So you finally signed your first contract as a freelance writer, did you? AWESOME! Here are a few things you’re going to learn in the next month. These are valuable lessons, both professionally and financially (yaaaassssss).
You’re capable of writing a lot more words in a day than you think
You’ll surprise yourself with the amount of work you will actually be able to complete throughout a single week. Up until now, you’ve probably written only a few articles per week, for free. Now you’ll have anywhere from 10 to 30 articles to do in a week, or a few larger projects each containing a few thousand words or more … but you’ll have an incentive you haven’t had before.
Take a lot of breaks. Seriously. Write, break, write, break, repeat. If you have multiple assignments due at the end of every week, break them up so you get a little done every day. If you have daily assignments, figure out the time of day you are most productive and optimize that timeframe.
You won’t always get good feedback
This doesn’t just mean you won’t get any feedback at all, though that does happen. Sometimes you’ll get great feedback, even if you get one of those “in the future, please be sure to do this” emails. And sometimes, you will get negative feedback, and your contact will not be nice or professional about it, which makes things even harder to adjust to.
Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions along the way, even if it makes you feel dumb. Some clients are better at outlining their expectations than others, and it’s always better to reach out for clarification than to unintentionally miss something. You’ll soon be able to tell upfront which clients possess excellent communication skills and which do not.
You’ll fall into a rhythm, and it’s beauitful
At first, all this will seem like a lot of work. But that’s because it IS work. Someone is actually paying you to write something now, and even though it might not always be exactly what you would rather write about, it does get easier over time, and it will help you tremendously as you advance in your career.
You will fall into a rhythm. You’ll get used to having to write X amount of words before the end of the day. You’ll be able to research, write and self-edit a lot more efficiently. You will find a balance between quality and quantity, and it will pay off … literally.
You’ll make mistakes, and that’s a good thing
As a beginner, you’ll make mistakes, some small and some pretty significant. Some clients will be forgiving and some won’t. Many clients are very particular about what they want, and sometimes if you don’t quite hit the mark, you won’t be asked to complete more projects for them.
This is why you should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, A-L-W-A-Y-S complete a “test assignment” if you’re using a site like Upwork to find clients to make sure you both know exactly what the other is expecting from that type of assignment.
For more tips on turning your passion for writing into a career, check out our ongoing series and leave any questions you have about professional writing below.
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