This is clearly an interesting question for anybody who wants to pursue the world of freelance writing. Unfortunately there is no answer that is set in stone. The word “freelance” is typically associated with a variable income, which means a writer can make loads of money at a certain time and very little the next. However, there are methods to create some stability, depending on the writing jobs you manage to secure. Various elements will go into how much a writer can actually make, so ultimately you have to ask some difficult questions before attempting to make freelance writing a full time job.
What are your Strong Points?
First and foremost you need to discover what type of articles will suite your style and ability. For newbies this might not always be evident, so it’s recommended to start with content mills. Yes, the rates are bad and the clients aren’t always very friendly, but after taking on a few topics your niche will start to surface. More often than not you will discover that you are better at writing something you never even thought about. However, don’t settle within content mills. As soon as you reach a decent level start looking for private clients who will pay a lot more.
Will you be able to Market your Skills?
Assuming you have established your specialties and can write a decent article, the big success will come down to marketing skills. If you have the finances to use a marketing company then utilize it, because clients aren’t surfing the web to find writers. Instead, they will post jobs and wait for writers to contact them. For those who cannot afford people with experience in the marketing area, there are numerous sites available with great tips on how to create some exposure. Unless you want to keep making very little at content mills, which also tend to dry out after a while, marketing is essential for financial growth.
Are you dedicated enough?
Without a boss to hammer you about showing up on time and reaching a deadline, will you have the discipline to pull through? The 5 working days of the week will turn into 7 and leaving work at 5 o’clock will become 11 o’clock at night. This isn’t meant to sound scary or even intimidating, but if you are starting out then this is what it will take to make a living. The beauty of this option means that you won’t be limited to a set amount at the end of the month. You can make money hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or even annually. The best part is that you can make as much as your dedication will allow you to make.
Learn about the Online World
It is typically expected for writers to know the tricks of the trade. These include using WordPress platforms and writing articles with an optimal keyword density in order to get high search engine rankings. If the latter didn’t make sense to you then take the time to learn about how the online world works. It will help you to market yourself in addition to establishing a good reputation. The internet changes constantly and you will only better your chances of generating an income when you keep yourself updated with these changes.
Where to start looking for Writing Jobs?
This is probably the easiest question in terms of the rest. A simple Google search will provide numerous sites where jobs are available. Sites like freelancewritingtips.com are great for increasing your income because they show you a lot of things you probably wouldn’t even have considered. In essence there are various jobs available, but there are even more writers willing to do the job. After finding a couple of sites that post legitimate work opportunities you have to use those skills as a writer and sell yourself. A lot of well-paying magazines post freelance work along with personal blog owners who need to create some traffic with good content. Visit these sites often and make peace with the fact that some of them only pay some time after you have delivered the article.
How does Payment for Freelance Writing Work?
If you are lucky you will find a private client who is willing to either pay the full amount before you write the article, or at least half of the amount. However, in the freelance world you can expect all kinds of payment methods. Content mills typically pay directly after the article has been accepted while other sites offer a revenue deal which can lead to a passive income. Quick payments usually result in lower rates while clients who pay extremely well can take days, weeks or even months to make a payment. For those who are capable of great marketing, there are clients who pay well, quickly and provide a substantial amount of work.
How to Earn with Freelance Writing?
Like mentioned before, there are numerous ways to go about earning. Ebooks, blogs, adverts, content mills, private clients, these can all lead to a passive income or once off payment depending on the situation. If you would like to publish an Ebook then expect to wait for money, given that it sells enough. Every aspect of freelance writing will have its share of advantages and disadvantages when it comes to making money.
What to Avoid?
Keep in mind not all clients are willing to pay. There are a considerable amount of job offers, but many of them are scammers who will gladly steal your work. If possible, always ask for some kind of deposit. You will quickly develop your senses when it comes to fake clients and trust your senses, especially when the offer is somewhat outrageous and full of promises.
If you can get your priorities straight and work with a plan from the beginning then you can earn a substantial amount of money. Apart from just being financially rewarding it can be emotionally rewarding as well if it’s something you are passionate about. With all the resources currently available for marketing and finding writing jobs, it makes the beginning a lot easier for newbies. Although, this doesn’t mean that building a career will come quick and easy. There is nothing quite like paying the bills and going on holiday by means of writing and it’s definitely possible when you work hard enough.
P.S. Before I forget about it: Linda works from home and her success story is tremendously inspiring.
A screenplay is a story that’s told in moving pictures. The reason this is important to emphasize is that a lot of people truly don’t know what distinguishes a screenplay from other forms of writing. Or a better way of putting it, is that many folks don’t know if their idea would be better suited as a movie or in another medium. If you want to know if the story you’ve written is best suited for the screen, put it through this simple test.
First, is your script full of long speeches or blocks of dialogue? Perhaps the story you want to tell would best be told as a stage play.
Second , are you the kind of writer who enjoys telling the reader every single morsel of detail about every single thing in the story? You like telling the reader what shade of pink your character’s wearing and how she got the deep gash above her left eye? Then perhaps you’d enjoy writing a novel or even a short story.
