Although I talk about freelance writing in this space as a fairly homogeneous area of work, this most certainly isn’t the case in real life. Just as there are different types of accountants, lawyers, and technologists, there is a wide range of opportunities that fall under the general umbrella of “freelance writer.” As such, while someone may not be particularly well suited for one type of freelance writing, that same person could excel at a different type. It’s a freelance writing myth that if you’re good at one kind of writing, you’re good at all types of writing. (Or conversely, it’s also a myth that if you’re not good at one type, you’re not good at any type.)
Speaking from my own experience, I’m pretty bad when it comes to fiction. Back in high school, I tried piecing together a couple of short stories as part of a homework assignment and while the result was decent, it was far from anything that could get published. Fiction is something that I very much enjoy reading, but I don’t think that I would ever be able to pen a novel that ends up on the New York Times best sellers list. It’s just not a style of writing that suits me. By contrast, I seem to have gotten very good at professional blogging and writing technology reviews. These suit my personality, my voice, and my style of writing.
Here are just three different freelance writing careers that you can consider. Obviously, you can feel free to dabble in all of them (and more) until you find your niche… assuming you want to find your niche. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
This was actually an area that I researched — I went to an open house event at BCIT for their technical writing program — before I got into the whole blogging and tech-review thing. The goal of a technical writer, to put it briefly, is to find the common ground between the average consumer and the advanced engineer. These are the guys that would produce user manuals, safety guides, and other such documentation based on information gathered from the appropriate experts. A software engineer can create a mean set of code, but he may have a hard time communicating what this code does to the sales manager who needs to sell the program to a client. This is where a technical writer can step in and ease the process. To be a successful technical writer, you will need a certain level of expertise in your chosen field.
Freelance Business Writing
Businesses need effective writers. There are many different pieces of communication that corporations need to draft up from time to time. Bigger businesses will probably have entire departments dedicated to them, but there is money to be made writing for smaller companies on a freelance basis. Business writing would include everything from public relations work (press releases, etc.) to sales letters. Sometimes an executive will have an incredible idea, but he won’t be sure how to frame it best. A freelance business writer can draft up a jaw-dropping proposal that’ll wow the executive’s superiors. Certain CEOs and other head honchos may need biographies written. Wherever there’s a business, there’s writing that needs to be done.
There is definitely an art to creating an effective resume. Resume writing can prove to be a fairly lucrative venture for anyone who is willing to take the time to talk to clients on an individual basis, creating unique resume designs that best suit the customer’s personality. It’s important to stay up with the times, however, as what constitutes a conventional resume changes like the seasons. The average person just doesn’t have time to keep up, but if you’re a professional freelance resume writer — it’s an added bonus if you do cover letters too — you can be in touch with the latest trends and produce some real winners. I personally helped at least 3 friends land interviews, adjusting their resumes to best suit the job openings.
And There’s So Much More
If you’re interested in freelance writing, you’d be surprised at how many opportunities are out there. I didn’t even mention copywriting, investigative journalism, human interest writing, search engine optimized article writing, blogging… and that’s just the non-fiction. Imagine if you like writing poetry, short stories, novels, and other works of fiction too! Make money doing what you love.