From Worldwide Freelance Writer
Five Ways To Shine As A Professional Writer
By Dana Blozis
With the growth of social media and marketing techniques like
online article marketing, it seems that everyone is a writer of one
sort or another. In fact, I've read a handful of articles that
assure the reading public that anyone can write. While this may be
technically true, those of us who write for a living know that it
isn't as easy as it sounds. There is much more to the craft than
meets the eye.
With this new realm of competition at our doorstep, I've created a
list of ways that can set you apart from those who are merely
dabbling in writing or writing simply for marketing's sake.
1) Develop a website. If you don't already have one, confirm your
legitimacy as a writer or journalist by creating your own website.
It can be as simple as one page which tells who you are, what types
of writing you specialize in and how people can contact you. At the
other end of the spectrum, it can be a multi-page site that
contains bio information, a professional profile or résumé and
clips of your work. Regardless of your site's level of complexity,
your site will confirm that you are a professional writer with a
portfolio and published clips.
2) Create a professional profile. Unless you graduated from
j-school and have been a professional writer since your career
began, I've found that a traditional resume doesn't cut it.
Instead, I developed a two-page professional profile. It looks
similar to my résumé, but it only briefly summarizes my irrelevant
career prior to becoming a freelancer over four years ago. It
contains sections like relevant skills (writing, editing,
marketing); a sample of my client list; my relevant education; and
a list of publications and websites for whom I've written. I have
this document posted on my website so, when replying to a freelance
posting or ad, I can refer the editor or prospective client to my
profile without sending an attachment (hint: unless they know you,
they won't open an attachment anyway.).
3) Prepare an online portfolio. Whether you include this
information on your website or use one provided by an organization
like Media Bistro, you'll need an online portfolio of your
published work. It can be organized any number of ways, depending
on what types of clips you have. On my site, portfolio samples are
broken down by type (articles, marketing materials, and web copy).
You could also break them down by publication or media type
(broadcast, print, web, newspaper, magazine, etc.) Clips can take
virtually any format: you can post them directly to a web page, add
a *.pdf or *.doc/*.docx attachment, link to a URL, etc. As long as
your portfolio is well organized and the clips are relatively
current, site visitors (a.k.a. prospective clients) will be able to
find what they're looking for.
4) Proof and edit your own work. Have you ever received an e-mail
or letter from a colleague or prospective client riddled with
mistakes? Did it make you cringe? This is a common pet peeve of
professional writers and editors, including me. I always tell
(read: nag) business professionals from all industries but
particularly writers and editors to make sure they proof and edit
their own work prior to submission to an editor or client. Of
course, the materials are likely to be proofread and copyedited by
someone else, too, but if you want repeat business or additional
assignments, your work must be top notch and error-free. Because so
many "article marketers" are focused on selling their products and
services and NOT on punctuation and spelling, your writing will be
5) Hone your craft. Whether you are a self-taught or
college-educated writer, continue to expand your talent by
investing in quality resources (a good dictionary and thesaurus;
Chicago Manual of Style; Writer's Market; The Copyeditor's
Handbook, etc.); taking continuing education classes; and trying
out different genres (business writing, creative writing, fiction,
horror, romance, etc.). You'll not only fine-tune your skills, but
you'll have a better sense of where your voice best fits in the
If you follow these five tips, you will stand out as a professional
writer--not as a fly-by-night blogger, forum poster or article
marketer--and you will gain confidence in your ability to market
yourself and your writing and editing services. Happy writing!
Copyright (c) 2007 Dana Blozis
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dana Blozis of Virtually Yourz is a freelance writer, editor and
marketing professional based in the Seattle area. In addition to
writing for publication, she writes for small businesses and
nonprofits. For more information, visit Virtually Yourz.