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What Skills Do I Need to Become a Freelance Writer?

November 28th, 2012

Now we know what qualities you’ll need to become a freelance writer, we’ll look at the essential skills needed. Luckily, if you are missing any of these skills, they are easily learnt so if you feel you don’t have them all right now, it is no barrier to you becoming a freelance writer.

I imagine that you can guess many of the skills you need to be a good writer but I have detailed those that are essential:

spelling and grammar – editors want work that’s not only engaging and interesting, but also correct. They want to do the least work possible to make the writing publishable, so if the choice is between your work without errors and another person’s with errors, your work should win out every time. I know, being an editor myself, that there are some articles that take up more of my time than others. And, I also know that those writers will probably not be asked to contribute again. So, the moral of the story here is, make sure you check your spelling and grammar thoroughly. After all, there is no excuse for multiple errors – it simply shows laziness

punctuation – punctuation is just as important as spelling and grammar it makes your work easy to read as amongst other things it tells the reader where to pause for breath and where new topics begin and gives meaning to your writing can you imagine having a piece of work that has no punctuation in it at all it’s very difficult if not impossible to read like this paragraph and let’s not forget that a poorly placed comma can change the whole meaning of a sentence which could be disastrous

syntax and word choice – as well as the above-mentioned skills, you also need to be able to choose the right word and put it in the correct place in the sentence. Correct word choice means you should know which ‘weather’ to use when talking about sunshine and which ‘their’ to use when you need to talk about possessions. Some errors pop up time and again, such as ‘of’ instead of ‘off’ and ‘loose’ when the writer means ‘lose’.

Once you’ve decided on what word you need to use, it’s vital you put it in the right place in the sentence to avoid ambiguity. All your good work will be ruined if, after choosing the right word and spelling it correctly, you then put it in the wrong place.

And remember spell checkers will not pick up on these kinds of errors so proofread everything, several times!

research skills – as well as having English language skills, you’ll also benefit from knowing how to carry out effective research. This will help you find information for your writing – whether that’s for a historical romantic novel or a hard-hitting political article. And, if you know how to use the internet, all the better! While it is possible to complete research without the internet, it is so much easier and quicker if you can.

As you can see there are a number of skills you’ll need to be an effective and engaging writer. However, as I mentioned earlier, if you feel you may be lacking in any of these areas, just dedicate a little of your time to learning – there are lots of free resources available online – and you’ll soon be competing with the best of them.

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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