Getting started can be the hardest part of anything. Especially writing. Staring at a blank…
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Freelance writing can be a very rewarding job, as it is an amazing outlet for creative energy.
However, it is not always easy to get the ball rolling. This is especially true if you have several deadlines to meet as a full-time freelance writer.
It is because writing is a creative activity, and you can’t force yourself to be creative just because you have so many deadlines. In fact, writing under the pressure of deadlines can create serious writer’s block.
Here are 12 writing tips for freelance writers that I’ve learned along the way of my own freelance writing journey.
12 Writing Tips for Freelance Writers
1. Jot down writing ideas as soon as you get them
When you’re a freelance writer, inspiration strikes when you least expect it. But this creative energy can be unpredictable and hard to control at times.
What I do is carry a notebook (phones work just as well) wherever I go – long commutes, coffee shops, and even during jogging.
As much as we’d like to think we won’t forget, it is easy to get swept up by a hectic schedule. So, jot down great ideas on the spot.
2. Get up and move around
One thing that’s been a game changer for me is moving around when I’m faced with writer’s block. I find that ideas tend to flow more easily when I’m doing something passive like walking around the house or cleaning.
In fact, there is a term for this kind of thing – kinesthetic learning. If you are a kinesthetic learner, that means you think better when you’re carrying out a physical activity.
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3. Manage your energy, not your time
This has been my most important lesson by far and one of my best writing tips. Writing is highly dependent on your energy and mood. We’ve been drilled from a young age that time management is the most important skill.
But what’s the point of having time if you don’t have the energy? Our energy fluctuates during the day, so take a note of when you have the most energy and start your writing assignments then.
4. Finish writing one section or idea in one sitting
When writing, a continuous flow of ideas is quite important, especially when you are tackling wildly different niches or topics. Nothing is more frustrating than an interrupted flow of thought and having to remember where to pick up again. So I’ve always found it better to tackle one writing assignment or idea in one sitting.
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5. Learn the art of pitching
In the freelance writing world, learning how to pitch is just as essential as your writing ability. You’d be surprised at how many amazing freelance writers are out there who are struggling because they’re simply not good at pitching.
So set up a professional writing website or portfolio and use a visual design that is easy to navigate. Categorize your samples under different niches or writing styles you’re good at.
For example, I have at least one writing sample for different writing pieces that I commonly get from clients—press releases, newsletters, blog articles, landing pages, etc.
Anxiety and freelance writing can be a terrible mix, as it disrupts your flow of ideas. I’ve found that just a few minutes of calm each day has drastically improved my anxiety and writer’s block.
A restless mind is a freelance writer’s worst enemy, and learning to control these thoughts is one of the best skills for any writer. It doesn’t even have to be meditation. You can try yoga or writing affirmations. Those work just as well.
7. Keep a writing journal or blog
One of the biggest hurdles for freelance writers is learning how to organize their thoughts into a coherent flow.
Another game changer for me and one of the most important writing tips has been to keep a journal. Even though it might not be related to the topics you write about, it drastically improves your ability to organize your thoughts.
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8. Physically write down your ideas
I’ve found that organizing my thoughts by physically writing them down has been more effective than typing them out.
It has been long known that writing things down is better than typing, in terms of productivity and memory. For me, I find that I generate better writing ideas when I’m writing things down.
9. Reading more is key to better writing
Being an avid reader has always been the key to being a better writer. It gives you more ideas and inspiration, as well as teaching us new ways of using language to communicate our ideas.
Just listening can be as beneficial as reading. So, if you are too busy to sit down and read, you can always listen to podcasts and audio books while going about your day.
10. Read out what you write
Just like brainstorming on physical paper, reading out loud can make us a better writer. It engages more of your senses and helps you create a better flow of ideas. Reading out loud will help you see if what you are writing makes sense to the reader.
11. Green tea bags to de-puff the eyes
This is a bit of a random writing tip, but it has been so effective for me. We underestimate how much writing or typing for hours has a toll on our body, especially the eyes.
Whenever I notice my eyes getting tired, I also notice my writing ability dropping off. Green tea provides caffeine and hydration which makes your eyes so much more awake.
12. Just do it
Lastly, the best way to get over a writing slump is just to go ahead and do it. Oftentimes, once you get the ball rolling, that’s when you start being more creative and getting better ideas. So, Nike was right after all!
To sum up these writing tips, being a successful freelance writer is so much more than having good grammar and language skills. Other factors such as motivation and productivity obviously have a huge impact on your creativity. So, if you have issues with motivation or organizing your thoughts, it is important to tackle those first.
Gandhari Cooray is a freelance writer with a passion for writing in the lifestyle, beauty and technology spaces. She loves reading and writing about the latest trends and news in these spaces. She also helps brands curate interesting and authentic content that reels in their consumers.