Writing Tips: 30 Freelancers Share Their Secrets in 30 Seconds or Less

Writing Tips & Secrets in 30-Seconds or Less. Makealivingwriting.comNeed writing tips and advice, but you’re in a hurry?

There’s nothing wrong with poring over your library of books on freelancing for the best writing tips, techniques, and business practices.

But what if you’re perpetually short on time? There’s a good chance you don’t crack those writing books for another day, another week…

And that’s a problem if you want to ramp up your freelance writing business fast, need a shot of motivation, or a writing tip related to a current client project.

When I was fresh out of school, only a novice at my day job, I decided to be a writer. No marketing experience. No niche knowledge. Heck, I hadn’t even written a single word of business writing.

I needed a lot of writing tips and advice…fast. So I asked writers in my network a simple question:

If you had 30 seconds to give a new writer just one piece of advice, what would it be?

And they delivered a pay-dirt pile of advice about freelancing.

Looking for writing tips to put you on the fast track to move up and earn more? Here you go:

Master your mindset as a freelance writer

So you want to be a freelancer writer? You’ll need to get your mind right.

Unless you happened to hitch a ride with Marty McFly in the move Back to the Future and got stuck in 1885, you’ve probably heard plenty of conversation about the importance of mindset.

But more than just Think and Grow Rich, cultivating a mindset of confidence, success and capitalizing failures is critical for freelance writers (newbies and pros) to go the distance.

Check out these mindset tips:

Don’t be afraid to be bold and touch on the subjects that matter even if they are sensitive topics.
Sara “Humble Queen” Scott, freelance screen writer and editor

Go for it.
Carol Tice, founder of Make a Living Writing and The Freelance Writers Den

Recognize early on that most editors and clients don’t know what they want until they see what they don’t want. (Get used to convolutes or non-existent direction before the first draft, then convoluted but passionate direction before the first round of edits.)
Justin P Lambert, communications consultant

#justkeepswimming (swimming, swimming)
Tricia Johnson Mool, freelance content writer and copywriter

Be patient. Everything will take longer to happen than you wish it would.
Alison Leuders, freelance writer

Keep writing, and never ever give up on your own style and voice of writing.
Surya Narayanan, writer at CIO Review India

Don’t give up.
Scot Martin, freelance B2B Copywriter

Don’t take rejections personally.
Janeen Johnson, contributing writer for Our Jamaica Magazine

Keep going…
Oliver Orme-Lynch, content writer

Take action, keep learning

What would happen if you filled your mind with writing tips and advice without taking action? Nothing.

Carol Tice frequently uses the mantra, “Be a writer, not a waiter.” Investing in yourself to develop your skills is critical to your success.

But the real wins happen when you learn and take action. That’s the ticket to freelance success.

Here’s how to level up your game:

Niche.
Steve Slaunwhite, copywriting trainer & coach

Focus on enhancing your skills and don’t rest on your laurels. Success follows those who embrace continuous adaptation.
Mahmood Anwar, freelancing coach and content writer

Read.
Sutapa Singha, content editor

Avoid content mills. Instead, learn how to cold pitch. Keep improving your pitches.
Zena Ryder, freelance copywriter and content writer

Know your audience!
Bindu Chunduru, freelance writer and subject matter expert

Hand in your pieces on time, and proofread your proofread version… You’ll get hired again and paid more if you show you’re reliable.
Heather Grace Stewart, Top 100 best-selling Kindle author

Read a lot. Write a lot. Accept your work will be rejected.
Rebecca A Eckland, writer, author, marketing specialist

Use outlines, and don’t be afraid to hire professional proofreaders.
Thomas Clifford, B2B copywriter for executives

Every day: Write. Write. And then write some more.
Lisa J. Jackson, business writer

Think like a writer, editor & marketer

No one starts out with perfect writing or marketing skills. It’s a process.

Every step of the way, you should be developing your skills as a writer, your marketing chops to get clients, tech skills, business skills to set your rates, negotiation contracts, and talk to clients.

In other words, learn to think like a writer, editor, and marketing manager.

Here’s how:

Assume the reader knows nothing, but don’t assume the reader is stupid.
Zack Robinson, SEO content expert

Just fix your takeaway and target audience for the piece you are writing. Everything else is just flow of writing which will improve with experience.
Nimeeshkumar Singh, independent journalist, brand consultant and content strategist

Market yourself regularly so you’re never short of work. Generally, I’ve observed that we freelancers start looking for work when we are short of it. Whether it is through cold pitching, social media or cold calling, market yourself regularly. Consistency is important in maintaining regular flow of work in freelancing.
Gagandeep Kaur, independent journalist, writer and content marketing strategist

Conduct efficient research. Formulate creative ideas. Create and stick to outlines. Make text scannable. Provide value, on-page SEO, embedded media, links.
Obaid Khan, B2B content strategist, founder of Pantheon Digital

Check your facts, don’t oversell or exaggerate
Elisavet (Lisa) Pavlidou, content developer

Never marry an idea. If a story line or dialogue is going nowhere, don’t keep it and force it to work. It never will.
Keith M. Hersch, 25-plus year ESL teacher, writer

Get out of your head and into the reader’s head.
Jim Koscs, automotive storyteller

Write short sentences.
Seth Carr, digital marketing strategist, writer

Tap into your freelance network for help

Want to be a freelance writer? It’s all-too-easy to find yourself writing in isolation mixed with a few client calls. And the best writer’s don’t work that way.

