Are you tired of trying to draft a 1,000-word article, only to find your first draft clocks in at 3,000 words? Then it’s time to gain some new writing skills and learn how to write to length.
A reader recently asked me if I had a resource on how to hit your word count, and I realized I didn’t.
Which is silly, because I had to write to assigned length on 3-4 print stories a week for 12 years, as a staff writer. Not to mention the hundreds of short blog posts I’ve written for clients since I got back into freelancing in 2005.
And then there was that one hard-ass editor at Entrepreneur who would refuse to read my draft if it was more than 10% over assigned length. Period. THAT schooled me, for sure!
Got some writing tips to share with you on how to avoid time-wasting and overwriting in your writing process.
Ready for a simple system to avoid overwriting? Let’s go! Here are 10 key steps to cut the blather and make sure your first draft is close to target length.
Tired of article writing jobs that pay a big $50? There’s a ton of ‘online content’ work out there that doesn’t pay much. Maybe it’s time to move up and learn how to write an article.
And when I say that, I don’t mean a $75 article — I mean the type of article that pays real money. $1-a-word and up land.
If that interests you, you’re in the right place.
After offering article-writing tips for over a decade, I decided it would be useful to organize all the information into one, big ultimate guide.
Many freelance writers do article-prep steps out of order or skip some steps entirely, with poor results. Following this step-by-step guide will make it easier for you to move up, write in-depth, reported articles faster, and sell to better-paying article markets.
Ready to learn how to write an article that pays? Then let’s go!
Say you’ve got an idea for a magazine article. You write up a query and send it in.
What happens next? Crickets.
I’ve heard this tale from hundreds of writers. They all want to know why.
Usually, the answer is that you don’t know how to analyze the magazine you’re pitching, and use what you learn to create the perfect query — the irresistible one that editor can’t resist.
Everything you need to know to write a hot query can be found by studying the articles in that magazine.
What do you need to look for? Here’s my checklist:
Want to get paid to write about writing? If you know a little something about the business and craft of freelancing, you can cash in on your ideas and experience.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
It’s no secret that finding a niche is a smart strategy to grow your freelance writing business. Everyone should have a niche, or two or three. And writing can be one of them.
In fact, there’s a number of online and print markets that serve freelance writers and some pay up to $1,500 per assignment. Pitch these places great story ideas, and you can get paid to write about writing. For example:
You’ve got some insight on how to write great headlines.
You’ve learned a few interview tricks over the years to get sources to spill the beans.
You’ve some great connections with thought leaders in writing and publishing you can interview and write a feature about.
Or maybe you’d like to write about the art of the pitch and interview pros who know how to do it.
Want to get paid to write about writing? Check out these markets that cover the business and craft of freelance writing, and start pitching.
There are five stages to pitching a story idea to an editor:
- You get an article idea
- You write the idea up, in a query letter or letter of introduction.
- You send the pitch letter in, usually via email.
- You wait, frequently in vain, for a response.
- You begin the second-guessing game, and start wondering why your article pitch didn’t get you an assignment.
That fifth stage often sends writers into an emotional tailspin, and sucks up way too much time. But it shouldn’t. Really, it shouldn’t exist at all.
There are only two basic reasons why article ideas get rejected — and once you know them, it can help you move on to writing that next query more quickly.