You’ve dreamed all your life you want to be a writer.
From those poems you wrote in high school to that unfinished book you’ve been writing, this journey lead you to freelance writing. This is a great way to flex those writing skills and create a business around it!
But, then comes the doubt and fear.
What if you’re not good enough to be a paid writer?
What if businesses won’t hire you because you aren’t a great writer?
Doubt and fear play in everyone’s mind when they start something new. You are already telling yourself you’re going to fail, so why even start?
This happens to me a lot when I want to lose weight or try a new writing skill (like case study writing). Those internal voices sometimes win, but I want to tell you right now, don’t let that happen to you.
Gaining confidence in your writing takes time and external reinforcements. You also need common practice to get better. What do they say? It takes 28 days or something to build a habit?
Having confidence when you write is the same process. Let’s go over some freelance writing hacks that you can start using today so that by 28 days later, you will have the confidence to get out there and land some freelance writing clients!
Best Writing Hacks for Beginners
If you are a brand new writer, being confident with your writing should be a writing goal. You can frame your goal like, “every day I will write 500 words,” or ” every week I will write one blog post” or “every day I will read something to improve my writing skills.”
When you write down your goals and share them with someone, it becomes real, and you become accountable. I have a vision board next to my office desk, and I look at it every morning when I sit down to work.
On my vision board, I have business goals, family/home goals and personal goals. It’s on my wall for everyone to see (and I even shared it on Instagram). This makes my vision board real, and now I am accountable for improving my life and business.
So, to begin these writing hacks as a freelance writer, make it a goal and then incorporate these hacks to accomplish your big writing goal.
1. Fake It Until You Make It
I’ve had success by faking it until I made it as a freelance writer. This immediately made me confident online.
Later on, after I picked up a few writing jobs, I mentioned to one of my clients that I recently started freelance writing and enjoyed working with this client.
My client was shocked. He assumed I had been freelance writing for years.
This is what I mean by “faking it until you make it.” When you show yourself as confident online, no one will doubt your writing ability (even if you doubt them yourself).
So, how do you fake something you’ve never done?
Follow Other Successful Freelance Writers
When I first started freelance writing, I found the “top” freelance writers during that time and followed them. I looked at their writer websites and where they were writing.
I looked at what writing niche they were in and what companies they wrote for.
Doing this helped me figure out some sort of idea of what I wanted to write about and where I could get started (i.e. guest posting).
You need to go “out there” to look like you’ve been doing this for a while.
Guest posting is the perfect way to do this. If you land three or four guest posts, these can help grow your reach, and different people will be reading your content on different guest posting sites.
This can lead to some sweet writing gigs for you!
So how to find guest posting blogs? You go to Google and type in your niche + “write for us” or “guest post” or “contributor” to find places to guest post.
One thing to know is that if that blog asks you to PAY to guest post, don’t! There is no need to pay to guest post. There are thousands of blogs you can guest post for free like this one.
With this freelance writing hack, you really need to optimize your pitch for these guest posts. Make sure you first read the guidelines to pitch to these places.
Some will want the complete draft while others just want samples of your writing or a headline of your guest post idea.
If you are pitching to multiple sites, keep track of which sites and which blog post ideas you pitch so that when one says okay, you know what to write.
You don’t know how many times I will pitch to just a few guest posting sites and write down my ideas instead of using Evernote or some digital tool and completely lose that sheet of paper!
Have More Than One Portfolio
You want to be online, so guest posting gets you all over the place, and the other way is to have more than one portfolio place to share your writing.
What do I mean by that?
First, you need a writer website with a portfolio section. I have that on my site.
From there, you can also put your writing samples on LinkedIn, Medium and Contena.
Here is what my Contena writing portfolio looks like:
The more portfolios you have, the better chance that someone will see your writing and hire you. You might think if you can just create three writing samples and put all the same writing samples on these places, but that’s not the best way.
Having duplicate content can hurt your reach online, and Google doesn’t like that. While some places you can share the same article to different portfolio sites (Contently is a place you can re-share your samples), I would create unique writing samples for the ones I mentioned in this post.
To learn more about portfolio sites, check out my Youtube video and subscribe to my channel!
Don’t stop after you write your first three samples! Keep on writing!
Start a blog on your writer website or create a new blog and start writing. For this freelance writing hack to work, you need to excel in writing and practice your writing skills.
2. Post Your Writing On Medium
I mentioned Medium as one of the portfolio places you can put your writing on, but I want to dive deeper.
Medium is a free blogging platform where you can sign up for their partner program and start getting paid to write on Medium.
You get paid via engagement on your content and views, so you will reach a larger audience if you submit your content to publications on Medium.
You don’t have to write in your freelance writing niche, but it can help you gain some confidence if you are picking a new freelance writing niche topic.
Otherwise, you can use Medium to write about your passions and gain experience with your writing and how others engage and respond to it.
And, as I mentioned, you can earn income for your writing – it’s not a lot – but if you consistently write and submit to publications, you can make some good money!
3. Cut Unnecessary Words
I’m not the best writer out there.
I can be wordy, long-winded and sometimes my writing doesn’t make sense. But that is why I practice writing every day or as much as I can every week. One easy thing you can do is remove any unnecessary words in your writing.
You want your writing to be easy to read, and that often means using simple words. Common words (that I probably I use sometimes) to avoid when writing:
- Due to the fact that – Use ‘because’
- In my opinion – Avoid this and get to the point of your thought
- In terms of – use ‘about’ or ‘regarding’
- In order to – use ‘to’
- Just, Really, Very often – avoid (yes, I still use these)
- That – I have to go back in my writing to remove all my ‘thats’
Again, keep your sentences simple and know that clients don’t want to pay for these “filler” words.
