PS has worked as a freelance writer since 2012. When she's not traveling and writing, she helps people with web design and development.
Making a living by working as a freelance writer demands lots of efforts and is a sea of tough competition. Your chances of earning more rises when you challenge yourself every day to do something different, instead of waiting for an opportunity to come. The reason why so many writers fail is not the writing skills, rather a lack of an efficient strategy. Instead of waiting for good luck, you need to build a game plan to leave a lucky life every day. Here are some of the most effective strategies (worked for me) to help you increase your writer’s income:
1. Craft a Business Plan
If writing is just a hobby for you and you expect no serious business out of it, then go on, enjoy. On the other hand, if you intend to earn a huge income out of writing and take it further as a business, then you, certainly, need to have a business plan. Don’t rush, go slow. Build it step by step, here are some suggestions on how to do it:
Be realistic. What level of income do you want to earn from your writing business to meet your financial goals and live a financially strong life? Writers earn millions per year. So, do dare to dream big and work upon it.
I don’t need to tell you this in detail that how wide the writing field is. It is difficult to become a master of all trades. But you need to know at least 3 or more wiring variations to earn a steady income. Think about it, what writing specialties can help you generate the above-mentioned level of income? Writing specialists such as technical, financial, copywriting, business and many more come with a huge paycheck. Decide what all you can do.
The writers have many different options to work for a living. They can work either for an industry - sitting in the office or as a freelancer with the leisure of earning money from home. Also, many writers open their own agencies such as publishing company to expand their business.
Which of these job options will help you achieve your target income? If you work as a freelancer, how many clients and projects you need to work with and what should you charge? If you decide to open your own company, then there are several things you need to take care of such as furniture, electronic devices such as printer, computers, phones and some business related paperwork such as tax policy and other legal matters.
To avoid any hassle later, it is better to decide earlier. Create a schedule on how many hours per week you are going to write to earn your target income? What must be your daily schedule including weekends? Make sure to stick to it. Be out of your comfort zone.
What sort of additional skills do you need to develop to deliver a better end-project? To earn a better income, knowing writing skills are not enough, you must also possess technical and business skills to understand big projects with ease. Always be keen to learn something new every day. Remember, to earn, you need to learn.
Job Hunting/ Promotional Plan
Not every job posting site is created equal. If you want to work as an office employee, decide what’s the best site to apply at, what you must include in your portfolio and cv? Also, think about the communication tools to use to approach prospective employers?
In the case of freelancing, networking with the clients works the best. If you have a good relationship with your current clients, they will refer you to their acquaintances, giving you more opportunities and higher income. You should have knowledge of promotional tools and charging rates. Some of the experienced freelance writers charge more than $100 for an hour.
How much cost and time investment you need to do to gather the required equipment and other relevant resources?
Don’t risk your life, invest carefully. Make a list of how much finance you need to fulfill all the mandatory business expenses.
Income tax is a big headache. Start planning about it from the first day of your job or business. What tax forms you are required to file, what all sort of finances you need to report and what all possible investments and savings you can claim as deductions?
You need to get as much profit as you can from your business plan, make sure to keep it short, concise and evaluate it periodically to do the necessary changes. Writing the first business plan should get you covered with all the above-mentioned points in as much detail as possible. You will also need to add some details about the promotional strategy. A strong promotional strategy will help you reach more and more potential clients within a short period of time.
Don’t get overwhelmed, be practical. This is business, your job, a source to make a living, you can’t dare to go wrong with this. Make sure to update it on time and be straight to the point. Your current business plan must reflect your current situation. Businesses have no emotional tools, everything is monetized.
2. Set Writing Goals
A business plan without set goals is like a candle without thread (bad comparison). You need to have an execution strategy. Ask a question to yourself, what are my writing goals? Any confusion? Well, here are a few tips to help you with your confusion:
- How many applications should I send a week to receive interviews with higher payouts?
- How many hours a week should I write to maintain a work-life balance?
- How many hours should I devote to training to improve my marketing skills and build an edge with the fast-growing market?
If you have intact answers for these questions, you are already halfway through.
3. Read Books
A writer needs to be a learner as well as an avid reader. Reading books is the best way to understand different writing styles. It gives you an insight into how different writers make use of different words to make their point to the readers. Consider a book by Charles Dickens and a book by J.K. Rowling, their English usage is entirely different, yet both of their works are a success in making an impression in the readers’ minds.
