This is a Guest Post by Ekene Noel EZIAGULU
The following article will chronicle my ongoing experiences as a part-time freelancer, and dwell on my engagements as a Content generator (Content Writer).
It has been ten months of submitting articles, meeting some deadlines as well as missing others, arguments with clients and negotiating for better remuneration amongst other sundry issues.
After recently ending relations with my first, steady client( who was the demanding type), I have used the intervening period of unattachment (for now) to summarize my experiences. Thus far, I have written /submitted over 60,000 words by way of business articles, human interest stories, product reviews and another genre of writings.
Without further ado, here are my perspectives on pursuing/maintaining a career in freelance article writing:
- Stick to the requirements of your client
This consideration should and must override whatever talents or gift or calling you have as a freelance writer. The needs/demands of your client are important; they truncate your views.
If the client wants a summary at the end of an article, give it with no questions asked. If the write-up has a stipulated word count, do not go below it.
The maxim ‘The Customer is King’ is right in this regard, especially if you desire to earn significant and continuous sums from your freelance writing career.
2. Deadline/Submission times are important
If this will be the only piece of advice you will take away from this article, then I will be glad. Meeting deadlines not only portrays you as professional, but it also helps you build up your integrity/trustworthiness quotient. Not to add the fact that you can quickly obtain referrals as well as ask for better remuneration packages.
If you envisage that a particular deadline is unattainable, mention it at the first point of engagement, giving cogent reasons why you would need an extension under that circumstance.
However, be warned! Do not make this a habit and proffer one excuse after another. Some clients may interpret such gestures to mean that you do not have the capacity to meet future engagements, in a timely fashion.
Take this to heart: meeting that deadline is important!
3. Commence writing as soon as possible
In other words, kick procrastination to the curb and leave it there! So you have been given a 5-article engagement, to submit over seven days. And then you fall into the trap of thinking you have a lot of time on your hands. Until you realize that the deadline is upon you and you have a long way to go.
The key to avoiding such a situation is to begin in earnest. From the first day you receive your engagement, you can start by deciding the ways and means you will conduct your research as well as outlining your main points. You will amass the materials and momentum that will see you make steady progress in piecing your article together.
Also starting work on your articles in time affords you the opportunity to weigh different ideas and structures. The result is that your articles come out more balanced and articulated.
4. Spend your time judiciously
This piece of advice will ring a bell for part-time freelancers who have full-time jobs. The objective, in this case, is to make the most of your spare time to write down bits and pieces of your article. The windows of opportunity that you can exploit include time spent in traffic, lunch/coffee breaks, time spent on social media platforms like Face book as well as the odd opening that may arise.
On a personal note, I belong to the class of part-time freelance writers. The practice that has served me well in this journey has been using my phone to jot points for my articles, at the spare periods mentioned earlier. You will find that chipping in 100-words at lunch; another 200 words on the way to an event and so on, will see you complete that article promptly.
5. Shun Plagiarism. Edit/Refine your articles.
Plagiarism is not only a crime bordering on intellectual property theft, but it also stifles your creative muse. So as an article writer, you must embrace creativity. Chose to be unique In the way you put words together, the seamlessness of your thoughts among other issues.
As a freelance article writer, you must strive for excellence in all your articles, and this includes producing grammatically correct content. There are some resources (online) that can assist you to edit/correct your articles. My favorites include Grammarly and HemingwayApp. These platforms not only help you weed out misspellings and wrong word choices, but they also suggest appropriate sentence structures and formations.
Your stock as a freelance article writer will increase exponentially when your articles are readable and concise; without unnecessary filler words/phrases.
6. Join a Writer’s group/forum
Participating in a Writer’s group (Online or offline) presents you with a host of opportunities for improving your craft. Not only do you get to compare notes and experiences with other freelance writers, but you could also receive information regarding writing engagements and other openings advertised on those platforms.
7. Ask for feedback
Feedback is critical to your work as a freelance article writer. Even if your client does not leave commentaries on your job, go out of your way to request for such. This stance helps you to not only gain valuable insight on to how to write effectively, but you will also cut the picture of being responsive and adaptable.
The list above is by no means exhaustive. Article writing is a craft that you can get better at with constant practice. And practice comes with submitting pieces as guest posts on website and blogs.