If you follow my blog on a regular basis, then you’ll know that I work as a professional writer and blogger. Each month I have articles published in a range of magazines. As a writer, I feel like I’ve learned a lot over the years and wanted to share some of the advice that has come in handy.
So without further ado, below is a list of life-saving advice every professional writer should know.
Organization is everything
As a mom, life can be extremely busy - even if you’re not a parent life can be busy. This means that if you want to excel as a writer, you need to be organized about it. When you’ve got a million and one things to be getting on with, it’s far too easy to forget about an important deadline. So you need to have something in place that will ensure that you don’t ever miss a deadline. In most professional media outlets, there is a whiteboard with articles that need writing and deadline dates next to them. This is an organization method that you can easily adapt and use at home. You could also set reminders on your phone so that you’re alerted to any looming deadlines in plenty of time.
The more experience you can get, the better
When first breaking into the industry, things may well be slow. However, once you’ve built up a portfolio of work, you’ll find that you’ll become more and more sought after. The truth is the more experience you get, the more work you will be offered. So, if in the early days, you’re offered unpaid work, take it for the experience. It may be annoying having to work for free but the more experience you can get, the better.
Don’t undervalue yourself or your work
That being said, don’t make the mistake of undervaluing yourself or your work. While in the early days, you may need to work for experience instead of pay, once you’ve built up a portfolio, don’t undervalue yourself. Have a set price that you charge per word and stick to it no matter what. If you give work away for low prices, you’re making your pieces seem less valuable than they are. This can impact your future opportunities and mean that your work is always undervalued.
Look after your computer
Computers have made professional writing much less time consuming. Thanks to programs like Grammarly, that make error checking easier, articles can be completed more quickly. They’re also fantastic for storing your work and keeping all of your old articles safe. That being said, a mistake that many writers make is failing to keep an online backup of their computer. The problem is that sometimes computers can crash, wiping everything off of them. This means that if you haven’t backed up, all of your previous work will be gone, including your portfolio of work. So it’s of the utmost importance that you backup your computer on a regular basis. It’s also wise to perform regular software updates and have suitable security software in place. That way, you can ensure that your computer is always kept in tip, top shape.
Proofreading is invaluable
There’s nothing that looks more unprofessional than sending an article over to a website or magazine with errors in it. Far too many writers fail to proofread their work and make silly mistakes. The problem is that by doing this, you make yourself and your work look unprofessional. You can also put publications off of using you for pieces in the future. It takes a couple of minutes to re-read your work and check for any errors, so make sure that you’re taking the time to do so. Don’t rely on Microsoft Word or Google Documents to highlight errors, take the time to check for them yourself.
Good communication is crucial
As a writer, it’s your job to communicate with the publication that you’re writing for. If you’ve got a question, you need to ask them. If you need to change the deadline, let them know. Just like you would tell your boss if a project was going to be completed late, it’s common courtesy to do the same when freelancing. Good communication is crucial when it comes to working as a writer. You need to be willing to not only email but also to discuss projects over the phone or via video chat. You might be a freelancer, but you still need to be a good communicator.
So there you have it, my life-saving advice for making it as a professional writer.