Want to Be A Freelance Writer?
If someone offers to critique your writing, do you cringe? Most often, you only appreciate such when two conditions are met. 1) You respect the one offering the assistance, and 2) There are no critical suggestions.
If you want to be a successful writer, you can’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Authors get entire books rejected by publishers. In the past, you had to major in English or journalism to write for a newspaper or magazine. With the widespread use of website blogs, many people around the world are becoming freelance writers. This allows sites to publish content more frequently.
It is difficult enough to write engaging, evocative articles in one’s native language. The challenge multiplies when writing in a second language. Unusual word choice, improper verb tense, and confusion between British and American English word spellings can become evident.
Bypassing the journalism education or editorial experience, many article submissions can look like C-grade middle school essays. Editors have a choice of rejecting them outright or critiquing writers that they feel have potential.
Common Writing Errors
- Anemic introduction
- Needless repetition
- Verbose sentences
- Confusing plot
- Unnecessary details
- Wrong punctuation
- Word omissions
- Pedestrian story
- Limited vocabulary
- Improper word usage
- Verb disagreement
- Inaccurate detail
- Aimless objective
- Passive voice usage
- Weak summary
Many readers do not identify specific English solecisms. Instead, they quickly realize that information is either boring or confusing. Meandering run-on sentences are the opposite of impressive.
Carelessly switching between he, she, and they when conversations involve multiple people is difficult to follow. Describing future events in the past tense leaves you wondering where you are in the stream of time. “We will be finished” is an example of the passive voice. Better grammar is, “We will finish.”
The Illusion of Skill
Having a passion for writing with a vivid imagination is a talent. Combine this with a proper foundation of vocabulary and grammar to develop the skill of writing.
By setting up shop in a freelance marketplace, even the most inexperienced writers can convey a professional appearance. Careers may quickly get vertical trajectory by charging nominal fees and offering unlimited revisions.
For a low price, buyers might overlook average writing skills or edit the text themselves. This gives the seller the illusion of expertise after fulfilling dozens or hundreds of small orders.
Most marketplaces incorporate seller ratings. So writers strive for 5-star reviews to remain competitive. What happens when an editor drops a star or critiques the writing style? Some cherish the opportunity to improve.
Others have emotional meltdowns, citing grammar checker scores or all the work they have completed for other customers. Perfectionists have a hard time dealing with criticism.
Many buyers are more generous with ratings than they should be. This is so the sellers will be around the next time they need them. Silent dissatisfaction is no validation of subpar work.
Silent dissatisfaction is no validation of subpar work.
It is a poor career choice for freelance writers to favor the customers that provide no criticism, choosing contentment in mediocracy. Eighty percent of customers do not have the courage to speak up when they are unsatisfied. They penalize with their pocketbook. So when you hear a cry of complaint from the 20 percent voicing concerns, multiply their critiques times five for a better idea of how everyone really feels.
Each website has different guidelines for writers. Some editors prohibit external links or product brand names. Others want a separate list of supportive references but do not publish them. The common preference is for internal article links, which may need to be input by the editor. ClinicalReads blog often displays external references after user login.
The style of writing also varies according to the audience. Health articles for medical professionals use a different vocabulary than articles for patients. Some blogs may be conversational, authoritative, or technical. The preferred story length can be long or short. As a freelance writer, you cannot assume one size fits all. If you do, expect more critiques, edits, and rejections.
Do not consider the work complete because it is delivered on time. Strive to deliver early and ask for suggestions to make it better. Open conversation with freelancers is a separate rating on freelance marketplaces. Express appreciation for edits and critiques. In this way you can gain the cumulative centuries of experience from all the buyers you service.
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