Jayme has been an online writer for over six years. She is an artist, blogger, and freelancer. She often writes about DIY home projects.
Do You Want to Be a Successful Writer?
Those of you just struggling to get started in freelance writing are probably eager to learn the best way to compose an article. Those of you who are old hands at writing may be surprised to learn that you have been doing it wrong for years.
That is why I have set sail around the internet to find some of the best techniques and routines, which when combined with my own limited experience and shrewd observations, are a guaranteed recipe for creating your next masterpiece.
We writers all want the same thing, right? Success, money, maybe a book signing in the future. We want magazines to pitch to us, we want to be able to work two hours a day and draw in those elusive thousands of dollars per month. All from the comfort of home. Right?
Look no further! I am positive that I have struck upon the magical recipe for just that level of success!
Here are some freelance terms you will need to familiarize yourself with:
- Client: A semi-fictional being much like Sasquatch. You can find one, but it takes a lot of hunting.
- Contract: Paper that ensures neither you nor your client gets everything you want.
- Query: An idea you submit to a publication only seconds after everyone else in the world submitted the same idea.
- Pitch: Begging for the job (disguised as convincing a client you are worthy)
- Rejection letter: a big owie
- Blog: place where you go to write about your successes
- Social media sites: where you go to vent about rejections
- Networking: a fancy word for chatting online to friends
- Marketing: telling people constantly what you do
- Check or PayPal statement: success!
Ingredients for a Stellar Article
Before you can get started, there are some basic supplies that you will need. Some you will actually use. Others will just serve to make you feel all official and important.
You still need them though, because feeling official and important is part of the psychology that makes you get up everyday and face your job with a "can-do" attitude. So, search your house or your local store ASAP and gather these things:
- Computer (you are probably sitting near it right now.)
- Internet (you will find this near your computer. Or at McDonald's.)
- Paper (For notes, letters, doodles, to-do lists...)
- Pens (go with paper like ham goes with cheese.)
- Rubber bands
- A place to sit
- Caffeine in your favorite form
- A multitude of distractions
- Various organizational objects
- A smartphone
- Every single social network known to man
Here are some sites that need to be kept open on your browser for fast reference:
- Other Social Sites You Love
- Your Blog
- Other blogs you like to read
- Google news
- Yahoo news
- Local News
- Any other writing sites you work on
- Other sites you visit daily for advice or entertainment
- Your online banking page
Step One: Planning Your Article
If possible, you want to set your distractions to occur at regular intervals. Put them on a timer of some sort so that they interrupt you as often as needed to keep you completely frustrated. This teaches you to work under stress.
Turn on your computer and proceed to your favorite browser. Assuming you know how this is done, you need to open up a multitude of tabs.
Okay. All set? Open whichever writing program you prefer. If you write directly to a site, then you will need that site opened at least twice. For example, on HubPages, you will want your editor open, as well as the answers board, the forum, your feed, and any hubs are you want to read.
Type the title of your article. Now go search it on one of the other sites and see what it brings up. Read through the other articles and see if any of them sound as good as the one you have planned. Write a better title.
Go to Facebook and check all of your messages. Don't forget to tweet that you are writing something.
Go back to your article page and see if you can think of a good summary. If not, go to Pinterest and look at pictures of kittens.
Step Two: First Paragraph
This is where you remember the advice "just write". Start banging away at the keyboard until you reach a minimum of about 1000 words. Then take a break and check out the news.
That should remind you that you haven't updated your blog today. So go do that. Then peek at your Adsense account. Study it like it was the stock market.
Go back to your article and delete most of what you wrote and try to put the same thought into a more concise form. No one is going to read something that has a thousand words in the first paragraph.
After you have deleted some of the random thoughts about your dog, rainbows, Cheerios, and shoe polish, add in some keywords that will actually attract traffic. Hint: you only need two keywords; Make Money. If ten people are searching for articles today, twelve of them will be looking for those two keywords.
Now go edit a photo of a kitten or something that will attract visitors.
How to be Inspired by StumbleUpon
Harvest ideas for your next article while building up your presence on StumbleUpon. Use these tips:
- Hit the stumble button.
- Find something interesting to read, such as how polar bears have babies.
- Wonder how polar bears became associated with Coca-Cola.
- Look for Coca Cola articles to read.
- Get thirsty and find a coke.
- Cut your thumb on the can tab.
- Read an article on infected cuts.
