Monday, November 13, 2006

So You Want to Be A Freelance Writer?

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You're in Love with the idea of being a writer....
Sitting in front of your pc screen, watching the blinking cursor as your fingers lightly rest on the home keys of your keyboard. You imagine that your words will spill on to your document by the multitudes as your fingers dance across the keyboard. Inspiration is running high and concocting a first rate article or book is effortless.

Isn't that the way a freelance writer works? Hardly. Well, except for the part about watching the cursor blink. How do you know you have what it takes to be a professional writer? Is there any supernatural sign that signals destiny? Yes and no. Maybe your Aunt Trudy told you that your last short story was fantastic, but have you gotten feedback from writers? In any event, I have noticed that there are certain qualities and characteristics that successful writers have that enable them to be successful.

The Top 5 Successful Qualities and Traits of a Freelance Writer

5. Opportunistic - A good writer will seek out opportunities and act upon them without hesitation. Is there a writer's group starting up? or is the local java shop showcasing poets? You can bet the successful writer will be there to not only listen to other's work, but to meet other writers. There is always a networking opportunity for future writing gigs.

4. Analytical - That's not to say that writers are mathmeticians at heart. They are analytical in determining what needs work within their own writing. A good writer will try to use both sides of their brain, the creative side AND the logic/analytical side of the brain. They analyze their strengths and weaknesses and write accordingly.

3. Marketing - Writers worth their salt know that marketing themselves is crucial to building their name and reputation. They constantly are searching for ways to stand out in the crowd and gain recognition. They will be the first to scour the business section of the paper for business networking opportunities and practice their elevator speech relentlessly.

2. Determined - Writers are a determined bunch. This quality enables them to push forward when inspiration seems to have dried up, work to better themselves by attending seminars on writing skills or whatever skill needs honing. Some people call this trait, "Stubborn".

And Finally...
1. "No" is not in their vocabulary - A good writer will never accept one opinion as a reason to quit. There will be plenty of critics that will be frank and downright brutal in their analysis of your writing. Perhaps they suggest taking up basketweaving for a hobby. The writer will assume the critic had a bad day and should take up basketweaving.
The ultimate lesson is to be objective, learn from others and do not allow others to have more control over yourself than you.

Happy Writing!

Taryn Simpson is a published author and freelance writer with over 15 years of HR experience. Ms. Simpson owns her own writing company, Simpson - E Publishing which offers clients ghostwriting of novels/articles, web content, brochures, newsletters, press releases and more. Sign up to recieve her free newsletter for writer's tips and news on her website To learn more about this writer, feel free to visit her online presskit:

More Musings Later-


Gopal Aggarwal said...

that's motivational...good!

Yvonne Perry said...

I'm Yvonne Perry and I approve of Taryn's blog! You certainly have a way with words, girl. I can see you sitting there at the keyboard with your fingers on the home keys staring out the...oh wait, that's MY relfection in the window!

Anonymous said...


Is there any supernatural sign that signals destiny?

Darn... I'd been waiting for "the sign" - any sign, really - but, after reading your take on what it means to be a freelancer, I may have to change my outlook.

Thanks for the informative, and enjoyable, look at the writing life - it's quite obvious you have "found your passion."


suzannelieur said...

Hi, Taryn,

You're right that freelance writers don't just sit around waiting for opportunities to come to them. They seek them out!

Great article!

Suzanne Lieurance
The Working Writer's Coach

hal manogue said...

Great advise for creating what you want in your life. Thanks for the insight.

Linda Della Donna said...

Great article!

It certainly put things in proper perspective for me. After reading this article, I'm rolling up my sleeves and getting back to work.

Beginnings, Middle and Ends said...


That sign on the road, the one held by the homeless guy, saying "God is you." wasn't actually a sign telling me to go forth and write???

Oh, well. Too bad. I've started now and I'm not stopping!

Good article. I'm pretty sure I fit right into your description of what makes a freelance writer [even if I didn't actually get a sign ;^)]. And, oh, how I love the high of fingers dancing across the keyboard while words flow out!

I think I'm hooked.


Sondra said...

What great support... thanks.


katy said...

After reading your 5 qualities, I figure I am weakest in the marketing side, and strongest in the determined side. Definately a good sumation of the what we, as freelance writers, should have in common.