Moving From Being a Good Writer to a Freelance Writer

So you’ve decided to make the leap. You’re going to become a freelance writer. You’ve decided. You’re committed. The decision is made. You’re doing it.

Now all you have to do is be successful.

Here are 3 tips that will help you to be successful as a freelance writer.

1. Develop multiple writing styles and voices.

This sounds counter intuitive but there is a reason for it. Depending on the niche you’ve chosen to focus on, your voice may be what gets you work. By developing a single distinctive voice you will attract clients that want that voice. Unfortunately, most clients aren’t that sophisticated. You will always have customers and niches that want something different. By developing several styles and voices you give yourself a level of flexibility that allows you to accept work where your chosen voice isn’t the preference. This just might be the ticket to help keep the wolf from the door when your style and voice are out of fashion.

2. Develop triggers for each of your styles and voices.

It doesn’t do any good having multiple writing styles and voices if you have to write a long piece before you switch. You need to develop the ability to write formally one minute. And then switch to your own inimitable informal style immediately after. The easiest way to do this is with a trigger. A sentence or paragraph that will act to turn on a particular style in your writing. Want a formal piece? Select the formal trigger and use it to force your writing style to be acceptable. Want a laid-back conversation? Hey, grab your trigger and relax. You’ll be chattin’ with an old friend in seconds. No sweat!

3. Schedule practice time.

One of the joys of writing to spec is that it has a habit of creating really, really, really bad habits. Habits that you really don’t want taking over your writing. Especially if you have multiple styles to maintain. The easiest way to avoid this is to schedule some exercise time. A short period where you write in order to maintain the quality of your writing. Or to allow you to continue having multiple styles. Sometimes you are going to have a string of one particular type of writing — technical is bad for this. And without a chance to write using your voice, you take the chance of losing it. And vice versa.