Many beginning bloggers expect that they’ll quickly develop a list of well-paying clients and generate enough income to become successful full-time writers. Unfortunately, too many of these new bloggers get stuck in situations where they’re having to accept low rates, or worse, to work for free in exchange for simply getting their articles published and their name out on the internet. One way to avoid this situation is to know how to find those well-paying clients and manage a writing business so that it’s profitable – and that’s what professional blogger Sophie Lizard will teach you.
UV: You teach people practical information on how to develop client relationships, create a website to attract more clients, and handle the financial aspects of writing as a career, such as setting the right rates, and collecting and tracking payments. Do you offer advice on how to become a better writer?
Yes, because no matter what your level of writing expertise, you can always find something to improve. Students on my training course for new freelance bloggers [if you’d like the link, it’s http://beafreelanceblogger.com/getstarted] get detailed guidance on how to plan the content and flow of blog posts for their clients, too, because planning is a huge part of a professional writer’s work.
UV: We love the way you present your guest blogging instructions as “assimilate, infiltrate, cogitate, advocate, create, iterate, prop agate, celebrate” because that’s a great set of vocabulary words! How important is a good vocabulary for a writer, especially at the beginning?
That’s a great example of the importance of planning, actually – you see how “create” is only the 5th of those 8 steps? Understanding the audience and planning a post that truly speaks to them comes first.
Anyway, you were asking about vocabulary. I think it depends on the writer and the content. I’ve read some posts that are worded very simply and make a big impact. If you’re good at that kind of writing, learning a ton if extra words can be a fun hobby rather than a necessity. I’ve also read some excessively twiddly posts with unfamiliar seven-syllable words in every sentence. Beautiful writing isn’t always as effective as precise, concise writing. But if you can be precise, concise and beautiful all at once, then you’re a superhero and the blogging universe needs you!
UV: People go to your website if they need a blogger to write something for them, and you post your rates and portfolio links to make it easy for clients to see your skills. But you also offer to recommend other bloggers, and even feature some on that same web page. Why are you helping your competition, so to speak?
Because those people I recommend are my friends and my students! I’ve mentored each of them, worked with them myself, and I’m proud to recommend them – they’re some of the best freelance bloggers available. When I’m booked up and can’t accept new projects, I don’t like to leave those projects without a good blogger just because I wasn’t available. I’d rather refer them to other freelancers who I know will do the job well.
UV: You write about career and lifestyle tips, technology, and marketing, among other subjects. Do you have a favorite topic?
Brains. I could write about brains non-stop. Neurology, psychology, and the nature of perception fascinate me. That’s why I’m a good fit for a range of science, technology, and marketing projects – because the type of writing they need from me involves understanding and influencing perception. And lifestyle writing often means explaining the roots and drivers of a concept or trend, which comes down to thought and perception again. Basically it’s always about the brains!
UV: How much time do you spend each day on writing these days? Do you have any tips for people who are trying to fit writing in to their schedule – for example, before or after their “day job” or other daily commitments?
I spend up to 6 hours writing on my three “business days” each week, and very little time writing on other days when the only writing I do is on Twitter or in emails. I guess my average is something like 2 or 3 hours of writing a day.
My only advice for people trying to fit writing into their schedule is: stop “trying”. Either it fits or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t fit, you’ll have to choose to give up something that’s already part of your schedule to make room for it.
You can be more productive by using little spots of free time to do something short that doesn’t require intense focus – so for example you could make a list of ideas you can develop later, or fact check a single point in one of your drafts. But it’s incredibly difficult to actually write or edit something in short bursts, because to make it good you need a complete view of where you are in the piece, what’s already been said, how it was phrased, why it’s there, why it’s relevant, and what’s coming up in six paragraphs’ time.
For that overview to exist in your mind, you need to spend time going over the piece as a whole, seeing not just its shape and order but the feelings it evokes and the way it flows and connects from one subtopic to another. Creating an outline is helpful, but even if you already have a written outline to remind you of the content plan, you just can’t get the same results from ultra-short bursts of writing as you can by dedicating fair-sized chunks of time to the work. That’s your brain’s default way of getting shit done right. So schedule up and make enough space for your brain to do its thing.
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