In the 21st century, many professional writers are turning to freelancing as a full-time occupation. While being your own boss, setting your own schedule, and choosing your own clients may sound like a dream, freelancing isn't as simple as it sounds. It's necessary to develop a handful of unique, well-refined skills, both in terms of writing and personal management, to succeed as a freelancer.
These are three essential skills that full-time freelancers must master in order to thrive in the field of freelancing.
1. Become a dynamic writer.
If you plan to freelance long-term, becoming a dynamic, adaptable writer is essential. You may feel that your niche is in a particular area of writing. However, breaking personal rigidity and becoming flexible enough to write in multiple writing styles can open you up to a variety of new clients.
What types of writing styles are most important to master?
Lifestyle writing and formal writing are two of the most widely-utilized writing styles in freelancing. Lifestyle writing tends to be amusing, engaging, and entertaining, utilizing an informal tone, casual wordplay, and humor. Formal writing tends to be educational and informative, utilizing an authoritative tone, calculated word choices, and formal stylistic choices. The ability to write both lifestyle and formal pieces is indispensable when it comes to acquiring a more diverse selection of work, and, in the process, more clients.
2. Know how to manage your time.
The importance of time management cannot be emphasized enough. As a freelancer, you serve as your own boss, so your entire schedule is in your hands. This means that you decide both when you are going to work and how much you are going to work. If you don't know how to manage your time properly, your productivity (and your income) will suffer.
What are the best ways to manage your time as a freelancer?
As your own boss, you should strive to construct your own work schedule. This means setting aside specific hours of the day/days of the week to focus solely on your work. If you're a workaholic, scheduling in breaks is important, too. Overworking yourself is just as unproductive as underworking yourself, as you will burn out and begin to produce sub-par work. It's essential to understand your workload, your deadlines, and how to produce quality work with quick turnaround times to keep yourself and your clients happy.
3. Develop your own editing skills.
Many traditional publications have upper-editors that browse your work for errors and inconsistencies. However, when it comes to freelancing, you must typically serve as your own editor. Learning to properly revise your writing is as important as writing the piece itself.
Why is editing your own work such a significant skill?
Proper editing is essential for turning a good piece into a great one. Being able to view your writing with a critical eye can help you consistently produce high-quality final drafts. The ability to spot typos and grammatical errors, inconsistent tone, confusing wording, unfocused content, and other issues in your work is invaluable. Learning to correct issues and do so with ease is what separates a talented writer from a skilled one.