Freelance writing can be a great way to make money and express yourself creatively. However, to achieve success as a freelance writer, there are certain skills you need to hone and practice.
10 skills you need to be a successful freelance writer are:
- Solid writing abilities
- Research skills
- Organizational skills
- Time management
- Self-promotion skills
- Networking skills
- Collaboration skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Technical knowledge
Below, I’ll dive into more detail about why each of these skills is important, and I’ll also give you some tips to develop them further.
10 Freelance Writing Skills You Need
1. Solid Writing Abilities
First and foremost, you’ll need to be a good writer! This means you’ll have a solid grasp of spelling and grammar rules, and you’ll know what it takes to make a piece of content flow well and achieve the desired result – engaging the reader.
Writers should also have an understanding of different writing styles, such as APA or MLA formatting, and you should be able to adapt your style depending on the task at hand.
2. Research Skills
You will need to be able to research topics quickly and accurately in order to write quality content. Knowing how to gather information from reliable sources is a key skill for freelance writers.
This is going to be vital for all types of freelance writing jobs, as you’ll typically need to at least research the client you’re writing the content for. Blog and article writing jobs will usually require a lot of research and planning before you put the content together.
3. Organizational Skills
Being organized is essential when it comes to freelance writing because you may need to juggle multiple projects at once and keep track of various deadlines. If you can stay organized, your clients will appreciate your professionalism and responsibility.
It will also make your career as a freelance writer far less stressful!
4. Time Management
Freelance writing often requires tight deadlines and fast turnarounds, so along with organizational skills, having excellent time management skills is a must. This means being able to focus on your work without distraction and knowing how to prioritize tasks effectively.
5. Self-Promotion Skills
As a freelance writer, you’ll need to be comfortable with promoting yourself and your work in order to find new clients. Being able to market yourself is an important part of success as a freelancer in general, and it’s key if you want to be a successful freelance writer.
6. Networking Skills
Networking is another key skill for freelance writers. Having the ability to make connections with potential clients, other freelancers, or industry professionals can help open more doors in the long run.
Networking at in-person events, reaching out to people via cold emailing, and being active on social media are all important ways to expand your network.
You must be able to adapt your writing style and voice depending on the project or audience you’re writing for, as I mentioned above. But being flexible in general, and being willing to take on different types of projects is important in order to stay busy as a freelancer.
8. Collaboration Skills
Writing can often involve team collaboration, and you’re not always working on your own, so having strong communication skills is necessary in order to work together effectively with other writers or editors.
9. Critical Thinking Skills
Freelance writers should understand how to analyze information, think critically about what they read, and draw conclusions from their research in order to create quality content.
10. Technical Knowledge
As technology continues to evolve, it’s essential for freelance writers to stay up to date with and have a basic understanding of different types of software or hardware, such as editing programs or content management systems. This can make you a far more marketable freelance writer.
By honing the 10 skills above, freelance writers can increase their chances for success. Below are some tips for improving on your existing abilities.
Tips For Learning & Improving These Skills
To improve your writing skills:
- Practice your writing
- Write stories on a platform like Medium to get feedback from the community
To improve your research skills:
- Take part in online forums and communities to stay up to date on your topics of interest
- Consider taking a course in research methods.
To improve your organization skills:
- Make use of organizational tools like to-do lists and calendars to help keep track of deadlines and other tasks
- Create a filing system for any important documents or notes related to projects that you can easily reference later on
To improve your time management skills:
- Set limits for how much time you spend researching or working on each task
- Use something like the Pomodoro technique to stay focused
To improve your self-promotion skills:
- Create or update your portfolio regularly, along with any other content or social media platforms
- Showcase your best work to make a great first impression and establish yourself as an expert in the field
To improve your networking skills:
- Attend local events related to writing and join virtual communities online
- Follow industry leaders on social media to build up your network of contacts
To improve your adaptability:
- Read books and articles about different writing styles and genres
- Consider taking on challenging projects to build your skills in these areas
To improve your collaboration skills:
- Work with other writers or editors on a practice project so that you can get used to working together effectively
- Listen to what others have to say and reflect on it before you respond
Critical Thinking Skills
To improve your critical thinking skills:
- Take classes related to critical thinking and problem solving to help develop your thought processes when analyzing information
- Read up on current topics and research methods so that you can learn how to draw valid conclusions from information
To improve your technical knowledge:
- Research different types of software or hardware that are relevant to writing
- Take courses in any you’re not familiar with (there are lots of free courses on YouTube)
Improve Your Freelance Writing Skills Now!
By honing these 10 skills, freelance writers can boost the value of their services and become a successful freelancer in no time! With the right attitude, willingness to learn, and dedication to hard work, you’re well on your way to becoming a successful freelance writer.