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What’s Better: Direction or No Direction?

There are two types of freelance writing clients: those who give specific directions on what they want and those who leave things up to the writer. Which type of client would you rather work with? Through my experiences I have found that there are pros and cons of each type of client. And since each client is unique, no two situations are ever the same.

I always find it helpful when a client gives me exact directions on what they want. In this case I know how to get started, what to do, and when the project ends. If you are the type of freelance writer who likes structure, it is safe to say that these clients will fit your career nicely.

The downside of this is that you will not have a lot of creative freedom. For instance, you may think that you have a good idea, but since your client has specific requirements in place, you will never be able to act. For some writers it can be difficult to take directions and stick to them without straying. How do you feel about this?

What about clients who offer no direction? The main benefit of this is that you are free to do whatever you want, within reason. For instance, a client recently asked me to provide them with 25 keyword articles on a specific topic. While they did supply the main topic, they are leaving everything else to me. It is my job to choose the length of the articles and all the finer details.

Of course, clients who do not give any direction may not get what they were hoping for. And unfortunately, this often times comes back on the writer. You may be told that you can do whatever you want, but upon completion the client is asking for changes because you strayed off the “proper” path. If this happens you will definitely be asking yourself why the client did not give you more direction at the beginning of the project. I have found this to be quite common.

Even when a client tells me to “do what I want” I always ask for some sort of direction. I have found that this helps to clear up most disagreements and extensive edits before they come into play.

If you want to be a successful freelance writer you need to learn to deal with both types of clients.

Comments OffFreelance WritingSeptember 30th, 2008

Three Ways to Jumpstart your Freelance Writing Career

At least a few times a week I receive an email from a new freelance writer asking how they can jumpstart their career. Before I can answer this question I usually ask for some more information. How long have you been a freelance writer? What do you specialize in? What have you tried? The answers to these questions give me the chance to best address the problem.

In general terms, I have found that my answer usually contains the same three details time after time. 

Market your Freelance Writing Services

You cannot expect your freelance writing career to take off if you are not marketing your services. In fact, this holds true with every business. How would a home improvement company find work if they did not market through newspaper ads, the internet, etc? The answer: they wouldn’t. And the same thing holds true for freelance writers. If you want to jumpstart your career, start with a solid marketing plan. For many, this is the first big step towards future success.

Spend Time Writing

Believe it or not, I always hear from aspiring freelance writers who have decided to go at it full-time but only work three or four hours per day. Does this make any sense? Although I do not work as much I used to, at the end of the week I can look back and see that I put in at least 40 hours. If you are going to succeed as a freelance writer you need to write. This may sound like a mindless and almost juvenile tip, but it is the absolute truth. The more you write the better off you will be.

Whatever it takes to get started

Excuses, excuses. Many aspiring freelance writers make excuses as to why they cannot move forward with their career. I don’t have enough time, I can’t find any good clients, my computer blew up, etc. Although you may have legitimate reasons for being held back, this is not something that you should dwell on. You need to do whatever it takes to get started. If this means making major changes, so be it. Sometimes you have to change if you are truly devoted to making it as a full-time freelance writer.

For those who need it, I hope this post provides a boost. With the tips above you should be able to jumpstart your freelance writing career. 

3 Comments »Freelance WritingSeptember 29th, 2008

Weekend Quick Tip: How to Take a Day Off

One of the biggest benefits of being a freelance writer is that you run the show. There is no boss, no co-workers, and no office to report to. And while you have to work if you want to get paid, you must also take days off from time to time. Early in my career I found it difficult to take days off. Not only was I trying to get my career up and running, but I always felt like I was missing something when not at the computer. Soon enough I came to the conclusion that this was not the case, and in turn began to steal a vacation day here and there.

If you are a freelance writer and struggling with taking a vacation day, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

1. When you know you are taking off you should plan in advance. What does this mean? If I am taking a day off I will always work extra hard the day before to ensure that I am caught up across the board. This does a lot for my peace of mind, and it also ensures that my clients will not be left in the dark during my absence.

2. Always remember that a day off will make you a better freelance writer. Believe it or not, everybody needs to take time away from their job. Even a one day break will help refresh your mind and body. Simply put, there are benefits of taking a day off.

You would think that taking a day off would be an easy thing to do as a freelance writer. And while it is in theory, many find it difficult to drag themselves away from their desk.

1 Comment »Freelance WritingSeptember 28th, 2008

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