in The Momma Writes

8 Tips on How to Be a Successful Freelance Writer

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The moment I quit law school, I told myself that I won’t rely on my husband when it comes to my needs. Thanks to him, I discovered the world of online jobs and found myself working as a freelance writer (among many others) more than three years ago. Since then, this “career” provided me good pay – good enough that I can splurge on myself and the kids, and treat the husband occasionally. 

I can say that working as a freelance writer is not easy. Sure, an employer will give you a topic and you have to write a 500-word article about it. For me, being a freelance writer is more than just that. There are rules you need to follow and you need to prove your work ethic and professionalism even if the relationship built is virtual.

I am not the best one around, but these tips on how I can be successful on my (accidental) chosen field helped me make good money – and good relationship with employers: Tip No. 1: Always submit on time. 

This is a cardinal rule not just in freelance writing, but in everything you do. When you are given a task, it is important that you do your best to submit on time what is required of you. Late submission reflects not just your work ethic but also your personality – and it is not good.

What if you can’t make it on time? What I do is to inform my employer right away and ask for a one-day extension. There are situations where I can’t work, like when we had to rush our daughter in the hospital or other unforeseen events that made me unable to work. I just make sure I won’t abuse it and still do my best to submit on time. 

Tip No. 2: Don’t Compromise Quality for Word Count  

I tried writing a 100-word article to as much as 4,000 words. I had an experiencing writing short stories and few chapters for an e-book. It is tempting to add irrelevant information and fluff words like “very” and “really” to meet the word count (and still get paid). That’s not how it’s supposed to be. Meeting the word count is a must, but never compromise the quality of your work.

What if there is not enough information about a certain topic that you can’t meet the required word count? Then be honest about it and inform your employer. What I do is I try my best to achieve the required number of words sans fluff words. If I am unable to do so due to lack of resources or the article will look redundant, I tell my employer about it.

Tip No. 3: Clear Your Mind before Writing  

There is a thing called writer’s block and the struggle is real. I had days when I just stared in my laptop and not write a single thing because my mind is clouded.

When it comes to writing, it is important to clear your mind first before doing anything. A clear mind leads to better understanding of instructions and better writing quality.

As for me, I usually write every morning and once the kids are asleep. These are the moments when my mind is at peace; hence better results.

Tip No. 4: Follow Instructions by the Letter

 I worked with several employers and each of them has their own specific instructions. That is why it is important to pay attention to every detail for you to do what you are tasked to do.

In case the instructions aren’t clear, don’t hesitate to ask. Your employer will appreciate it because it shows that you take your job seriously.

Tip No. 5: Keep Your Tools Ready

This means laptop, a (stable) internet connection, the materials or resources you will use, and (lots of) coffee. Keeping your tools ready will make your writing job easier, minimize distractions, and simply focus on your work. 

Tip No. 6: Always Edit and Proofread Your Work

I have a confession: sometimes, I am too proud of my work that I don’t spend time checking it before submitting. Then, I had a “love note” from my employer, reminding me to edit and proofread my works before submitting. When I checked my work, I had few spelling and grammatical errors. 

What’s the bottom line? Edit then proofread, but don’t do so immediately. I usually give myself a few minutes (or even an hour!) to rest my brain before editing. By allowing my mind to rest, I can easily spot my mistakes instead of going through the article in breeze just for the sake of compliance. 

Tip No. 7: Treat Your Job as an Extension of Learning  

Here’s what I love about being a freelance writer: I am learning – a lot. 

As a freelance writer, I am able to write about variety of topics – from tips and tricks about anything under the sun, do’s and don’ts for this and that, workout or makeup tips (from someone who doesn’t practice what she preaches), and even serious, controversial topics I wouldn’t even dare talk about with other people. The good thing is that it allows me to learn something new, some applicable in our daily lives. 

Don’t underestimate your writing stint. You might be surprised about the many things you can learn from what you write. 

Tip No. 8: NEVER, EVER Plagiarize

This is another cardinal rule in the world of writing. I had a co-writer who got fired because the employer found out she copy-pasted an article. Apparently, plagiarism is a serious issue and some get penalized for it. The good thing is that there are plagiarism checkers available online like PaperRater or the one from Grammarly to help you check similar sentences with other published works. Make use of these checking tools because you don’t want to get caught, do you? 

