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Most freelance writers are paid by productivity. This means you’re only getting money for each job you complete…regardless of how long it takes. Because of this, you always want to improve writing skills. The better you are, the more jobs you complete.
And I’m not simply talking about typing speed, either.
Things like grammar, topic knowledge and even search engine optimization are all part of fine-tuning your abilities. This is especially true for online clients.
What to Do to Improve Writing Skill
Like any skill, writers need to keep practiced if they truly want to achieve high levels of success. Just like a superstar athlete, it takes more than raw talent to really gain notoriety.
Don’t get me wrong, you can get pretty far by just being good enough. But with the market the way it is today, “being good enough” is simply not going to work in every situation.
Millions of other writers are vying for that same job. And you need to deliver superior skills and client satisfaction if you want work to come flowing in on a daily basis.
So, how do you improve writing skill while working from home? Here are seven ways I’ve used in the past to refine my abilities as a freelance writer.
1. Start Your Own Blog
Blogs are not that overly difficult to start. In fact, you can start right now using free systems like WordPress.com.
The reason why you would start a blog is to give you a platform to practice writing. It also works well as a complement to your resume. Just make sure you put in the same level of quality on the site as you do for clients.
In fact, this was one of the few reasons why I started WriterSancutary.com in the first place. I wanted to share what I’ve learned as a freelance writer and to give me a chance to put into practice what I learn.
And if you go back to my earlier works, you can definitely see the improvement over time.
2. Write Frequent Guest Posts
I’ve only done a few guest posts for others, but it’s a common enough marketing tactic that many website owners put it to work.
Although most guest blogging opportunities don’t pay, it gives you a way to flex your literary muscles while getting a link back to your own site. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to get your name attached to a spectacular article somewhere on the Internet.
Sometimes, you’ll come across websites that are willing to pay guest authors for content. But in most instances I’ve seen, it’s usually one article per month.
Still, it’s money and practice.
3. Use Sites Like Vocal.Media
Sites like Vocal.media pay writers if their posts generate a certain amount of traffic. I don’t know exactly where the cut-off point is as I’ve never seen a dime from the site.
But just like guest posts, it helps fine-tune skill while connecting with an audience. And don’t forget, there’s a chance to bring in a few extra bucks for your effort.
Personally, I like using these kinds of sites to help generate interest in my other blogs. By using backlinks, I’ve generated a bit of traffic over the years.
My point is options like this are great to improve writing skill while finding what works with different audiences. And that’s why clients will keep coming back – because you can demonstrate the ability to draw in visitors.
4. Spend Time Researching Topics
One method that’s helped me advance as a freelance writer is the extensive amount of research I perform for topics. The more versed I am in a specific industry, the easier it is to write high-quality content.
That’s also one of the major reasons why my private clients love working with me. They know that I’ll deliver fact-driven content which helps and informs their target readers.
It’s possible to experience a bit of success without knowing a topic. I spent the first two years on Textbroker faking it until I made it. But nothing beats retaining that knowledge for future clients.
Depending on the client and the length of the contract, I’ll set up Google Alerts to inform me when news is out regarding the industry. That way, I always stay apprised of changes and information.
5. Pay Attention to Editor Remarks
When working with systems like Textbroker, always pay attention to editor remarks. They are helpful keys for unlocking your potential as a freelance writer.
In the beginning, I had a very hard time with serial commas and other minor issues. By keeping track of everything during revision requests, I was able to fine-tune my abilities.
Granted, there were a few times when an editor was incorrect. It happens as no one is perfect. But the majority of comments to me as a writer were honest and beneficial.
And it’s not just Textbroker, either. Sites like Constant Content also have a competent team of editors that will help you improve writing skill.
6. Keep a Notebook of Learning
One of the things I did in the beginning was keep a notebook of all the mistakes I made. Then, I would spend time researching how to fix those problems.
Not only did I browse through a couple of old college writing books, but I spent a lot of time browsing Google. Then, I would write down the solution in the notebook next to the problem.
Why is this helpful? Because the majority of people are more apt to remembering something if they write it down.
Then, I would make an effort to correct my writing while blogging or writing posts on Vocal.media.
See how it all connects?
It’s all about putting into practice everything you learn. That way, it becomes more habitual than anything.
7. Take Online Courses
Writing courses are abundant online. Sites like Udemy, Lynda and even Masterclass can help fine-tune and improve writing skill.
Although I haven’t completed a course myself, I do plan on investing a bit into these classes after Christmas. Unfortunately, that means I’ll add yet another item on an already overflowing plate of stuff I have to do.
Not only are some of these course greatly beneficial to fine-tune your craft, but you can also pad your resume a bit when you complete one. Just keep in mind most employers are looking for practical experience and training over general education today.
That’s when the blogging and guest articles come into play.
The point of this is to never underestimate the value of knowledge…even if it’s from a course at an unaccredited platform.
Keep Yourself Busy
The gist behind how to improve writing skill all centers around keeping yourself busy. Whether it’s practicing with a guest blog post or learning more about your industry and abilities, it’s all going to help you along.
During your “down time,” don’t waste the moment on Netflix and Hulu. Treat being a freelance writer as a career and work to improve yourself.