Third , is there enough meat to keep the audience engaged for at least an hour and a half? If not, maybe you should write a series of short stories instead of a script. Or maybe you should write a book of essays.
Here is how you can write a screenplay in five easy steps:
Step 1: Create engaging characters
Creating a character that a reader (and ultimately the audience), will care about is no easy task. But it is your primary goal at this stage of the game. It’s important to realize that everything about the character will emanate from that character’s needs, fears and desires. In other words, your characters, just like you, do what they do because of who they are, where they’ve been and where they want to go. This is very important. You can never have your characters doing things that are “out of character” for who they are “at that juncture in the script”.
Here’s an exercise to get you to create a vivid protagonist:
Socioeconomic Background _______________________
Physical/Mental Limitations ________________________
Family Background ______________________________
Relevant Personality Traits ________________________
Significant positive events _________________________
Significant negative events _________________________
Employment Situation _____________________________
This simple inventory should give you some insights into your main character. I suggest doing the same inventory for your other primary and supporting characters. I’ve had teachers recommend doing full bios for characters and if that suits your style, go for it. I’ve never done this and I’ve never recommended that anyone else do it either,primarily because I think there should be things about your character that even you have to discover later in the script. I like to write characters that are fresh and unpredictable and how can they be unpredictable if I know everything about them? They can’t. It’s not possible.
Step 2: Frame dialogues that reveal the character and advance the story
Many beginning screenwriters think that they can fool folks into thinking that they are good writers simply by putting decent dialogue onto the page. That’s only a part of the great screenwriting equation. And no part is greater than the sum. You can create the most visual characters in the world but if they utter words that make no sense, you haven’t done much as a screenwriter.
Remember these two things: Dialogue must (1) reveal character and (2) advance the story:
In other words, you can’t put words into your characters’ mouths that don’t belong there. If you create a character that’s starched and polished, it would appear to be out of character for that individual to use a lot of slang. Another way to reveal character is what your characters do not say. In the movie Ghost, what phrase does Patrick Swayze never say? I love you. Instead he always says ditto. This reveals character.
Advance The Story
I don’t care how clever a line, if it doesn’t move the story or character forward, it must go to the Dialogue Graveyard! Tough pill to swallow so keep a tall glass of water near the computer. It’s okay to love a great line or to totally enjoy a sappy monologue by one of your characters but if the words (1) don’t tell us something that we didn’t already know, (2) tell us something we’ve already heard or (3) don’t put the story in more motion, it can’t stay. Sorry.
Step 3: Create conflict
A screenplay without any tension is a screenplay that’s just asking to be tossed into file 13. Without conflict, you don’t have a movie. If boy meets girl and immediately gets girl, we’re all napping in the theater. But if boy meets girl, loses girl and then gets girl again, we feel like the 10 bucks may have been worth it.
In other words, a script contains many elements but one of the main ingredients is conflict. Well, you say, sure, conflict is important in thrillers and action movies but what about comedies? I’d say conflict is even MORE important in comedies. In fact, I think comedy is conflict.
Once you have a chart that shows the potential areas for creating conflict, then narrow down which pieces of conflict actually have a place in your script. Even though a bit of conflict might be fun to play out, doesn’t mean that it belongs in your story.
So, how do you know what to keep and what to scrap? You don’t. Not always. Not at first anyway. So, you’ve got to experiment. Maybe you’ll select those threads of conflict that have the greatest chance of elevating your story. Maybe you’ll lower the intensity of other conflict so that you’re not overshadowing the main conflict. Then, you just write those in and see how they work.
Step 4: Put that story in a structure
The next thing you must do is put that story in a structure that makes it an enjoyable film. Contrary to popular belief, films are not simply a string of inconsequential moments that happen to make sense and on occasion make us laugh or cry. Instead, structure involves a strategy, a system for arranging scenes and sequences that elicit specific emotional responses.
Screenplays are comprised of scenes that involve rising and falling emotions and action. Scenes that involve growth, information and movement by characters or circumstances. Scripts are about characters who experience changes in a finite amount of time arranged in such a way that each scene, through a number of mechanisms, reveals more about the story (and character) than previously known.
Now, that may sound a little convoluted, so let’s break it down.
On a basic level, movies are about people (or characters) on a journey. Since movies generally last from 2 to 3 hours, the storyteller only has so much time for the character to travel to his destination. The road map for screenplays then, involve scenes and sequences. A sequence is simply a series of scenes. A scene involves action that contains information about the story and/or character using things like conflict and events to move the character closer or farther from his destination, which could be a goal. Make sense?
Step 5: Plot it out
This topic is discussed in more detail in my advanced script writing classes but it’s a topic you definitely need to begin incorporating into your scripts. On a very basic level, your script needs the following.
I’ve used ‘Save The Last Dance’ as an example of some of the kinds of plots and subplots you can use.
! 1 Major Plot (a young woman wants to become a dancer and attend Julliard only she’s given up dancing because her mother was killed trying to get to her performance)
! 1 Major Sub Plot (young woman is forced to move to the “hood” where she learns a different kind of dancing that helps her land an audition for Julliard)
! 2-3 Minor Sub Plots (1) young woman is forced to move in with a father she barely knows, (2) falls in love with a black boy and (3) endures racial tension at school.
