There’s more to being a freelance writer than typing words on a page. Successful writers know that they need to be on top of their game in many different ways. No job involves just one task, and writing is no different.
Here are five things writers do throughout the day or week other than write.
One of the toughest challenges for freelancers is bringing attention to all of their good work. The ever-expanding freelance writing workforce is expected to have marketing chops.
Most writers probably realize they need a website and/or blog as a way to showcase their work. Whether they hire someone or do it themselves, a website provides an online presence for potential clients and is a great way to establish themselves.
A website needs to reflect who the writer is or what their “brand” stands for. Free website or blog platforms such as Wix, WordPress, or Weebly are just a few of the many options out there. Keeping it updated with fresh content will prevent the website from looking like a ghost town.
2. Social Media — Networking
A social media presence is a must for those who want to connect with other like-minded professionals and stay up to date on trends. Twitter is a good place to start. It’s a space to share professional work and colleagues’ work, interact with others, and see what competitors are doing. A Twitter presence provides more credibility when the writer genuinely reaches out to others while talking about their own work. The casual nature of Twitter also allows someone’s personality to shine without being overly-promotional and robotic.
LinkedIn is another professional social media platform for freelance writers. Just make sure the profile is up to date, and contains accurate and compelling information. Spend time on this platform — it’s basically an online resume. Potential clients may want to hire a writer if they see they have a fully-developed and extensive LinkedIn profile.
Another tip is to Google yourself. People in small business are more exposed on social media than in corporate settings where people can hide behind employer branding. If you have an unusual name, you’ll find your LinkedIn profile and latest tweets appear high on page one.
Once a solid social media presence is established and a legitimate network of fans and followers is curated, it becomes more obvious that some of those people are doing the same type of work. Where are they getting published? What are they doing to engage their followers on social media? Part of tracking the competition involves the ability to stay organized. How do you do that?
Everyone has different organizational methods. Just as it takes discipline to work within a timeframe each day, it also takes dedication to keep organized.
Managing expenses can seem like another full-time job with all the receipts, bills and invoices that are generated. Keeping receipts organized will come in handy when it comes tax time. Freelancing is a business, so be sure to check with your state guidelines, whether you are a sole proprietorship, LLC, or a DBA.
As horror novelist, Stephen King, would say, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
That advice is pretty universal for writers who are constantly pushing themselves to improve. Reading exposes people to writing that’s better than their own, which helps them be better writers. Every writer can learn from different styles, genres and voices.
As a writing career grows over time, routine and organization will be key to the overall success. Talking to other writers for their advice is a good idea, too. Everyone has different styles of managing their time, so do what works best for you.
Melissa Davidson is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Montana. She especially enjoys writing about business, mental health, education and social issues. Melissa and her canine companion, Romeo, can be found running and riding on trails throughout the Rocky Mountain West. You can follow her on Twitter @madtris.