4. Use Bucket Brigades
This is my favorite freelance writing hack!
Bucket brigades is a form of grease copywriting, and I try to use it when I write blog posts.
You typically use a bucket brigade to build curiosity and “close the loop,” making the introduction a great place to use bucket brigades.
For example, you can start your entire blog post using a bucket brigade like this:
Happens to the best of us, you know.
Everyone tells you that you can write for hours when you get in that zone, but that’s not true.
When the flow stops, and you can’t write anymore, you have writer’s block, and every writer will get this sooner or later.
The first sentence gets you curious and MAKES you HAVE to read the second sentence to understand what this writer is talking about.
Then the third sentence makes you curious as to where the writing will go.
This is how you use bucket brigades, and it’s a great writing hack to have in your back pocket.
5. Try Writing Exercises
For this freelance writing hack, why not give yourself challenges and exercises so you can start gaining that confidence you need as a new writer? You can do this during your free time, and it can help strengthen your writing voice and expand your writing.
Some writing exercises you can adopt today are:
- Incorporate power words into your writing
- Use sensory words in your writing
- Give yourself a word count to write a whole post on the same subject – in 500 words, 800 words, 1,000 words. For example, “how to bathe a dog.”
- Use a bucket brigade in your next introduction
- Continuously free write for five minutes without stopping
- Use a writing prompt
Doing these exercises will only make you a stronger writer with built-in confidence!
6. Focus On One Writing Niche
Listen, the best and most successful freelance writers out there aren’t a Jack of all trades. These writers have a niche, and businesses know it.
So, you need to focus on finding a good writing niche or service you can use to market your writing for this freelance writing hack. It can be a new writing niche topic if you want. If that is the case, learn everything about that topic or service.
For example, if you want to write white papers in the tech industry, learn how to write a white paper and then find some technical writing jobs.
When I picked the digital marketing niche I studied many digital marketing blogs like Neil Patel, Sumo, and Social Media Examiner.
For your writing niche, find big sites about your topic and learn from the experts on how they write and what they write about.
7. Flex Your Writing Skills
A great way to improve your writing skills is to start trying out other types of writing. This can help you in the future if a client suddenly asks you if you can write instructional lessons for their upcoming course.
Some types of writing you can start trying are:
- Writing case studies
- Writing a gift guide
- Creating an ultimate guide
- Magazine article
- Facebook ad
- Social media post
- UX writing
- Writing a landing page or sales letter
You might learn that you enjoy writing ultimate guides, and there you go, you found your service – long-form ultimate guide writer.
Psst…if you are interested in this form of writing and other types like SEO writing, check out Freelance Blogging in a Weekend.
8. Use Rejection as Motivation
Maybe you tried to pitch to some companies, and all of them failed – rejection after rejection.
How or why would you keep going?
Rejection is crippling, and it can really stop us from pursuing our dreams, but I want you to use this rejection as motivation.
Tell yourself that this company just wasn’t your ideal client and move on.
And, as an added perk, you can turn that rejection in a paid freelance writing job!
9. Create a Habit With Writing
I know – this is probably on every blog post about having confidence in writing, right?
Well, that’s because it works, and it’s an easy freelance writing hack to use.
When writing is a habit, it becomes intuitive. This means ideas flow faster and more efficiently than if you take 10 minutes staring at your computer screen trying to think of what to write about.
So, how do you create a habit? First, schedule writing time in your day every single day. You may have to wake up before your children do or write at night before bed.
Do what you can, but schedule that time and write!
Next, write in the same place every time. This will create an environmental cue so that when you enter this space (your desk, office, basement, etc.), you will want to write.
Finally, start listening to writing music. I use music to help me “open up my mind” and keep me focussed. I also use it to drown out the noise in the house with twins and husband home.
By doing these three things, you will create a strong writing habit, so give it a try!
10. Avoid Writer’s Block
Writer’s block happens for me when I’m too stressed out. I may have three deadlines, and my twins are sick with fevers.
Or, I’m about to move, and I have to update my content and courses.
When I have too many things on my plate, I can’t write anymore. What would take me two hours to write becomes two weeks to write.
So, do what you can to avoid writer’s block since writing will be – or already is – your job.
11. Avoid Low Paying Writing Gigs
To gain confidence writing you need to avoid writing jobs that pay pennies. You will not learn the best writing type for these clients, and it will only make you more frustrated with your writing.
You’re writing is worth more than $.05/word! It really is! Believe in your writing ability, especially if you adopt these freelance writing hacks.
How do you avoid low-paying writing gigs? Avoid content mills and freelance market places like Upwork.
12. Pose Your Way to Confidence
The best freelance writing hack I can give you is to pose when you write! I know that sounds silly, but this is similar to faking it until you make it. If you fake a smile when you’re sad, you will be happy.
One thing I remember doing when I was going through IVF was after the doctor implanted my eggs, I read that laughing and being happy can help with getting pregnant with IVF.
So, even though I was highly anxious and stressed and sad that these treatments weren’t working, I made sure to find the funniest Youtube video on my phone and laugh with my husband.
This is similar to your writing. If you have doubts about your writing and believe that no one will pay for your writing, adopt a strong pose and use that to boost your confidence over time.
Freelance Writing Hacks to New Writers
There you go! My best writing hacks to help you boost your confidence to make a living as a writer!
Share in the comments other freelance writing hacks for confidence! I’d love to hear them!
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