I work as a non-fiction and technical writer, yet I sometimes feel curious to read fictional books, which doesn’t at all relate to my genre. I do it because it gives me a sense of refreshments and a dare to try something new in my genre. It gives me inspiration and widens my knowledge area.
Read authors who motivate you to try something new and build a better self.
4. Grow Your Vocabulary
As a child, I have played various card and word games. They were like wars, where a Scrabble board was indeed a battlefield. I don’t lose, I never like to. I set a goal for myself to increase my average to 30 points a play, and then increase it steadily. I remember the last time I played, my points were around 220 and further, 610 points in a single game.
Now, it’s longer a war. I play it for fun to spend some time with my family, but they challenge me to play for only four letters a turn. This task has me a stronger player by the mind, as it urges me to stay aware of all the possible words that can be formed with four letters. I study all the letters one-by-one until I find the one with the maximum points. Certainly, this is a great way to expand my vocabulary skills. The other options can be:
- Reading older books, since most of them contain words that are rarely in use today.
- Studying foreign words, especially Greek and Latin
- Writing poems, it will ask you to look for rhyming words, which you might have never heard of
- Trying double entendre and making puns
- Summarising others’ work through your own vocabulary
- Rewriting your sentences with completely different usage of words
Expanding your vocabulary will help you learn new words. Besides that, you also need to practice on how to make use of the words you already know.
Avoid using complex words while communicating in the business world, either verbally or in writing. Here, you don’t have to show off your creative talent, you need to persuade people to take action.
The real meaning of expanding your vocabulary is using already known words in different styles to communicate every possible message without forcing your readers to look for a dictionary every second.
5. Expand Your Specialization
Growing your vocabulary and expanding your specialization play an equal role in giving you a raise as a writer. Being a specialized writer is the best you can do since it makes you earn more and possibly, give you a tag of an expert.
What’s more important is, you need to gradually widen your specialization area, to bring in some more opportunities. Don’t haste, every field is very wide, get a complete hold on one and then proceed to another.
This will help you become a ‘Guru’ in writing. But, where to begin?
- Practice the same thing in a different manner using different words and writing style.
- Consider each section of the elements of style and practice the content writing using them.
The Elements of Style is an important part of writing, irrespective of what sort of specialization you have. Here is a short brief of what’s all included in the Elements of Style:
- Characteristic vocabulary - repeated words, phrases and sentences
- Usage of precise nouns and adjectives and elimination of unnecessary adjectives
- Active and passive sentence structure, Which one to use where? (Active voice is used more, but the passive voice has its own importance)
- Use of first, second and third persons
- Writing in different tenses - present, past or future
- Writing commands, questions and statements
- Highlighting words and phrases with bold, italics, underline, bullets and numbers
There are innumerable ways you can try all of these. Here is an example on how you can expand your description technique, let us take the word “green” and consider all the possible variations of green, such as pea green, emerald green, sea green and so on. There are more than 70 recognized shades of green that a human eye can differentiate. Now, think about it how accurately can you differentiate them all while writing? How would you compare acid green to cyan? Can you bring the green out of a calm, and beautiful grasses in a different manner than the green of a human eye? The more precise you make your color vocabulary, the better you can craft your color description and thus, you’ll develop a remarkable descriptive style.
6. Experiment with Different Formats
Experimenting with different writing formats will help you stretch your wiring style and enhance every writing aspect of yours.
- Writing poems will enhance your sense of pairing two or more meaningful rhyming words.
- Writing plays will refine your communication technique.
- Writing fiction will sharpen your narration.
- Writing slogans will force you to write to the point with limited usage of words.
- Writing sales letters will teach you how to use persuasiveness in your words.
- Writing academic essays will guide you on how to appeal to a reason.
7. Pick up New Subjects
Trying mixing your field with others. It will add much more substance to your store. Start with a subject you know about to some extent. Mixing different subjects altogether can give remarkable or unremarkable results depending on how you do it. For example, if your main interest lies in health and fitness, you would like to take a subject like business, fashion or marketing.
While doing all these experiments, make sure you keep in mind your target audience. If you write non-fiction self-help books, introducing some elements in it by studying fictional characters won’t do much help. Readers look for real problems with real situations while buying a self-help book.
To improve your non-fiction range, try studying biographies, business, spiritual and other related genres. This will help you add a new layer to your wiring projects, giving you an edge to make a connection with the new markets. The more widely you can write about, the higher the number of readers you will receive for your writing. Thus, better opportunities with higher income will knock at your doorstep.
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on April 29, 2020:
Thank you for sharing :) Very informative. One of the best hubs on advice for writing.