Anyone can become a freelance writer. But successful “working” freelance writers all share ten characteristics. If your freelance writing career isn’t what you’d like for it to be, maybe you need to develop a few more of these characteristics.
1. A “working” freelance writer writes on a regular basis. That should be no surprise. But it’s probably the number one difference between people who dabble at freelance writing and those who make a living at it. “Working” freelance writers write every day. Even if they aren’t working on a particular writing assignment they’re usually writing something, even if it’s just updating their blog, posting to their website, or writing promotional materials for their writing and writing services.
2. A “working” freelance writer knows how to study the freelance markets. He takes the time to get to know the publications he wants to write for BEFORE he queries them. He studies each publication’s guidelines, reads several months’ worth of back issues, and digs around online to find the editorial calendars for publications so he knows the best times to “pitch” his article ideas.
3. A “working” freelance writer knows how to write winning query letters and book proposals. He knows editors want to read a query that “hooks” them in the first paragraph and is written in the same style and tone as the proposed article. He knows all the components of a winning book proposal and he also knows how to find an agent and/or a publisher to submit it to.
4. A “working” freelance writer knows how to write for specific markets. He knows that an article he writes for AARP Magazine should not have the same tone as an article for TEEN magazine. Obviously, the subject matter for these publications should be different, also.
5. A “working” freelance writer knows how to find many lucrative writing assignments. He doesn’t sit around waiting for jobs to fall in his lap. He knows how to find jobs at online job boards. He subscribes to a variety of ezines that list freelance writing jobs. He also knows how to develop relationships with editors so they call him back for assignments over and over again.
6. A “working” freelance writer always has a weekly marketing plan for his writing and writing services. He knows that marketing his work, and developing a “platform” for himself, is just as important as his actual writing assignments.
7. A “working” freelance writer has a network of contacts that help him promote his writing and writing services. He knows writers all across the country (and even across the globe) and networks effectively with these people.
8. A “working” freelance writer has developed a focus for his writing career. That is, he knows where he wants to go with his writing. He doesn’t waste his time writing a slew of short articles each week that pay peanuts and eat up his time. He goes for larger, more lucrative projects, and also develops presentations, courses and workshops that pay him well for his time and expertise.
9. A “working” freelance writer knows how to stay focused so he lives the writer’s life of his dreams. He has a plan that keeps him focused. When he can’t stay focused alone he hires a coach to help him stay on course.
10. A “working” freelance writer has developed his own informational products to market and has other people marketing them for him as well. Most top-notch freelance writers know a LOT about the subject of freelance writing. They use that knowledge to create articles about writing, tips booklets about writing, and books and courses about writing. They market many of these items themselves but also have affiliates who sell the items for them as well.
Develop all ten of these characteristics and it won’t be long before you’re a “working” freelance writer, too.