You need a network of other writers, creatives, and business professionals to share ideas with, seek out for support, collaborate on projects, and get ideas to improve your writing skills and grow your freelance business.

Stay connected with these writing tips

Join [a networking group]. You’ll connect with a group of generous, high-earning writers.
Karen Haywood Queen, technology writer

Join a Freelance Writers Den Bootcamp.
Jude Lockhart, freelance sci-tech and IT writer

Practice good posture & ergonomics when writing!
Angela Holmes-Abrams, freelance writer

Don’t try to go it all alone. Seek help in all areas – craft and business.
Mary Morris, Freelance Writer

Quick writing tips for freelancers

I asked one simple question on LinkedIn and received a load of responses (see all of them here) from freelancers who make a living writing. The result: Easy-to follow writing tips and advice you can digest in 30 seconds or less.

If you’re just starting out, stuck in a rut, or you’ve been freelancing for years, there’s always something new to learn. Keep going. You got this.

What’s your one piece of advice for freelance writers? Share your wisdom in the comments below.

Dan Phillips is a freelance industrial tech writer. He enjoys taking clients on marketing gemba walks and wears steel toes all the time.

Join my freelance writer community: Freelance Writers Den

 

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20 comments on “Writing Tips: 30 Freelancers Share Their Secrets in 30 Seconds or Less
  1. I agree writers need to also think like marketers as well. This is a very good point. Sometimes writers are good at writing but lack the marketing knowledge.

    • Dan Phillips says:

      So true. If you don’t know how to get the word out, what good is the word? Doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if you don’t know how to sell it. Thanks for highlighting this point.

  2. Hi Don (and Carol),

    Lots of great tips from lots of successful writers. And honestly, what’s better than a writing tip you can read in less time than it takes to sip a cup of coffee? 🙂

    Off to tweet…

    • Dan Phillips says:

      Wow, have you been reading my mind? I almost included a line in this post like your second sentence.

      Do you have a particular favorite from the list, Kevin?

  3. zack says:

    Nice work Dan!

  4. Sutapa says:

    I love bite-sized learning content. This was a great example. That you thought my tip was worth your write-up actually encourages me to try all these tips. This was very to-the-point and had my attention throughout. Will keep these tips in mind definitely

    • Dan Phillips says:

      Glad you liked it and found it helpful. You could say that the only thing as important to a writer as writing is reading. Only took one work for you to get that message across.

  5. Surya.S.Narayanan says:

    This is wonderful! Although I am not a believer in 30-second fixes, I think this blog does justice. Afterall, writing is about striking the right chords. Doesn’t matter if it is a book or a two words.

    Great work Dan! I look forward to more.

    Cheers!

  6. Scot Martin says:

    This was a cool idea–even if I was quoted. So much of the advice is rather quotidian (mine included) but humans are famous for forgetting things. Short, pithy, practical advice. Thanks, Dan!

    • Dan Phillips says:

      No one reinvented the wheel here, for sure. But it’s pretty good instruction on how to drive the car.

      Without the structure and direction of traditional employment, freelancers can get caught up in irrelevant details and forget the basics. We forget that the basics drive success and we need to stick to them.

  7. Mahmood Anwar says:

    LinkedIn is a great place to kickstart your writing career. It’s an optimum learning and networking experience and you gradually realize how writing is connected with Digital marketing, business needs, etc. What I’ve realized is that on other platforms especially content mills, you consistently chase clients but if you have a strong LinkedIn profile you’ll never be short of work and can avail learning opportunities simultaneously.

    • Dan Phillips says:

      Definitely. Spending time on LI is so much more worth it than content mills. I challenge anyone writing on content mills to pick a niche, target their prospects and go for it. They won’t be disappointed.

      What would be your best LinkedIn tip for freelance writers?

  8. Shahid Riaz says:

    The given information is quite up to the mark.these are usefull tips for young learners.

    • Dan Phillips says:

      Well said, Shahid. When I was reading these comments for the first time, I felt like I was hitting a growth spurt.

      Which was your favorite?

  9. Dan says:

    LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for writers to build community. That’s where I did the survey that turned into this blog post.

    But it takes time to build meaningful connections that perk up and respond when you speak. That’s why I spend time chatting and getting to know others on LI. I’m interested to hear how others nurture their LI networks.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Dan, I often check in with new connections and offer them something free shortly after we connect.

      • Dan Phillips says:

        That’s cool, hadn’t thought of doing that. Can you give an example? Would love to hear it.

    • You are very good at the connecting part. I have never reached out to someone on LI. Definitely an area I need to improve. Keep up the great work.

      • Dan Phillips says:

        Thanks Janeen, and trust me, it’ll pay off. Just getting to know people I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet otherwise is a reward.