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So You Want to be a Freelance Writer?

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Freelance writer
Credit: Drew Coffman via Flickr

It is the case with just about any other profession in the world, freelance writing can be related to war, and as with any other war, it is won by skill, strategy, and a good arsenal of weaponry. For the freelance writer, it goes without saying that their signature weapon is their wit and good use of words and language, but they cannot rely simply on these. An arsenal cannot be called an arsenal if it only has one thing in it.

A freelance writer marching out onto the shores of the freelance writer’s battlefield can ill afford to be poorly under equipped, what with all the other men and women on the field fighting and struggling for survival and a slice of the action. In war, if a soldier with, say, a Schweizerische Industrie Gessellschaft Sturmgewehr 550 assault rifle faces against a soldier with a combat knife, it would not be wise to bet your money on the guy with the knife. The freelance battlefield is a bit kinder, as everyone has more or less an equal chance to succeed, but for that little edge, having the following things in your arsenal is a good idea.

A steady Internet connection is a core item in any freelancer’s armory, and while it is possible to freelance without one, it would be akin to marching out to the coasts of Omaha Beach with a gun that works only at random times. It’s possible to see the war through with that sort of weaponry, but do not expect to perform all that well and consistently, and prepare to have a Maschinegewehr 42 7.92 caliber round or several dozen stuck in you taking you out of commission. (The metaphor’s fallen apart a bit, but the point is still there – it’s hard to freelance without a steady Internet connection.)

Timings and schedules are important in the freelancing field, considering that despite being a mostly schedule – free job on paper, there are certain times when work picks up, and there are naturally deadlines and such to keep in track. Therefore, to your arsenal, you should add something that allows management of these deadlines and schedules. A phone with a simple calendar that allows alerts will work, but for those with busier plates, a program such as MindMeister or something with a similar amount of organizational power will help more.


Communication also matters a lot in the freelance field, as it does in war (poor communication (s)kills) as a large part of the freelance writing job is actually spent trying to connect with employers and getting orders. Poor communication skills will lead with a lot of missed opportunities and by extension a lot of missed profit. Sometimes a plain email correspondence will work, but not always. Consider adding other tools, like Skype (for those that are hard to reach by email) and email applications like Follow Up, which allows scheduling of certain messages, allowing a regular “is there work that needs doing” to be easily dealt with.


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Feb 14, 2015 5:18pm
I noticed you on my friends list so I came to check out some of your articles. This one is filled with lots of excitement as you compare freelance writing to war. Lots of detail similes and metaphors. Hope you are still writing and good luck.
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