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Do You Have What It Takes to be a Moneymaking Freelance Writer?

moneymaking freelance writerAre you on track to be a real moneymaking freelance writer?

A month or so ago I talked about the myths of freelance writing.

But what, really, does it take to earn a generous living with your writing? What follows are what I consider the basics for making money as a freelance writer.

You need to write reasonably well

Writing reasonably well is key to being a moneymaking freelance writer. But ‘reasonably well’ doesn’t mean you need a collage degree or deep studies in grammar. You do need some concept of complete sentences, simple punctuation, and how paragraphs work. I look back at some of my early, published writing, even after being edited by pros and see how much better I could have been. It was good enough.

You’ve got to read voraciously

Moneymaking freelance writers read widely, even indiscriminately. They read inside their current fields of interest and delve out into strangeness even if they don’t understand. They read fiction of all sorts and non-fiction on a wide variety of topics.

Reading widely not only plants new and interesting ideas in your brain, it also exposes you to writing of all sorts. Consciously or unconsciously you begin to notice the rhythms of published writing and such things as long and short sentences and how authors move from one point to another. As you absorb this information it informs your writing and helps you develop your own, authentic writing voice.

You’ve got to want to write

Writing has to be truly important to you. A moneymaking freelance writer loves the process of writing, or most of it. They actually like writing, not just being published. If you want to be published but don’t like to write you’re fighting an uphill battle. Spend sometime exploring those two concepts and be willing to be honest with yourself.

If you want to be moneymaking freelance writer you must be curious

Successful writers are curious. That’s one of the reasons they read so much. They want to know at least a bit about all sorts of things. Sometimes that curiosity leads them to a life-long passion for a particular topic, sometimes not so much. Either way they wonder and often even feel awe about what they discover.

You’ve got to be disciplined about your writing

Being a disciplined writer can mean any number of things. It might be writing every day, or writing X number of words a week. Your discipline will look different than mine and over time it will change. You may not be good at housekeeping; your car if you have one may be a mess. But if you’re to be a true moneymaking writer you will write regularly, find a way to meet deadlines and to handle enough of the business side, including marketing, to be able to keep writing.

There you have it – the real success secrets of freelance writing. What did I leave out?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, freelance writer


{ 8 comments… add one }
  • I think the discipline is a most important factor..
    Write daily, does not matter what you write, but writing daily is important to improve the writing.
    Luna Lovegood recently posted..Things I’d Rather Do Than Die by Christine Hurley DerisoMy Profile

  • I like the term “moneymaking writer” and it’s the last part that’s most critical, in my opinion. You can say a disciplined writer is a moneymaking writer. Write often and you’ll write well.

  • Sue Chehrenegar

    Your ability to make money writing will depend to some extent on how well you can shift from doing some writing on a volunteer basis, in order to gain experience, to the role of a paid freelancer. When I made the change, I got just $20 for one of my first paid newspaper articles. I had written about a project undertaken by a local Girl Scout troop. I knew about it because the leader was a friend of mine.

    I had helped the leader in other ways in the past, and had not been paid for my writing services. Still, another mutual friend heard that I had received $20 for my most recent article. She seemed shocked.

    I did not feel guilty, because I had been forced to take an early retirement. My medical condition is such that I could no longer handle all the tasks that I had undertaken before, when working in a biomedical laboratory.

  • You left out connections and serendipity. You can be a writer on par with Jane Austen, but if you don’t get your abilities noticed by the right person at the right time, you could end up churning out blogs for just $10 a piece. In other words, it’s very easy to fall into the myth of “work hard, and you will be rewarded,” a lure that content mills use. In fact, you have to make connections with people who either have the power to hire or who can recommend you to those who do. You also need to get on board when the publication is flush enough with funds to offer a decent rate rather than demanding you work for exposure only or for a pittance. The consequences of that is that you will be stuck in the realm of low rates, which are not a reflection of quality of work as much as they are of the resources or generosity of the publisher.

    • You’re right, Ariella, I did leave out connections. Thanks on picking it up.

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