Deciding to become a writer from home is an exciting step — congrats! You’re about to embark on an amazing journey where you can learn tons, end up in places you never expected, and hopefully find a career that you find engaging and exciting. First, though, it’s important to have a way of the land and discover what the world of writing looks like. Knowing what types of writing are out there, what types of platforms to find roles, and the pros and cons of those can be critical to help you embark on your writing journey in the most successful way possible. This article will lay out those details in an easy-to-follow manner. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll know all about what types of writing you can find, what the best type for you might be, how to find those rules, and how to set up a successful writing routine at home.
Why is Freelance Writing Such a Popular Career?
Thanks to the internet and search engines like Google, professional writers are required on a daily basis. Companies nowadays need a strong online presence and, therefore, need a search engine optimization marketing strategy to have new, fresh, good-quality content regularly, which means a neverending amount of articles, blog posts, and social media posts.
Anyone with the talent and skills for writing quick, informative content that pleases the readers has great odds of being successful as a freelance writer from home and making some extra money doing what they love in their spare time or as a full-time job, depending on needs and ambitions. If you are someone who likes to travel, you can even start a travel blog and make money out of it.
What Types Of Writing Are Out There?
At first glance, you might be under the impression that a writer is a writer. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that the world of writing has several different main areas that cater to the talents and attitudes of other writers. You might not know at first what style suits you best, and don’t worry. As you get exposed to different kinds of writing, you’ll be able to find out what you like and where your niche lies within the world of writing.
Freelance is a great way to get writing experience under your belt, and then you can focus on finding a permanent role as a remote team worker if you want or keep the flexibility of freelance rolling.
The Educator – this type of writer is excellent at writing data sheets, demo video scripts, or white papers. If this is you, you’ll have a bright and engaging way of communicating through writing, where your written voice captures the attention of your reader while conveying critical knowledge from your client. Many large companies will have in-house writing roles for internal marketing and education-based writing. Freelance projects tend to be longer-term contracts as this type of writing is likely to go through several iterations and a lengthier editing process than a blog piece.
The Marketer – marketing copywriters, employ knowledge of consumer psychology, paired with excellent creative writing skills to identify an issue that their potential buyer has and tell that buyer a convincing story of why their product or service is the best way to solve that problem. For example, marketing copywriters are excellent at writing email campaigns and short-form, digital copy, or e-books and starting blogs, they should also be able to optimize the content to drive sales to the client’s website. You’ll find a variety of freelance and full-time roles in this category.
The Creative Writer – Writing comes in all kinds of styles, and creative writing is perhaps the most freeform of all. This type of writing encompasses anything from lyrics, fiction, poetry, short stories, and everything in between. Let your imagination go wild here. Any method of storytelling you can come up with can fall under the rainbow umbrella of creative writing for a book. Creative writing is a brilliant way to flex knowledge you already have or to challenge yourself to learn something new and research a topic you want to write about.
The SEO Copywriter/ Blogger – Once burdened with the bad rap of keyword stuffing and poor content for search engine ranking, SEO writing has come a long way in the last several years as search engine algorithms have advanced to the point where they are now punishing sites for poor content, excessive paraphrased and copied content, and keyword stuffing.
Companies now have to employ good SEO copywriters to create blog posts, online articles, and other copy to attract higher quality rankings on search engines. The exciting part of SEO writing is that it spins literally every topic on the Internet. Whatever your interests are, if you want to write about only that thing, chances are you can find something in SEO writing that will suit your interests. Passionate about interior design? Perfect — there are a lot of online resources that produce blog content teaching the principles of interior design, which could be an excellent outlet for you to get started on a topic you already know about, and you can even start a blog that makes money for you.
The Technical Writer – Technical writers are an interesting breed of copywriters. Well, of course, people can be two things simultaneously, but technical writers tend to be more on the logical, practical side than creative writers or digital copywriters, for example. Technical writers need to understand the specifics of, say, a user manual for a printer so that they can explain in succinct, straightforward terms to an end-user how to troubleshoot and operate that piece of equipment. This is a very different writing style than some of the other types we’ve covered in this article. Technical writers are great at writing datasheets, knowledge-based articles, or technical instructions like user manuals.
The UX Writer – A user experience (UX) writer is someone who creates the microcopy for websites, apps, and other digital products that help with the user experience, meaning that it helps the user navigate the product in a friendly, intuitive way. A UX writer is in charge of finding the right wording for definitions, labels, chatbots, menus, error messages, and the instructions that help guide users through a website or app. An effective user UX writer should be capable of creating intuitive and understandable text for anybody, including users of any gender, age, background, or different abilities, always keeping the brand’s voice.
The Academic Writer – Academic writers create college-level papers such as essays, research papers, and theses/dissertations. This type of writing uses a formal style generally used in universities and scholarly publications, so it follows specific structure, content, and style requirements. It should always be formal and unbiased, clear, precise, focused, well structured, well-sourced, correct, and consistent. It should never contain personal points of view, be long-winded, or emotive.
What’s The Best Type For You?
Finding the best type of writing for you will likely be a bit of a trial-and-error process, especially if you’re starting right from scratch. You might think that you’ll be an excellent creative writer, but it could happen that the feedback you get points you in another direction. You’d be surprised by the number of writers who start out wanting to be in a very creative, artsy style of writing and find out that, in fact, they are excellent technical writers. This isn’t to say you can’t be both, but it’s a bit like an engineer also being a world-class painter — it’s a bit less likely, although certainly not impossible.