Being a freelance writer may not give you millions in a month. With the right attitude towards work, proper mindset, and dedication, who knows, it could lead to bigger and better opportunities. 

Got tips on how to be the best freelance writer? Share them in the comments section below. 

** For more info about “anchor” and cover letter samples, check out Online Resume Builders.

Ayi

A former law student turned stay-at-home mom of two. Join me and read my adventures as I go through this crazy world called parenting and mommy-hood.

34 Comments

  1. Mommy Levy

    I consider myself as a storyteller and not really a writer writer, I admire people who can write good content. I agree with all the points you have mentioned here especially about proofreading 🙂

    16 . Jan . 2017
  2. Mommy Queenelizabeth

    Writing i believe is a tough job. Many times im tempted to get that job but im always holdin back coz i might not finish on time. And yes the writer’s block is so into me like most of the time. And its a real struggle. I enjoyed reading all these tips and i hope i can do freelancing someday too 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    17 . Jan . 2017
  3. Kim Reyes

    These are all true! But it’s easier said than done. When you’re a freelancer/business owner, you really need LOTS of dedication and patience – something not everyone has, unfortunately.

    17 . Jan . 2017
  4. ceemee

    Great tips! I wanted to be a freelance writer too. But, until now, I still don’t know where to start. I’m just going with my blogging. Congrats on your success!

    17 . Jan . 2017
  5. nocturnalmomtalks

    Thanks for these tips. Being a WAHM is something that I’m preparing for and I love reading tips from WAHMs. Yours are true and I will surely apply some when I post write stories for my blog 🙂

    17 . Jan . 2017
  6. Eve

    I thank God for online jobs. At least we can still be with our family while working. I admire writers because of their creativity. Unfortunately, I don’t have fancy words, but that’s fine I guess. Thanks for these helpful tips. We can also apply them in blogging.

    17 . Jan . 2017
  7. Erica YU-B

    I love this! Writing is actually difficult but fun. I’m already a “retired” lab chic (at my age. Seriously.) because I can’t find a nanny who works around the house like me. Just like you, I hate to rely my monetary needs on my husband, lalo na the “luho”. Being a freelance writer is saving us stay-at-home moms from having a feeling of “walang kwenta” . Great article! God bless:)

    18 . Jan . 2017
  8. Jen Ubongen

    I already tried applying for some work from home since mid last year. I’ve tried Upwork, Freelancer, EssayPh but there’s just no luck. Any tips or suggestions where I can apply to? Thanks 😉

    19 . Jan . 2017
    • Ayi

      Hi Jen 🙂 I applied in Upwork and got all my writing gigs there 🙂 I suggest you look for blogging opportunities as well since they pay pretty good 🙂 Apply lang ng apply and be patient 🙂

      19 . Jan . 2017
      • Jenelyn Palogod-Uboñgen

        Thanks for your advice! 😉

        15 . Feb . 2017
  9. Nerisa

    great tips. freelance writing is hard ba? parang ang hirap to find proper words to create an article.

    19 . Jan . 2017
  10. Jem Alvarado (@esupermommy)

    Truly helpful! I agree on most that you’ve mentioned most especially – Treat Your Job as an Extension of Learning.

    19 . Jan . 2017
  11. Liz Aquino

    I’ve thought about trying a hand at freelance writing but I don’t have that much confidence yet in my writing. I think of myself more as a creative writer (or used to, when I was still able to write poems and prose) but maybe I can try to learn the ropes. 😀

    19 . Jan . 2017
  12. Mhaan Arambulo (@momyrockinstyle)

    Is the freelance writing same as blogging? Or more on a technical side? Thanks in advance!

    19 . Jan . 2017
    • Ayi

      I think veering towards the technical side. Blogging kasi, its more personal. When it comes to freelance writing, there instructions to follow and deadlines to meet. Plus, you are tasked to write anything under the sun :))

      22 . Jan . 2017
  13. Rowena Wendy Lei 林露薇 (@animetric)

    It also helps to get your work out there by sending samples to magazine editors.

