

annesig

 

 

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{ 7 comments }

yes noIf you’re thinking about joining the ranks of successful freelance writers, or if you’re already writing as a freelancer and simply want to review how it’s going, here are some of the pros and cons, or cautions, about a freelance writing career.

Pros

The three major pros of freelance writing as far as I’m concerned are as follows:

Your time is your own

I love the fact that I can go to the market at 10 am on a Tuesday and not feel crowded, or that I can start work at 7:30 am after meditation, and that I don’t have to factor in commute time, or even getting dressed up to start writing.

Writing income potential is unlimited

In theory, there’s absolutely no limit on how much you can earn as a freelance writer. There’s little or no discrimination in who gets to write what. You could get rich, even seriously rich. Business Insider lists the top earning authors in October 2013 – they report the most earned is $95 million, and the least to be on this list is $12 million,

You’re in the writing business

If you plan on earning even a part time income you can treat your writing as a business. Depending where you are in the world and how much you actually earn, this may provide some tax deductions – check with a tax professional please. Fortunately, the business side of writing is a totally learnable skill. Being in business means taking our writing, income, marketing and yourself as a writer seriously. Which doesn’t have to be grim at all. Behaving like a responsible business person can actually open doors and expand your horizons.

Cautions

There are, of course, downsides to freelance writing. In fact the pluses can often turn into minuses in a hurry. Which is why this list of three is the same as the one above. I’m not at all sure these are cons (an argument against something) so much as cautions.

Your time is your own

Since there’s no one looking over your shoulder, it’s totally up to you to organize and discipline yourself to get the writing done. If you don’t sit down at your computer and write, the writing simply won’t get done. That seems obvious, but I find amazing ways to fool myself. That’s why I track my time.

Writing income potential is unlimited

Note the word potential. A hard truth about freelance writing is many struggle for years and never make a sale, particularly novel writers. Those who write web content and blogs for businesses, and who ghostwrite books for celebrities and lesser known people can make a nice yearly income. But it doesn’t happen all at once and writing is anything but a get rich quick scheme.

You’re in the writing business

I know. Some of you absolutely hate the idea of writing as a business. Some of you think it’s selling out; others just don’t want to be bothered. I can’t prove it, but I strongly suspect that those who aren’t willing to treat their writing in a business-like manner will eventually fail. It’s really a choice. Part of a business like approach is setting up your own schedule of writing fees.

Your turn… what’s the best and the worst of freelance writing for you?

annesig

 

 

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{ 8 comments }

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