- Look at pictures of gangrene
- Run to the bathroom to find antibiotic ointment
- Notice that your medicine is expired.
- Clean out your cabinet
- Go to the store for more
- Wait in line 45 minutes to check out one tube of ointment and a candy bar
- Read the magazine headlines while waiting
- Come home and write an article about which celebrity has gained or lost weight.
- Share it on StumbleUpon
Step Three: Adding the Meat of Your Article
Now that you have introduced your article and played in photoshop putting mustaches on kittens. (and a photo of Uncle Ralph), check your Facebook and Twitter again. Then go see if anyone viewed your blog.
This is a good time to read your emails too, and notice that you need to delete a bunch of spam. While you are doing that, Stumble several pages on StumbleUpon in hopes of being inspired for your next article.
When you find something really cool, like one of those "test to see whether or not you are a psychopath" games, share it on all of your social sites.
Since you are sharing...I mean marketing, go read a few blogs that you follow and see if they have anything that should be shared too. Then come back to your article and write at least five sentences.
Now go find a photo to support those five sentences. If you can't, try to work in words like:
because you can always find tons of images of flowers and irrelevant infographic. And everyone loves a health article.
Since you are trying to impress Google, you might want to check out some trending terms and news over there. And of course, the trending hashtags on Twitter. There is always a way to work a football or dating analogy into any article, too.
Once you have followed these steps, you will have the main part of your article written. If not, then you really need to work harder. Go back and start at the beginning of this section.
Step Four: Adding Subheadings and Rheumatism
You've probably worked hard enough for now, so take a short break and have a snack. While you are doing that, you can always dash back to your blog to see if it has had any more views. If not, try adding a bunch of people on Google+ then sharing your blog link.
Type a few more lines into your article. Run it through a word count tool and feel totally depressed when you come up about a thousand words short.
Add some really long subheadings. Then go look at Facebook again just in case something really amazing happened while you were out to lunch. About this time, you will become inspired and will form and create about seven stellar paragraphs in your head.
Before you can type them in, your Aunt Florence will call and chat for three hours about the weather and her rheumatism. You can't write an article one-handed, but you can peck out some tweets and maybe update your Facebook status while you listen.
Tell your aunt that you have a deadline to meet, and hang up. All of those amazing ideas you had earlier will be gone. Your head will be filled with rheumatism. So go do a Google search and see what the heck rheumatism is.
Writing and Self-Discipline
Step Five: Finishing Your Article
After you have replied to messages about your updated status, read through sites about rheumatism, and pinned about 70 hilarious memes on Pinterest, you are ready to finish off your article.
You probably came up with something like this:
"How the Coca-Cola Polar Bears Cause Gangrene and Rheumatism in Overweight Celebrities with Mustaches that Look Like Kittens During the SuperBowl (With Infographics)"
As long as you have met minimum word requirement, and gotten most of your point across, you can go ahead and create your fantastic ending. Some experts recommend that the summary of your article relates to your opening statement. So feel free to just rearrange those words.
For example, I would end this article by saying that if you stick to this method of article writing—not only will you waste an incredible amount of time, you will be able to create the perfect freelance article in 5 Easy Steps every time! With infographics, of course.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Sima Ballinger from Michigan on July 29, 2014:
Thanks for the tips - that was really cool the way you put the article together. You are very creative. I enjoyed the read and the video as well. Congratulations on this "Hub of the Day" article.
Earl Noah Bernsby on February 20, 2014:
Very amusing — Your thought process reminded me of one of those funny DIRECTV commercials: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOvrJFZ8DtU
Chris on February 19, 2014:
Personally I look for information on line to empower myself. I was so distracted by the never ending sarcastic humor of this article that I damn near skipped the vast majority of it and was still bored to tears.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on February 17, 2014:
Thanks so much fore reading, @suzettenaples, @deq1010, @WiccanSage,@Vasemon, and @jaya Sanghita. I am glad you all enjoyed it, and had a good laugh!
MikeNV from Henderson, NV on February 17, 2014:
Placing a large photograph at the top of your article may look neat, but you are eating up extremely valuable "above the fold" advertising space. This will result in far less earnings than you deserve. Place your photos down into the content.
info tuck from america on February 17, 2014:
bfilipek on February 16, 2014:
Fighting with distraction and ability to focus is very important. "Just write..." - good point! :)
Mark Ewbie from UK on February 16, 2014:
Excellent read - enjoyed it very much. Writing, layout, content, attention grab - you seem to have the whole thing nailed. A worthy HOTD!
