I have been a newbie twice. First, when I was becoming a transcriber and the second time when I was becoming a writer. I have come across those nifty comments that newbies get all too often but one thing that always makes all the trouble worth it is the professional I am today. Imagine not always having to do samples for every potential client (or doing them with the confidence of knowing that you will nail it), being able to choose who you work for, seeing your work published on platforms that command a lot of attention and getting well paid for it. These are some of the exploits that the best online writers get to enjoy.
Even though you’re not one at the time, you have all the potential and time to become one. You will be sort after, always have your clients come back for quality work and the best part is, you never suffer the writer’s drought. You will always have work. So, how do you become a top-notch writer you ask? Let’s get started.
Traits of the best writers
The best writers are cut from a different cloth. Not necessarily by birth, but by how they manage their time and the practices that they choose to employ in their line of work. You should strive to pick-up and make such elements part of you. If some of them are already in-born, even better!
They are the best time managers
Being a great writer means a lot of work from different clients and every one of them would appreciate having their work delivered on time. No one should tell you that clients will settle for late work if it has quality. No! In the online world, news become stale pretty fast. Every client wants to have their content up as fast as possible so as to capitalize on any influx of traffic. Keeping time and deadlines should be your greatest priority.
They have excellent communication skills
Being able to write is one side of the coin. The other side is being able to communicate. Some clients don’t have the best English (which is why they source for our skills) others are not very articulate. It is your job to bear with them and try to understand what they want as much as possible. Even the best writers will fail terribly if they cannot adhere to the instructions of the client. The great communication does not stop there. It extends to being able to reply to the clients messages promptly and, even in the instance of a disagreement, remaining calm and collected to find a solution.
They have a knack for perfection
You have probably heard of the phrase ‘The internet doesn’t forget’. As a writer, it’s one phrase you will want to remember fondly. If you’re anything like me, you cringe and frown at every mistake you see online. Even on Facebook posts! That is why the best writers have a weakness for perfection. Other than writing great and riveting pieces, they also take time to go through their work and fine tune it time and again. In fact, some will tell that even with a client smiling from ear to ear, they might still notice errors with the work they submitted. Also, the worst mistake you can make is submitting error-riddled work to a client. It just shows how unserious you are.
They invest in learning
It is said that learning never stops. The more you learn the better you become. You should never be content by being a good writer. Being great takes time, patience and practice. And, the best of the best have spent thousands to be where they are. You will still find me going through ebooks and articles that can help me make my writing better. You should also do the same.
How to become a great writer
This is the part you have been waiting for so without further ado, let’s get started
Before anything, you need to know what writing entails. You need to research on how to be an online freelancer and understand its demands comprehensively. In your research, you will find out that you need to have excellent written English skills, proper sentence construction understanding of elementary English and so many other things. If your English is basic, don’t fret, it’s not the end of your budding carrier. All these are factors that you can work on with time and practice.
This is one of the biggest mistakes that young writers make. Believing that you can go into the profession without any training and still make it. Well, there are those who do. But, they will be the first to tell you of how fast things go south. Why do you need a trainer?
- A trainer will teach you the basics of article writing (or academic if that is your preferred field) and share vital information that would have otherwise taken you ages and tons of rejected articles to figure out.
- They will hold your hand through the learning curve and help you become better faster.
- Trainers are also very good critics. They will help you iron out your mistakes without making you feel worthless.
- Some trainers, after training will point you to the best sites where you can start making a living out of your newly learnt craft. If you happen to be top of their class, some will even employ you after your training is done.
- Trainers give you the confidence of branching out on your own. You don’t have to worry about what you’re doing wrong or not doing at all.
- In a trainer, you have a life-long friend and mentor. You will also enjoy their customer support for the rest of your life.
You might have to pay for the training but, it is easy to see why you need this for you to be a good writer and finally make some money off it.
There is this common notion that online work is an overnight get-rich quick scheme. Before I was able to make my first coin as a freelancer, it took me about two months (and I can be considered very lucky). Within those two months, I had clients be-little me, reject my work and some even failed to pay for it. But, I didn’t give up.
You need to consistent and persistent with training, your work and even your need to learn. You also need to be persistent with your quality of work and how you relate to clients.
Have a golden standard
There are a quite a number of distractions the internet presents and most of them will easily derail your work. But, if you set standards for yourself, you will be able to work efficiently and build your reputation. Deliver on time, go through your work at least three times, work on at least 5,000 words a day, limit your social media use to your breaks only. These are some of the standards I have set for myself. There are some that I can revise but others are static. Be sure to set your own.
Follow people that have been in the industry for some time. You can always learn from their experiences and at times, they will share information that is invaluable to you. If you keep learning, you keep improving!
The money comes after
The most important thing to becoming a professional writer is practice. Don’t expect to charge $10 for 100 words on your first assignment. Clients expect what they pay for. Start out low charge fairly to get more work and more practice. As your talent grows, you will be able to comfortably charge more and be able to deliver according to the expectations.
Sign up for mailing lists, webinars and seminars
You never know what you’re going to find in your email or what will be shared at this gatherings. Luckily, most of the ones I know don’t charge much but, they are a gold-mine of information. They are also a great place to network and potentially land your next client or gig.
The road to becoming a professional in the online world is not smooth. It has humps, bad days, bad clients, people looking to take advantage of your naivety and cons. But, with the right tips, information and most importantly a good trainer, you should be able to escape a good number of these hurdles. Also, don’t be stranger to writing groups. Ask questions and seek clarifications often.
As usual feel free to leave comments and suggestions below!