As a writing coach, I come in contact with many people who are trying to create their own freelance writing careers. Time after time, I see these people make many of the same mistakes.
Here are the most common ones to avoid if you hope to be a well-paid freelance writer:
1. Most new writers don’t write enough. It’s that simple. They also don’t bother to have their work critiqued by other published writers. They rely solely on the feedback of family and friends who usually don’t know anything about what makes a manuscript marketable. Write a lot and write often, then have your work critiqued by other writers so you won’t keep making the same mistakes.
2. Beginning writers don’t write with a market in mind. They write first, then try to sell their work. But it’s much harder to become published this way. If you figure out at least one or two possible markets for your work BEFORE you write, you’re more likely to sell your manuscript to at least one of those markets.
3. Beginning writers don’t bother to study the markets OR they don’t really know HOW to study the markets. This where taking a writing course that focuses on how to get published, joining a coaching club, or working with a coach can be most helpful. You not only learn how important it is to study the markets, you also learn HOW to study those markets.
4. New writers don’t expect to take direction from an editor. They expect to sell their work exactly the way they wrote it. If an editor does require revisions, quite often beginning writers are hesitant to make these changes because they don’t really understand what the editor wants. Be prepared to receive suggestions and editorial direction from editors.
5. They don’t submit their work on a regular basis. If you’re hoping to start a writing career, you must submit queries, cover letters with resumes, and manuscripts often, not just every once in a while. You must be willing to face rejection in order to gain acceptances and publication. Rejection is just part of the business of writing. Don’t let it keep you from submitting your work to publishers. You must also apply for writing assignments. Don’t set up a website for your writing business and expect to get all your work from people who visit your site. Clients won’t simply come to you. You’ll need to find clients yourself.
6. Many new writers are afraid to get involved with published writers or professional organizations for writers. This is a mistake for a number of reasons. First, you’ll learn a lot from published writers. Second, these other writers will often offer you opportunities that you just won’t find any other way. Join local, regional, and national writers’ organizations and get to know other published writers. Help out at local writers’ conferences, etc. Writing is like most other things in that quite often it’s not what you know but WHO you know that counts.
Now that you know about these mistakes, be careful to avoid each of them and you should have a much easier time creating a successful freelance writing career!
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