Friday, September 16, 2011

The Seven W’s of Freelancing

You’re your own best resource. It all begins with you—who you are, where you live, what you need to survive, what you want out of life, what you believe in, what you know you can accomplish, and what you admit is difficult for you. These are the seven “W’s” of freelancing.

Let’s begin with who you are. Every person—every writer—is unique. Each sees the world in a personal way and interprets it for his or her readers. Everything about you affects the way you write—the environment in which you grew up, your family, your education, your likes and dislikes.

Where you live is equally important. Each region of the country has geographic and cultural differences that influence those who live there. You have been and still are being affected by the geography and climate of your region. Today, to be a successful writer it’s not as important to live in a metropolitan area. But where you live does affect the type of ideas you generate. And your ideas are the foundation of your writing.

Do you know what you need to survive as a writer? This could be better writing skills, better ideas, or better equipment—even money. Are you confident about your writing or do you need someone to tell you its good. It’s important to always work at improving your craft. Study works by your favorite writers and analyze them for the techniques they use. Record your ideas in an “Idea Book,” so that you won’t forget them. And buy the best computer and software you can afford. Remember, you don’t have to buy them new. Used or refurbished units work just fine—plus you don’t have to use the latest and greatest software. Financially, how much will you need to live satisfactorily? Will your writing alone bring in enough for you to live on or will you have to supplement your income. If you have to seek supplemental work, try to find something related to what you’re writing about. Then you’ll increase your knowledge while bringing in extra cash.

Have you given some thought to what you want out of life? The primary goal of beginning writers is to get published. But once you’ve done that, you need to know what you’re going to do next. Create a plan for the future, even if it’s only for six months ahead.

Your personal beliefs will definitely affect what you write. Everyone has personal opinions. Yours will work their way into your writing eventually. No matter whether you write non-fiction or fiction, your opinions will subconsciously seep into your work through topics you choose, themes, even dialogue of fictional characters.

Do you know what you can accomplish, based on your writing skill level? Most writers have no idea what their writing skill level is. Compare your writing to other writers—not the big names but other beginning writers who write about similar topics. Check out books from new writers. You’ll be able to tell immediately if their work is above or below you writing level. As a writer, you should be able to notice really good writing when you read it.

Can you be truthful with yourself and admit what’s difficult for you? People in general don’t like to admit their frailties. Writers aren’t any different. Make a list of your weaknesses–and not just those associated with writing. Once you have them down on paper, you’ll be able to work at making each stronger. You won’t be able to eliminate all of them, but just working at a few of them will make you a better writer and a better person.

Make a list of these seven “W’s” and post it on your bulletin board or your refrigerator. Remind yourself of them every day, and you will succeed.

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