ProsperTeacher on February 16, 2014:
Nice article how to become a freelance writer. It is interesting
Dianna Mendez on February 16, 2014:
Congratulations on a well deserved award. Well done! Great tips on how to write the perfect freelance article.
Maree Michael Martin from Northwest Washington on an Island on February 16, 2014:
Oh yes, congratulations on HOTD! So funny, so true, a great laughing experience. Focus, haha.....Gonna share this all over the place too, cause I learn so much from this Hub Pages world. Awesomeness!
Donna Caprio Quinlan from Newburyport, MA on February 16, 2014:
Thanks for helping me "learn the ropes". I'm new here and can see by your article that I am on the right track! I really have no "stats" to speak of yet, though, so I will have to wait a bit to take some of it to heart.
My first two hubs have taken me weeks, yes weeks, to compose. Your article gives me hope. :)
I'm enjoying being part of this HP Community!
Dana Strang from Ohio on February 16, 2014:
Nicely written. you pretty much nailed my writing style. still waiting for that "perfect article" though. Maybe I need to spend more time "networking" on facebook... :)
Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on February 16, 2014:
Your article is well written and very informative.
Congratulations on your Hub of the Day!
I also find it difficult just to get to the phase of carving out time each day to write. The funny thing is I do nothing but write an read most of the day, but for my business. I never seem to get around to the "pleasure" writing for myself and money on the side. Maybe one day :)
Thanks for providing excellent tips and great ways to get things done!
Jake Ed from Canada on February 16, 2014:
There is some very good advice here. I find there's a lot I can take from this, but also quite a bit I could leave as I find my own "professional" writing style.
Most of my current hub material comes from the stacks and stacks of books that clutter my room rather than current events and such, but when I do go in that direction, I definitely find myself flying all over the internet looking to see what's hot and what inspires me.
For your information, it really is saying something when I read the hub of the day the whole way through :)
Kari on February 16, 2014:
If I would have just read the title and headings, I would have thought you were being completely serious, like some other people seem to have thought on here.
Love the stumbleupon scenario...so true. I actually deleted my Facebook account because I'm well aware that stalking my ex friends and reading the latest nonsense from my current friends does NOT help me write an article.
James Bowden from Long Island, New York on February 16, 2014:
Even old writing hands like myself appreciate additional tips on composing that perfect freelance article.
Especially when you are in need of finding a new twist for an article in the works.
Thanks Sharkye for sharing a very useful, as well as, interesting article with your fellow writers here on hubpages. Definitely give your article a 2 thumbs up! (;
Beverley Byer from United States of America on February 16, 2014:
Great writng & dare I say even greater humor. Thanks!
FlourishAnyway from USA on February 16, 2014:
Congratulations on HOTD! This was just as funny and enjoyable the second time around.
Amie Butchko from Warwick, NY on February 16, 2014:
What a funny and relatable article! So creative and so true...! Great hub. Congrats!!!!!!!
Dan Reed on February 16, 2014:
Great way to start my Hub Day right here. Congrats on HOTD and getting me distracted with it. Guess I'm off to a good start then eh?! Of course you just added a trip to the store to my errand running...cookies sound really good. Okay, gotta go infographics before the snow football gets any deeper and covers my mustache kitty on Facebook.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 16, 2014:
Nice helpful tips and great advice!
Each hub teaches us something new and this one also did the same.
Thanks and Congratulations for HOTD!
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on February 16, 2014:
What a wonderful lesson you handed us! Nothing like humor to really get your point across. My biggest distraction is youtube. When I look for a video to add, I wind up wandering so far from what I'm writing. This distraction has taken me to seeing things like people who still live in Chernobyl, girls having a pillow fight in 1912 (or thereabouts), and short clips of aggressive deer.
poetryman6969 on February 16, 2014:
I would worry about subconscious copying with this method but you would almost certainly put out a contract on writer's block with all the mental stimulation and pressure!
Meredith Loughran from Florida on February 16, 2014:
I love this! Hysterical and real. Great tips! My favorite is hitting the F5 button every 2 seconds to see if anything updated. I need to open more tabs and...SQUIRREL!
