Words to Win By: The Top 6 Traits of a Successful Freelance Writer

I don’t think any writer would argue: writing is hard work. But it is also a very rewarding and creative way to earn a living. With the endless need for blog articles, social media posts, and web page copy, content writers are in a higher demand than ever before. Kudos if you’ve already carved out your niche in this exciting freelance world and all the best to those who have just begun their independent adventure into the realm of content writing.

We’re focusing on content writers here but to succeed as a freelancer in any field, you have to be a warrior. That means being proactive, self-motivated, and unstoppable. So raise your fists you content commandos and let’s celebrate the top 6 traits of successful freelancers!

A successful freelancer is someone who…

#1 …Is Organized

Perhaps the single most important element to a successful freelance business is organization. Without it, things have a tendency to fall apart. Being organized extends beyond just the physical office. Everything from files to notes need to be orderly to promote a smooth flow from the moment you snag a writing job to sending the client an invoice.

#2 …Sets Boundaries

It’s great to have a flexible job, set your own hours, and work remotely. However, if your home is also your office, there are some unique challenges you’ve undoubtedly faced. Namely, others not understanding you are working even if you’re still in your pajamas. If you live with family or roommates, it’s often difficult to keep your space sacred. Constant interruptions or even just passing conversation can continually derail your writing flow. It’s crucial to set strong boundaries when you are in “work mode” and communicate these needs clearly to those you live with.

#3 …Remains Focused

I do it too… I get temporarily stumped on an article I’m writing for a client and I check email, check messages on my phone, or look ahead at other projects I intend to do. While stepping away from a writing job for a moment can certainly be a good thing so you can come back to it with fresh eyes, it’s too easy to bleed time away by opening up email and veering away from finishing the task at hand. When the writing needs to get done, it’s time to remove distractions.

#4 …Is Detached

With any writing comes criticism, sometimes harsh. It can be hard to roll with the punches when your hard work is strung up like a punching bag. The key is to remember content writing is your business. Detach from emotion especially when dealing with an unreasonable client. The more you distance yourself from your work, the more easily you can complete it and leave it behind at the end of the day.

#5 …Seeks to Grow

As a freelance writer, you constantly need to learn new trends and keep up-to-date with the optimum criteria for blog posts and other written content. Since you’re already a self-motivated individual, evolving just goes with the territory. A freelancer has an innate desire for knowledge and learning new things. It’s integral to adapting and staying competitive in this exciting arena.

#6 …Exercises

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean one has to go to the gym every day. Really, it is just about movement of any kind. One of the biggest challenges for writers—aside from the actual work—is the long hours in a chair in front of a computer. Sometimes, I can’t understand why I feel so blocked on a writing gig. Then, I step outside, breathe in some fresh air, and think, “Oh, my God! I should stand up more often.” It’s funny when I realize I actually just thought that, but exercise is no laughing matter. It’s crucial to maintaining not just a healthy body but a clear mind. It’s just a fact that when we get the blood and oxygen flowing, our minds work more efficiently and we are able to focus so much better. Because I also don’t want to interrupt the writing flow, I will often just go through a short series of stretches to keep myself on my game. Three minutes is all it takes and it’s well worth the effort.

Take Your Freelancing to the Next Level

Whether you’ve been freelancing for awhile or want to start a work-from-home income stream, the above traits will bolster your venture. Content writing is a booming business. If you want to carve out an independent lifestyle doing something you love, check out my new book Content to Cash which guides you through starting, building, and maintaining a solo content writing business. Leave the nine-to-five behind and spread your wings as a successful freelancer.


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