Five Traits and Skills that Make You a Successful Freelance Writer

Writing has always been one of the legitimate and lucrative ways to earn money online. This is why more and more people try their luck in writing for a living. However, it takes much more than sheer luck to have a successful freelance writing career. Do not lose hope, though. Even if you are moonlighting, looking for a new career, or contemplating on having a freelancing journey altogether, there are at least five traits and skills that make you a successful freelance writer.

You write using the KISS method.

Keep it short and simple is probably the most frequently mentioned advice you can read amongst hundreds of writing books—and for an important reason. You avoid one common pitfall among beginners which is writing to impress when you are expected to express. Rather than using complicated words, hard-to-understand jargons, and long sentences and paragraphs, you write short and simple. You do not simply dismiss KISS as a cliché but live or rather write with it every time. After all, this is the easiest way for your readers to understand your writing and take the gist of the information you want to impart.

You know how to manage your time.

Freelancing is no different from juggling. There will come a time that you probably have two to three writing projects due by the end of the day; plus the fact that you need to do your monthly grocery shopping today or else you miss the discounts! Yet, much like the highly trained jugglers, you can also master managing your time for your freelancing work and other responsibilities through constant practice. Do a time log. Set the alarm. Plan your days, weeks, or months. Find the system that best fits your current workload, responsibilities, and energy. In this way, you can finish your duties without the need to sacrifice any task or your sleep.

You know how to manage your money.

Aside from managing your time, you also manage your money. Freelancing, especially for beginners, involve irregular and often fluctuating incomes. You know that freelance writing is an output-based arrangement; and oftentimes, you need to finish the writing project before getting paid. Sometimes, writing projects can take up weeks or even months. There are also times that you may have to endure delays in payments. You may even experience lean seasons when writing projects are sparse. Hence, you maintain a budget that covers all your needs and some wants and fund them first. You build an emergency fund and buffer account to be able to buy your needs and pay for your duties even during a lean period.

You are resourceful.

If you write for a living, there are times when you are tasked to write about a topic you know little about or nothing at all! However, this does not stop you from writing an informative and compelling piece that provides value to your readers. You are resourceful. You conduct research on the topic. You interview experts. You quote known icons in the field. The most exciting part is that you learn in the process too and now have the opportunity to share what you have learned to your readers.

You are self-reliant.

Ultimately, what makes you a successful freelance writer is that you are self-reliant. Working on freelancing projects often includes the need to “work under minimal supervision.”  You believe in your own capabilities and depend on your own strength to satisfy what is expected from you. Moreover, in the freelancing world, being self-reliant also means that you are also in-charge of honing your skills. You invest in yourself. You do not stop learning and engage in numerous opportunities to expand the value that you provide to your readers and clients. Thus, you take a cue from Beyoncé’s words: “I don’t like to gamble, but if there is one thing I am willing to bet on, it’s myself.” This is what makes you a diva in the freelancing industry.

These five traits and skills make up a strong foundation towards building a successful and sustainable freelance writing career. You might need to acquire additional skills and develop more favorable traits along the way, but if you practice the KISS writing method, time and money management, resourcefulness, and self-reliance from the beginning, this should be easy.