Voted up, pinning and sharing. Wanna be my G+1? LOL
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 23, 2014:
@Nell---Thanks! I'm glad it made you laugh. But I'm sorry if sharing it led you off track. BUT...sometimes getting led astray actually means finding new inspiration, right? Or at least that is what we must tell ourselves when we realize we spent two hours reading humorous memes or cartoons. Seriously, thanks for reading and sharing though!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 16, 2014:
@FlourishAnyway--That is funny! I do get sidetracked by household chores that need to be done, but most of the distractions I battle are on the actual computer. :) I hate getting up once I am seated and ready to write, but can always think of so much to look up, research, check into, and update. But I think baking cookies definitely tops my greatest distractions. That is award-winning article methods right there!
Christy Kirwan from San Francisco on January 16, 2014:
Great tips, Sharkye! I like how you left in the procrastination/break-taking bits that are part of how most real writers actually work. ;)
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 16, 2014:
@Siyal Khan---I don't think the perfect article exists, only the perfect audience captured at the perfect time. Just keep writing, and it will happen. Good luck!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 14, 2014:
@cygnetbrown--Or better...DON'T follow these steps! At least not 100%! Haha! Thanks for reading!
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 14, 2014:
That was the funniest thing that I had read in a long time. Excellent work.
Kendrick Pruitte from Colonial Heights, Virginia on January 14, 2014:
Awesome article! I hope to start freelancing soon and will definitely use these great tips. Funny but motivating.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 13, 2014:
@Bill --Are you saying that you are happy with being less than perfect? :) Don't tell me you are one of those people that doesn't answer the phone while writing! How can you ever learn about rheumatism that way?
Thanks for reading and commenting, as always. We all have to find our individual paths to perfection!
Levy Tate from California, USA on January 13, 2014:
Interesting hub! Thanks for sharing heaps of tips! Voted up.
Mary Craig from New York on January 13, 2014:
You've mixed up some great facts and humor here Sharkeye. I'm not sure if I should open more tabs or get a cat!
Seriously though a well written hub with some good hidden advice. You should, however, include a warning...all readers will laugh!
Voted up, useful, funny, and interesting.
belleart from Ireland on January 13, 2014:
This is a brilliant hub...so funny but you actually do give some really great points/advice. really enjoyed reading it....
CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on January 13, 2014:
Well that made us laugh on a dull and wet Monday morning - I have not done much writing lately - too many distractions- voted up funny etc
Sanghita Chatterjee from Kolkata on January 13, 2014:
Amazing!! Had a good laugh after a long time!!!!
Vasanthan R Menon from India on January 12, 2014:
I liked it about the distractions.....giving time for distractions and aunt florence....a very good practical guide to writing
Mackenzie Sage Wright on January 12, 2014:
Sooooo funny, thanks for the laugh!
Christopher Decker from Burton Michigan on January 12, 2014:
This article was the funniest thing I've read in days, and like most stand up comics will tell you, it is funny because its true.
suzettenaples on January 12, 2014:
LOL! This is hilarious! Thanks for sharing!
Nell Rose from England on January 12, 2014:
LOL! I laughed myself silly at this! so darn funny! thanks for that, I needed it! seriously, have you been watching me over my shoulder? lol! all those distractions, yes, I know just what you mean, and you can't blame anyone else because its our minds that wander off and just have to, really have to go and play that game, get on the phone....thanks for the laugh, brilliant!
Forgot to say, shared this everywhere! even on a site that I have no idea what it is but I just have to look and have a go see....er no, better not on that one! lol!
FlourishAnyway from USA on January 12, 2014:
Loved this! Your process mirrors my own. For me, somewhere in there is typically also a nap or a batch of cookies. Voted up and sharing.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 12, 2014:
@janetwrites --Thank you for reading and enjoying. :) I thought about doing just another "how-to" article, but decided the world had too many of those!
Siyal Khan from Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan on January 12, 2014:
Well I'm new to this. & trying to find a perfect article, but still no success.
Cygnet Brown from Springfield, Missouri on January 12, 2014:
You're right, follow these five steps and you will have a stellar article.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 12, 2014:
Well, I'll let you know when I've written the "perfect" article, but if I were you I wouldn't lose sleep waiting to hear from me. :) Sound advice here my friend. Now I just have to follow it.
Janet Giessl from Georgia country on January 12, 2014:
This is a great guide on how to write the perfect freelance article. I love the way you write your articles, always with a sense of humor. I really enjoyed reading and learning from your hub.