After searching long and hard for the perfect profession–you’ve determined you want to be a content writer. Freelance writing provides you with the opportunity to learn about numerous topics, which can be a fun and fulfilling part of your writing life. If you play your cards right, you might even make decent money (although it often doesn’t feel like it in the beginning!)
When you first start out as a freelancer, making a decent income may feel unattainable. No matter how much you’re making per article, if you want to be successful, you have to learn to write efficiently. No more spending all day on one article. The trick to being a successful content writer is writing efficiently without compromising the quality of your writing and I have 5 tips to help you do just that. Let’s get started!
Carve Out a Block of Time for Content Writing
Tip #1 is to carve out a block of time for writing. You’re a creator. Say it with me, if you must– “I’m a creator.” It’s hard to admit this to yourself when you first get started, but it’s true. Although sometimes we make do with what we have (shoutout to all the work-at-home parents), creators don’t typically work well using what’s known as a manager’s schedule.
While a manager’s schedule includes numerous short time slots throughout the day, a maker’s schedule includes longer blocks of time to create. Tasks like copy editing or proofreading may be easier to accomplish in short periods, but when you’re creating an article or copy for a website, you will probably work best with several hours set aside. Do whatever works best for you–set a timer, turn your phone off, or close the door to your office. No matter what, you have to set aside dedicated time to create.
Use a Split Screen
No matter what the topic of your article is or what kind of content you’re creating, it’s likely going to require some research. Using the split screen function on your computer may sound simple, but it makes all the difference in the world. Instead of constantly going back and forth from one tab or window to the next, it allows you to double-check your research and write at the same time.
If you’re working from a laptop like I was when I first got started, the split screen function can seem pretty counterproductive, depending on the size of your screen. If you’re not able to use this function, try to set aside time for dedicated research before you start writing so you can focus solely on your document. Making even the simplest tasks seamless is a surefire way to make your writing more efficient.
Start with the Draft
As soon as you sit down to write something, procrastination (and sometimes, perfectionism) rears its ugly head. If you want to write efficiently and beat procrastination, get the draft down first. Don’t worry about how good it is, just write it down.
It’s much easier to edit a crummy draft than it is to create an article from scratch. Once you get the draft down, you can move on to the next step. To create a draft efficiently, don’t think too much about how each sentence sounds. By all means, don’t self-sabotage and make it bad on purpose, but if you’re not sure how to word something, just write it down and come back to it in the editing process.
Take a Break from the Screen
Once your first draft is complete, take a break. You’ve earned it! Well, sort of. You’re not done yet, but this is a good time to step away from the screen. Partly because it reduces eye strain and partly because looking at the draft with fresh eyes will help you focus on the editing process.
It’s also important to distinguish between the writing part and editing. They require a different mindset and sometimes, you need to establish them as separate tasks to create efficiently.
Edit & Proofread Your Final Draft
Some writers love the editing part and some hate it with every fiber of their being. No matter which one you are, it’s an essential part of creating excellent content. Editing your draft is the process of addressing the overall structure of your draft such as readability and style. However, to save time and avoid further editing after submitting your final draft, you need to edit and proofread.
While you’re likely to find and correct grammar mistakes during the editing process, you still need to proofread after editing. Unlike editing, proofreading is the last step in the writing process and is meant to catch any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Even after a thorough edit, there still might be some small errors you missed. Don’t skip this final step if you want to be efficient–and if you want to save even more time, use a program like Grammarly to help you catch those pesky grammatical errors.
Content Writing Tips for Beginners from the HAW Blog
Being a new content writer can be a challenging and even lonely process. Even though there are plenty of freelance writers out there, it can still feel like you’re on your own a lot of the time.
At Hire a Writer, we believe people matter and that’s why we help content writers like you build confidence in their skills. From writer workshops and training to valuable and informative blogs, we provide content writing tips for beginners and experienced writers. Subscribe to our blog for more writing tips!