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Re: Freelance writing questions

Ace Contributor
Kendra B Member Since: Sep 25, 2018
1 of 15

Hi, 

 

I'm not particularly new to Upwork, but I haven't gotten legitimate paid work here since I've been a member, despite putting in several proposals. I'm all of out of "connects" for this week, so I guess I should take a step back and try to figure out what I'm doing wrong. 

 

Before I became unemployed and signed up for vocational rehabilitation training, I was an English teacher. I think my writing skills are fairly decent, and my past job would transition nicely to freelance work, but I don't have any writing samples, and I've been leery about just linking to my personal blog. I'm tired of being solicited by scammers and students who think I'm an essay mill. I think I'm going about this wrong, and clear specific advice would be much appreciated. Thank you. 

Community Guru
Reinier B Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
2 of 15

Kendra,

I would suggest you remove the "write about anything you might need" bit from your overview. Clients generally do not like generalists- what they are looking for are specialists in their fields, so what you must do is pick a niche or subject area you are good in and focus on that. 

 

Make clients believe that you are the absolute best choice in that particular area, and use your profile overview to tell them what you can for them specifically. Address their needs, and explain how you can fulfil those needs. 

 

As for a portfolio- you can include anything you were not paid for. If you were paid for a text, you need the copyright owner's permission to include it, so just write something (articles, blog posts, essays and such) and post them in your portfolio. All clients are interested in is how you do what you say you can do, so keep that in mind when you create portfolio pieces.

 

Hope this helps, and good luck!   

Community Guru
Lila G Member Since: Dec 4, 2017
3 of 15

Agreed with Reiner comments.

Also, your profile summary needs major work.  Explain further about skills and how you can best assist the prospective client. Take a look at other fellow writers profile and see different ways they are marketing themselves.

 

Best,

Lila
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 15

Kendra B wrote: but I don't have any writing samples, and I've been leery about just linking to my personal blog.

 So why, in all the weeks since this was first discussed, haven't you managed to simply WRITE a few samples?

Highlighted
Ace Contributor
Kendra B Member Since: Sep 25, 2018
5 of 15

I'm fairly critical of my own work. If I write my own samples, who is going to judge whether my work is good or not? Wouldn't it be better to try to get something published elsewhere and then just post a link to that? 

 

I've been trying my luck with other websites to see if they will let me write articles for them, but, so far, nothing productive has come of it. I guess I'll keep trying until I have some measure of success. I'll have more time to look, as I can't apply for more jobs here this week anyway. 

 

Apparently, it isn't that hard to find writing opportunities like that. Someone I went to school with was doing this kind of freelance writing while she was still in college. 

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
6 of 15

Kendra, if you aren't confident of the quality of your own writing, what makes you think other people will (or should) pay you for it? Here is something fundamental you need to understand about freelance writing: You must be prepared to self-edit through as many rounds as it takes to ensure that every draft you submit to a client is camera-ready, i.e. what they specified, formatted cleanly and to requirements, with zero typos or grammatical errors. There may be open questions about specific passages and/or structural issues that you mutually agreed to address following the initial draft. But if you can't edit and do quality assurance on your work, then you aren't ready to do this professionally.

 

That said, I looked at your profile and think you might find some traction here if you narrow your focus. I'm a generalist, too, but clients don't want or need to hear that. I recommend you spend time browsing Upwork writers, by every specialty you can think of, to see who seems to be succeeding and how they are doing it. How do they describe themselves and what they do? What kinds of projects are they doing? How much do they charge for projects that seem to conclude successfully (or continue for long periods)? Pay less attention to how many projects a writer does, because many only work part-time on UW and have other balls in the air. Figure out a niche where you can learn to stand out.

 

Also, be careful about your Skills section. It should represent your strongest areas in terms of capability and experience, the areas where you're 100% confident of delivering beyond a client's expectations, every time. I see nothing in your background suggesting you have experience writing Business Proposals. That is a specific niche. Sometimes a client simply needs someone to write the narrative portions of their proposal. Often, however, they are looking for someone to spearhead production of their organization's response to a complex RFP--work with the sales team and maybe several functional areas within the organization that provide budget, timeine, methodology, and other content that has to be assembled into a final document and maybe a presentation deck. If you haven't done that role within an organization or as an outside consultant, at least, then don't bill it as one of your skills. If an inexperienced client did hire you for it, it's almost certain it would end in tears. Re. Short Stories: have you written many short stories? Published any? If so, highlight it but if not, think about leaving that out.

 

Re. portfolio: in addition to looking for pro bono opportunities to write, find friends and family who need their website copy written or refreshed or other writing tasks that will generate docs you can use as samples.

This isn't impossible for you, but I repeat the advice I offered on an earlier thread: go read about freelancing in general, and about freelance writing, to get a better understanding of what you're trying to do.

 

Good luck!

Ace Contributor
Kendra B Member Since: Sep 25, 2018
7 of 15

So far, I've updated my profile. I think I'm going to focus more on tutoring and market myself based on that. Yes, I'm sort of a "jack of all trades, master of none," at this point. I guess I'll go back and look at my profile and continue to make changes.   

 

 

Sorry for posting all of this. I appreciate the help, but I feel like I should have looked elsewhere for this and not bothered all of you with it. 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
8 of 15

@Kendra B wrote:

Sorry for posting all of this. I appreciate the help, but I feel like I should have looked elsewhere for this and not bothered all of you with it. 


 You're not bothering anyone and I doubt there is a better place than this.

It seems the thing you lack most is confidence.

JUST WRITE, Kendra.

Write about a topic you are interested in, feel passionate about.  Then hone it, and stick it in your portfolio.

Then do it again.

And again,

and again

and.....

 

You won't gain traction, or anything else, unless you start writing. You won't improve, you won't get more confident, you won't have more to show unless / until you sit your bottom down and put pen (so to speak) to (digital) paper and write.

 

Want to be a writer? WRITE SOMETHING!

 

Active Member
Dhalia B Member Since: Nov 8, 2018
9 of 15

thank you to everyone who responded to Kendra B.  I am new and still working on figuring it out.  Reading your responses helped give me some perspective!  If someone can take a look at my profile and provide feedback, that would be great.

 

Take care,

Dhalia

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
10 of 15

@Dhalia B wrote:

thank you to everyone who responded to Kendra B.  I am new and still working on figuring it out.  Reading your responses helped give me some perspective!  If someone can take a look at my profile and provide feedback, that would be great.

 

Take care,

Dhalia


 _________________________________

Dhalia,

What has already been written regarding Kendra's questions also applies to you.  You need a portfolio, and your profile would look better to clients if you did a few relevant tests with at least an "above average" rating. 

 

The first three lines of your profile are what the client sees initially so don't waste them. No client is interested in stories you wrote in grade school. They want to know what you can do for them now, so you could start by saying you have experience in business  writing such as  contracts, proposals, policies etc. And then add a portfolio to show that you can deliver what you offer. 

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