EXPLORING the WORLD of FREELANCE WRITING
But that’s what makes you a writer, you keep writing until the noes become a yes. Writers are the ones who keep writing after all the other folks quit.
Alice Childress’s puissant statement, I continue to create because writing is a labor of love and also an act of defiance, a way to light a candle in a gale wind, is my literary anthem. It’s my declaration of independence. I love this quote; it gracefully defines how I see myself as a writer and author. Consequently, whenever I am asked, What does a freelance writer write? I strive to respond succinctly. The query is usually rhetorical, an ice-breaker of sorts. Occasionally someone wants a substantive answer. A flicker of hope is buried in the inquiry where a yearning simmers. What is freelance writing and is it a good fit for me?
The quick and dirty definition says it’s the art of creating content for use in just about any context imaginable. Freelance scribes take ideas and turn them into results-oriented messaging. The intent is to meet a goal or accomplish a specific set of objectives. The unaffiliated chronicler is an interpreter, raconteur, artist, and consultant. She uses her expertise to originate cogent, persuasive, and results-oriented text.
All organizations use media. The importance of what is written and how it’s used determines the extent of the entity’s visibility and success in reaching out to its various constituencies. Concise corporate materials speak volumes about the value businesses place on branding and customer recognition. Word choices, formatting and presentation are interrelated components of written documents. Deft blending produces a potently suggestive message wrapped in an aesthetically pleasing package. Masterfully composed expositive media isn’t merely a matter of putting something on paper and hoping for the best. Material composed for external or internal consumption should be researched, organized, developed, prepared, written, edited, and proofread. Who better to perform these tasks than an experienced freelance writer?
Scriveners are paid to originate content for businesses, nonprofits, governmental, quasigovernmental, and educational institutions; note, the foregoing is not an exhaustive list. Freelancers are compensated for using their intellectual prowess, expertise, and knowledge to enhance their clients’ presence in print and cyberspace. Is freelance writing an opportunity for you? The profession showcases the practitioners’ dexterity crafting expositive discourse in a variety of media. Expertise in the use of the various parts of speech, an expansive and continuously growing vocabulary, and grammar proficiency are areas where preeminence can be readily demonstrated.
Freelance chroniclers should already be well-acquainted with the writer’s tools:
- An intimate knowledge of, and familiarity with the dictionary and thesaurus.
- The use and application of William Strunk Junior’s Elements of Style.
- Style manuals: (a) The Chicago Style Manual, used for history and the humanities; (b) The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, used for journalism; (c) The American Psychological Association Style Manual for psychology and other social sciences; (d) The Modern Language Association Style Manual for English, humanities, and literary writing.
- Basic rules of editing and proofreading.
- An eye and an ear for the flow of words.
Independent artisans are versatile, innovative, bold, flexible, and ambitious. They’ve combined passion with savvy to elevate a calling into an income-producing venture. Two factors set them apart from belletrists, inditers, knights of the plume, pen, or quill, and inkslingers. One is the range of media produced and the other is the revenue generated. Freelance annalists are self-employed and may specialize or be generalists; their deliverables are products of written contracts specifying the scope of work, fee, and time of performance. They choose their areas of expertise and market themselves accordingly, charging by the hour, the word, the project, or based on a negotiated sum.
Elaborate on the appeal of freelance writing and assess your readiness to pursue it. Do you have a portfolio of work to share with prospective clients? Have you created a writer’s resume? Are you published? Do you maintain a blog or a Facebook page? How often do you write? This is a question I always pose to aspiring writers. While the answer may seem like a no-brainer, the responses I’ve received affirm the importance of raising the issue. How often do you write?
- Daily? How much time do you allocate or the exercise? Describe your routine.
- Weekly? Describe your routine.
- When you’re in the mood? Explain what being in the mood means and how it works.
If you want to be a freelance disquisitor, but don’t write, how can this desire be realized? Efficacious writing doesn’t come about by happenstance. It is artfully constructed and clearly stated. It is unambiguous, decisive, compelling, and complete. Effective writing conveys an unmistakable message. It’s influential, graceful, elegant, strong, persuasive, and memorable. Done intentionally, it is respectful of the reader: informative, entertaining, uplifting, edifying, and engaging. Inventive discoursers understand this and thrive on the energy artistic expression offers.
The world of freelance writing is constantly expanding. What is your primary area of interest? Which disciplines are most appealing?
- Technical. This field includes scientific, scholarly, peer-reviewed material, DIY instructions, user manuals, specifications, and self-help media.
- Copywriting. This field is focused on advertising and publicity.
- Journalism. This professional includes columnists, bloggers, and specialists writing material published through media outlets.
- General: These writers produce whatever interests them.
- Literary. This field includes authoring fiction and nonfiction across the spectrum of genres: biography, history, religion, philosophy, politics, romance, urban fantasy, mystery, children’s books, young adult media, and poetry.
- Social Media. These writers develop content for various platforms including Facebook and Twitter.
Tailor your foray into the profession by selecting three categories of writing you’d like to research. Don’t limit the investigative inquiry to Internet searches. Visit your local library, browse the card catalog, and check out materials to read. Seek out practitioners in the areas you’ve chosen. Engage them in substantive conversations about their work and their business practices. Before meeting, write out the questions you want answered. Take another look at your choices: which ones speak the loudest? Do you feel a calling?
Experienced correspondents read – a variety of media. How much reading do you do? How often? And what kinds of material do you ingest? Reading across a spectrum of media is crucial and fundamental to expositive discourse. Do you understand where creativity emanates from? The stuff of originality evolves through an intangible process which begins in the head and heart. It’s known as your muse and is enabled through careful nurturing.
The quick and dirty definition of freelance writing is the art of creating content for use in just about any context imaginable. Freelance scribes take ideas and turn them into results-oriented messaging. The intent is to meet a goal or accomplish a specific set of objectives. The unaffiliated chronicler is an interpreter, raconteur, artist, and consultant. She uses her expertise to originate cogent, persuasive, and results-oriented text. Freelance writing – is it a good fit for you?
©December 15, 2016 by Theresa W. Bennett-Wilkes.