“Anyone can be a freelance writer.”
Many ask me the same question and I give a generic answer. I’d say: “Practice writing everyday and you’ll get there eventually.” In hindsight, this was such a crappy answer that had I been the one to ask the question, I’d be disappointed because there’s no takeaway there, merely a command to write.
My story is that I’ve never even considered a writing career. I stumbled upon it like a drunk, weaving in and out of the traffic during rush hour, not knowing which way is south, or even up or down.
An aunt asked if I could write, I answered heck yeah! Because I was so proud of my college essays. I was cut at the knees upon my first article submission. It’s not what the Internet was looking for. OUCH! But I powered through, I learned, and I wasn’t scared of criticism. I made the feedback mine and worked on writing the hell out an article and refining it, editing it, critiquing my work harshly. (Which I do until now.)
So how did I really become a writer? I was a lonely child who loves to read. I disliked sports, and other kids in our community think I’m weird because like Belle, my nose is literally stuck in a book. All the time. When I was in elementary school, I took home 3-4 books every Friday or as much as the librarian would allow. That’s aside from the one or two books I’d borrow daily.
I was fascinated with the etymology of words and I ate up all the grammar I could have in high school. I was obsessed with the correct order of adjectives. Why is Black stubborn big cat wrong? Because it’s Big black stubborn cat.
Writing isn’t just about putting one word after the other. Like any craftsman, you need to learn the basics and master them. Master grammar rules by practicing on grammar workbooks daily aside from writing. Add to your vocabularly not by using the online Thesaurus but by using a dictionary.
Read publications, books, magazines, the tabloid, newsletters, the label on the ketchup bottle. Write down all the words you don’t know. Find the meaning of those words, use them in different sentences, in various context. Say them out loud. Own those words.
Get familiar with English idiomatic expressions. It’s an accurate predictor that a writer isn’t a native English speaker. So don’t let the cat out of the bag that you’re in the dark when it comes to idioms and their usage. When in doubt, don’t use idiomatic expressions you’re not familiar with.
Lastly if you want to write for the Internet, it’s not all about content. You need to learn a few other things too. Such as a formatting your content, a bit of SEO, and most important, profiling your targeted audience.
Be the writer you can be by mastering the basics first:
Improve your grammar daily with a grammar exercise book.
Brush up on your vocabulary, have a notebook with you.
Get intimate with idiomatic expressions
Observe people carefully. In fact observe everything with eyes opened wide and senses receptive to minute details.
Write daily and do not edit your work until the next day or the day after. Write from experience. Write what you know, what you’re passionate about. Write from your unique point of view. Don’t forget to share your work. Be open to criticism.