    20 . Jan . 2017
    • Ayi

      Will keep this in mind. Thanks!

      22 . Jan . 2017
  14. Bernadette Siazon

    I think I can never be a writer with deadlines. I can only write when inspiration strikes. One time I tried accepting writing gigs and ended up declining the job because I can’t work with a deadline in mind.

    20 . Jan . 2017
  15. Janice

    Being a freelance writer is what got me started as a WAHM. It really paid well once I gained more experience. Writing is not as easy as it seems though. It eventually left me feeling drained so I decided to take a break from it. I still write every so often but now I’m focusing on content management instead.

    21 . Jan . 2017
  16. May De Jesus-Palacpac

    Having a clear mind before writing is crucial but very difficult to attain sometimes. I have resumed writing for our company and if I have to sleep first to condition myself before I write, I do so.

    21 . Jan . 2017
  17. Lhourdes Mercadero

    Hi Mommy Ayi,
    I like all your tips and it’s going to be a big help for inspiring writer.
    I don’t consider myself as a writer, I just write what I like to share in my blog.

    21 . Jan . 2017
  18. Maan Laxa

    I had been a freelance writer before I took on a regular work-from-home job. I agree with all the tips you wrote here, especially the ones about promptness and proofreading. Personally, what I do to proofread is to read my work aloud. Usually I spot errors using that method!

    21 . Jan . 2017
  19. Migs&Alaine Alejandrino

    This article is exactly what I need. After my husband got sick for a year, we both decided to quit our jobs and start a new. We both worked in a BPO company but I now landed a day job which is not too demanding. I got another job in a home based company and will be starting next week.

    22 . Jan . 2017
  20. Berlin

    I learned from your tips. Thank you. Though we often hear these things from others, you have your way to pique my interest and read one item after another. I particularly love how.you.were able to explain to treat our job as an extension of learning.

    22 . Jan . 2017
    • Ayi

      Thank you for those kind words mommy 🙂

      22 . Jan . 2017
  21. gilian

    This is very helpful. I’ve recently embraced freelance writing. Though I have been doing it before, I feel like I’m taking it seriously this year. Love the tips. Get ideas from people to get a different perspective. Most of us are really stubborn and think our view is the best, but the article becomes better when we open our doors to other peoples’ views when writing our articles. 🙂 It also makes the piece longer. Haha

    22 . Jan . 2017
  22. TweenselMom

    Freelance writing takes a lot of skills and only a skilled writer like you will have the authority to write these tips. Thanks for the genorosity!

    22 . Jan . 2017
  23. Maria Teresa Gregorio-Figuerres

    These are really helpful tips for those who want to get into freelance writing. Thanks for sharing, Mommy!

    22 . Jan . 2017
  24. Cheanne

    Great tips! I have yet to try freelance writing for a job. I agree with proofreading. I tend to spend a lot of time on it, which makes me take a long time in writing. Haha

    23 . Jan . 2017
  25. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen

    These are awesome tips you got here, Ayi. I don’t really see myself as a writer but I know I can share thoughts and feelings through writing.

    23 . Jan . 2017
  26. Momma Mitch

    I would sometimes feel that I cannot pursue freelance writing as my freelancer career maybe because I do not feel confident enough to write for other people. I kind of write in a personal aspect kasi. Yun ang major blocker ko. Pero I know I’ll be able to overcome it sooner than later and I would love to go back on these great list of tips you have here. Thanks, Ayi! 🙂

    23 . Jan . 2017
  27. Mary G Sanchez-Suycano

    These tips are very helpful! I am planning to shift from a work at home mom to a stay at home mom, but I won’t stop working of course. This time, I’d like to pursue my dream. And I guess… Marami rami pa akong bigas na kakainin! 🙂

    13 . Feb . 2017
    • Ayi

      Of course you can do it momma 🙂

      13 . Feb . 2017
  28. ApproveMe

    These are really good tips to become a freelance writer. Freelancing can sometimes be stressful but the benefits of freelance work are numerous: you get the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, in different agencies or even on client-side brands.

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    20 . Mar . 2017

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