The more exposure you can get to the different writing styles, the better equipped you’ll be to decide what you like and what you’re good at. So, when you’re first getting started, take every opportunity on every writing job you can get your hands on to help you narrow down what you’re best at, and always use a pro grammar checker to proof your text. And don’t forget, if it turns out that you’re “best” at a style of writing that you didn’t expect, that’s not to say you can’t continue in your free time writing what makes you excited or what you’re passionate about. Just make sure you’re getting paid along the way, too!
Generally speaking, if you’re a very creative, artsy, flowy sort of person, you may gravitate more towards the digital writer, SEO copywriter, blog writer, or creative writer. On the flip side, if you tend to be more linear, logical, and practical, you might turn out to be an excellent technical writer. No need to pigeonhole yourself, though; get out there and try everything to find what suits you best!
How To Find Paid Freelance Writing Roles
Starting as a freelance writer and using your Creative Writing Skills, it’s all about the hustle. You’re going to have to look in lots of places, take all the opportunities available to you, digitally pound the pavement, and generally work hard until you learn how to distinguish the good freelance opportunities from the bad. Here are some avenues to get you going on your job search:
Online job boards that most people are familiar with are a great way to understand what titles you’re looking for, what pay is being offered, and how many jobs are available in your chosen area. Workopolis, Indeed, and LinkedIn have wide-reaching job boards covering you in nearly any location or language.
Social media is a great way to put your name and skills out there to let potential employers know that you’re available and what kind of role you’re looking for. LinkedIn is the most popular professional social media network; however, creating a professional profile on other platforms like Facebook can also help get your name in a diverse range of digital locations.
Content agencies can be super helpful if they are open to new writers and virtual assistants. A word of caution about larger agencies, the pay can be on the low side, and the quality of work may not necessarily be what you’re going to want to use as portfolio work or as a reference for future jobs. That being said, not all agencies are like this. Smaller agencies are amazing places to get experience, pay well, and learn about content marketing strategies.
Referrals. If you know any writers currently, ask them for an intro if they hear about someone who needs a junior writer. Or, if they happen to be working at a place where they’re looking to take on someone newer to help with overflow work, that can also be an excellent way for you to get in the door. Referral-based hiring is generally preferred among companies, as it’s a built-in reference from someone they already know is a quality employee. Think about people you might know that are in marketing with a company that would need some content help. Potentially approach your marketing or writing contacts about keeping you in mind if something additional comes up, of course, without stepping on the toes of their role at that company.
Navigating Internet Security for Freelance Writers
Being a freelance writer involves creating content for various clients and publications, often through online platforms. Internet security is crucial for freelance writers because they typically work and communicate online, handle sensitive information, and need to protect their digital assets. Here’s how internet security relates to the life of a freelance writer:
- Protecting Personal and Client Data: Freelance writers often deal with sensitive information, including personal details of clients and their own financial data. Internet security measures like strong passwords, two-factor authentication (2FA), and encryption help safeguard this information from unauthorized access.
- Secure Communication: Freelance writers frequently communicate with clients, editors, and collaborators through emails, messaging apps, and online platforms. Using encrypted communication tools and practicing caution with attachments and links helps prevent phishing and data interception.
- Secure Wi-Fi Connection: When working from various locations, freelancers might use public Wi-Fi networks, which can be vulnerable to cyberattacks. Using a virtual private network (VPN) ensures encrypted connections, enhancing security while using public networks.
- Protecting Work and Intellectual Property: Writers invest time and effort into their work, making the protection of their intellectual property essential. Backing up work regularly and using secure cloud storage options prevents data loss and unauthorized access.
- Cybersecurity Awareness: Freelance writers should stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices. Regularly updating software, being cautious about clicking on links or downloading attachments, and recognizing phishing attempts are essential for maintaining a secure digital environment.
- Secure Payment Transactions: Freelancers need to receive payments for their work. Using secure payment gateways and verifying the legitimacy of clients before sharing payment information prevents fraudulent transactions.
- Secure Online Platforms: Many freelance writers find work through online platforms or marketplaces. Choosing reputable platforms that prioritize user security and provide secure communication channels contributes to overall safety.
- Website Security (If Applicable): If a freelance writer maintains a personal website or blog, keeping it secure from hacking attempts and malware is vital. Regular updates, strong passwords, and security plugins can help prevent unauthorized access.
- Data Privacy Regulations: Depending on the freelance writer’s location and the clients they work with, they might need to adhere to data privacy regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Ensuring compliance helps maintain client trust and avoids legal issues.
- Cyber Insurance (Optional): Some freelancers opt for cyber insurance, which provides coverage in case of data breaches, cyberattacks, and other cybersecurity incidents.
How To Create a Writing Space At Home
Creating a space conducive to productive freelance writing at home is all about keeping your writing space away from distractions, organized, and simple. You don’t necessarily need an entire office space to write, but you do need somewhere that can be segregated from the rest of your living space, even if that means just a desk with a room divider in front of it. Even if you’re living in a studio apartment, there will be something you can do to create a small writing space. That being said, if you do have room to create a work-from-home office, that would be great, and you can furnish that with furniture and decor items that make you feel calm and productive and aren’t distracting.
If possible, try not to make your writing space do double duty with another space, like a gaming area. Setting distractions purposefully in your path is a surefire way to give your mind an excuse to wander to non-work-related things when you’re supposed to be writing. Making an effort to keep your separate writing space decluttered and free of distractions will set you up for a successful and productive writing-from-home experience.
Now that you know the plethora of options the writing world offers, you’ll be ready to hit those digital job boards, spruce up your LinkedIn, and reach out to anyone who can help you get a start in freelancing and give you a hand on your journey into writing. Remember that hustle is the key, and at times when you get discouraged, keep pushing forward, make new connections in contacts, and sooner than you think, you’ll be making money from writing.