If you’ve always dreamed about being a freelance writer but you’re not sure where to start, then you may consider writing certifications to get yourself started. Click here to learn which certifications you need to be your most successful self.
Want to be your own boss and work in your pajamas (if you like)? You will probably love being a freelance writer. But what type of writers certification do you need?
Unlike a health care or legal professional, there isn’t one universally accepted certification for the entire profession.
Right now it’s sort of like the Wild West. Everyone is a hired gun and companies never really know who they’re working with, or even what they should be looking for.
There is, however, a number of things you can do to stand above the crowd of other freelance writers who are all applying for the same gigs as you. And respected writers certification is definitely one of those things.
But what courses do you need to take? Keep reading to find out.
Freelance Writing Certifications
Start with this program. This certification instantly tells your would-be clients that’s you’re experienced, professional, and reliable.
You will cover everything on both the business and the creative side of things. Some of the topics covered include:
Getting Started as a Freelance Writer
Do you have to start as a full-time writer to become a freelancer? Or can you just set up a desk in a quiet place in your home and start working?
Learn the first crucial steps to starting your career that can get you off on the right foot.
Setting Up Shop
Build your creative lab. Everyone likes to work a slightly different way, but there are several universal things that all productive workspaces need, whether you’re sitting at your coffee table or your local Starbucks.
Learn how to set up a stimulating, yet distraction-free zone.
Scheduling When to Write
Yes, you get to make your own hours. But that doesn’t mean you can just write any time you want, on a whim.
This section will teach you how to take advantage of your freedom, while still adding enough structure to get things done.
Maybe you’re more creative in the morning, and you should earmark that time for writing, and do more administrative “grunt work” like invoicing later in the day. Maybe it’s the other way around.
Creating a schedule that works for you means identifying your strengths and preferences to get the most out of your brain when the creative juices are flowing.
This isn’t Field of Dreams. “If you build it they will come” does not apply to freelance writing and you will go broke waiting for that to happen.
You need to know how to go out and find the work. There is a hidden market out there, and you need to know how to tap into it. More importantly, you need to know how to position yourself to actually win these would-be clients over.
A freelance writer is also a paid idea machine. It’s a common misconception that you can just go to a blog or magazine and say “Hey I’m a freelance writer, are you hiring?” They’re only hiring writers that arrive with their own ideas.
You’re going to need to rewire your brain to be constantly looking for and finding great content ideas.
How to Set Fees
Freelance writers make a lot of money, right? Well, the ones who know how to set a smart fee structure do.
Will you offer a discount for bulk orders, or for projects that are paid in advance? How about a special rate for clients who have referred you to other new business?
There are a lot of variables involved, so you need a price for every one of them.
A Writer’s Rights and Responsibilities
What happens when a client doesn’t like what you wrote? Or doesn’t think it’s worth the money you’re charging?
You need to know both your rights and your responsibilities so you can avoid potential conflicts, or deal with them when they arise.
How to Write a Query Letter
Your query letter is basically your sales pitch to a magazine or blog that says “Boy, have I got a great story for you, and here’s why your readers will love it.”
There is a real art and science behind this, and your queries can make or break your career. They are the difference between your best story and the best story nobody has ever read.
How to Write a Contract
Again, you need to protect yourself at all times from legal or financial complications.
Learn how to write an airtight freelance contract and what type of contracts you will need.
Do you need a non-disclosure agreement? Never let the client decide what type of contract you need for a given project.
You’re the expert here, so you’re the one who has to determine what paperwork needs to be signed so that everyone is protected and everyone is aware.
How to Format Your Manuscript
A great story idea is never enough. You need to know how to get that idea out of your brain and get it into a well-structured manuscript.
This is how you will be showcasing your story to agents, publishers, and editors.
A lot of frustrated novelists can’t get their novels picked up because they say people “Don’t Get” their idea. Is that the case? Or is your manuscript a mess and most people wouldn’t “get” even the simplest concept that’s presented in this format.
How to Write and Sell a Column
Have you always wanted your own sports column? Great! So has every other sports fan on the planet. The good news is most of them have no idea how to make that happen.
Expertise and passion in a particular area are great, but that’s only the start. You need to know how to brand and position yourself so that editors can’t wait to put your column up.
This means learning how to separate yourself from the countless other people who want to sell them columns about gardening or fitness or cars.
Do you even know what separates you? That’s not a slight, that’s a very big question that you need to answer at the very beginning.
How to Write and Sell Your Book
Very few people in this world have the discipline or skill to sit down and write the book they’ve always wanted to write. Most people flame out in a few pages or a few hours, whichever comes first.
But not you. You’re going to use this course to learn how to get your brilliant idea out of your brain, off of sticky notes, and onto the page.
But that’s only the first half of the process. You don’t want to be that tragic writer that has an incredible book that they can’t seem to sell.
This is its own beast and can take just as much time, creativity and will as crafting the actual book.
Learn how to make yourself a success story, instead of a tragedy.
How to Write Commercially
If you’re not going to write novels or book, you’re likely going to build your writing career in the world of business. This can mean anything from copywriting to blogging, to branding.
Learn how to write for any type of company and any type of project.
Also, learn how to brand yourself into an entity that other companies actually want to work with. Because your presentation and position are just as important as the actual work.
And some writers will tell you that the actual writing is probably the easy part.
How to Write for the Internet
This means far more than just learning how to blog.
This means learning the basics of sales copy, so you can parlay them into the basics of web copy.
This combines a lot of old-school tactics like the headline, voice and story arch with new school sciences like search engine optimization (SEO) and calls-to-action.
How to be a Ghostwriter
A lot of people have a story or expertise they want to share with the world, but they don’t have the time or the ability to write it themselves. That’s where you come in.
As a ghostwriter, you will do everything from writing a divorce lawyer’s blog for then to helping someone tell their life story in an autobiography.
This is a real balancing act between letting the client feel like you’ve mastered the voice they want the world to hear, and using your own know how to ensure it’s present it in the best possible way.
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