Why so many plots? Because if you tell me, “My movie’s about girl who wants a boy and she gets him.” I’ll say you don’t have a movie. Go back and add some additional sub plots. What else is going on?We’re not going to pay $10 to see a character declare her desire in one scene and then get it in the next! That’s not a movie, that’s a fairy tale.
You can keep adding subplots to make the story even more interesting. Maybe the boy doesn’t really want to marry the new girl but when he tries to reach his old sweetheart, is told by her jealous roommate that she’s moved out of the country!
Remember, it doesn’t have to be great or even good, for that matter. Just write. Notice how easy it is for your eyes to move through the script. You shouldn’t get bogged down while reading any script. If you’re not soaring through a reading of your script, you may need to trim it in some places. Maybe there’s too much dialogue. Perhaps too much description.
Writing and proofreading on a computer
Being a writer could be a very rewarding way to make money. Many people are able to earn $1 a word while some are only able to earn one cent per word. Either way, it definitely is a rewarding career that can provide a good income for every article or book that you write. Many writers enjoy this career because they can do it from the coffee shop, restaurant, and simply from their bedroom. It is a wonderful career to have if you enjoy writing for others. Despite writing being a good career, several people find that not having grammar can affect their success. Conducting a grammar check is always vital for every article or book that you submit to your clients. If you not start incorporating good grammar
and a proper spelling check, you can potentially lose clients.
Ways to check your writing for grammar mistakes
Your Own Natural Proofreading
Proofreading your work all on your own without any tools is very important. If you use a spell checker or a grammar checker online without doing it on your own, you may miss some ordinary mistakes that a human would notice. To capture those minor mistakes, speak your content out loud to get a sense of how it sounds like. Make sure that you read it out loud quite slowly to get a good feel on whether it flows well and whether it makes sense or not. Speaking it outloud is very powerful to do and is one of the best techniques that big-time writers always use for their biggest and smallest projects.
Read About Grammatical Errors
Researching about different types of mistakes will enable you to succeed in the long run. The truth is that even if you don’t have the experience or the natural knowledge to speak English well, you will find that learning about the language is helpful. Learning can do so much for you than you think. I suggest that you take online quizzes that test you and your ability to speak the English language. You are definitely going to find the process fun and educating.
Use A Grammar Check Online
Using a grammar check will enable you to capture those hidden mistakes you wouldn’t normally find. The truth is that your grammar may be good, but with just a slight mistake, publishers and requesters can reject or neglect paying you for your work. Having correct grammar is essential to any writer on the market. What is nice about these grammar checkers is the fact that they can detect some pretty small mistakes that you normally wouldn’t find. In fact, you may probably even find small mistakes like this – “You’re” is supposed to be “You Are”. Usually the phrase “you’re” is fine if the content is not formal, but usually the checkers will automatically believe that what you are writing is formal. Either way, it is important to still have some nice human knowledge to see what really is the right type of word to use despite what the checker says.
Use A Spell Checker
There are two different types of checkers: a spell checker and grammar checker. The grammar checker looks for punctuation mistakes and grammatically incorrect usage of words. A spell checker is what you will use to detect the spelling of the article. If the spelling is very bad, then the machine will always outline the mistakes that you have made. The spell checkers are usually more powerful to use than the grammar checkers, but it is still important to watch for incorrect spelling at times made by the system.
Here’s a few nice spelling and grammar checkers online that you can use today:
This wonderful website provides a very easy to use spell checker that anybody can use to help them check their articles. It can scan articles that are thousands of words long, so any length is accepted. Once you implement the article, a new window will show up showing you the different mistakes. It will show each spelling mistake one by one, and then it will allow you to change the mistake or not. It’s a pretty nifty little tool that can be great to use. They also have a grammar checker to make it even sweeter.
This other site is also very good to use. Simply input your article and click on the “ABC” button at the bottom. It will show you with a green underline of any spelling and grammatical mistakes that you may have. It is very easy to use and can be the perfect tool for any beginner. There are no pop up windows at all when you use the tool, so it will be very easy to use. Since the green lines are what show you of your mistakes, it definitely is very rewarding to see the words “There were no grammatical errors found”.
This nice website has a free and paid version that you can download. It is pretty nice to use, and it can be the perfect tool for checking your spelling and grammar. You will need to download the software, but those with very little space on their computer may not be able to download the grammar checker. It is still a wonderful tool and can be the perfect thing to use even if it does require a download. However, the first two websites above should clearly give you the right knowledge needed for checking your articles thoroughly. The best part is that there are no downloads needed.
When you do a spell check online, you will be able to determine what spelling mistakes you’ve made. You can also learn from your mistakes, and you will soon find yourself not in need of a checker at all. Grammar checks can be very useful as well. The best part is that most tools online are already a combination of both. If you find yourself always struggling to give quality content, use any of the tools above. A spelling and grammar check can save you from potential complaints from clients.