For every article you write, there are thousands of articles being written by other writers. Some will succeed while others will give up. There must be some logical reason why. When you find the reason why writers fail, you also find the reason why some succeed and can use this knowledge to help you to compete with other freelance writers. In a world where there is such a vast amount of competition, only the cream will rise to the top, but in order to get there, you have to understand what makes that “cream” and adjust the way you work to attain that star quality.
The writer who is going to succeed will be flexible in their approach. They will be polite, courteous and humble all at the same time. Their approach will be professional. They won’t whine if their work gets rejected or deleted, and they will use each rejection as a learning tool. The approach you have helps you to endear yourself to editors, and also to the market you are aiming for. For example, if writing as part of a community, you will not succeed unless you understand what that community is aiming for, what their requirements are and what kind of writing works best for that market. Your approach should include a lot of reading, since this educates you and helps you to be better informed of the market.
The writing that you do should fit that market. If you were to write high brow writing for a newspaper that prints scandal stories, it is likely that your work would be rejected. In a very similar way, online writing targets an audience. You need to look at who that audience is because this helps you to decide upon the way you tackle the market. Those who do not look at this aspect of writing will fail. The main reason won’t be their lack of writing skills. It will be their lack of research into the market they are aiming for.
Getting to know different markets
You need to diversify. If one market goes dead, you need alternatives. Being a writer is a very solitary thing. If you depend, for example, on one website to provide you with the money you need to earn, you are being shortsighted. If that website closes, you have no income. If you can learn to submit to several different kinds of market, not only do you increase your chances of staying afloat, but you also increase your capability of writing to different markets. Part of the learning process is the actual writing and submission and diversifying really does help you to gain the edge.
Learning where your mistakes lie
A publisher doesn’t like to get work which is defective. When your work reaches an editor, it should be word perfect. What many writers forget is to self edit. This isn’t something to be taken lightly. If written work has a typo in the first paragraph, it weakens the perception people have of that writer. In the case of magazine or newspaper work, the editor who sees this mistake is likely to believe that if you are that careless, you may have made other fundamental errors. Be professional and recognize your own mistakes by leaving your work over a period of 24 hours and then editing it.
Learning where there are different markets
It’s worthwhile investing in books such as The Writers and Artists’ Yearbook because this opens up a lot of new potential markets, and you may just find one market you never thought of where you excel in the work you produce. It’s good fun trying to find new markets, and occasionally you hit lucky and find that you have a natural talent for a certain kind of written work. This is what gives one writer the edge over another. Those who assume that what they produce is good enough for one specific market will fail. You need the potential of several markets so that when work is rejected, you can polish it and send it to another potential publisher.
Listening to what editors and critiques are saying
It’s all very well and good being happy with what you wrote, but if you cannot take criticism, you are in the wrong business. What criticism of any kind gives you is the possibility to improve what you have written. Even if you don’t agree with what is being said, never be so closed minded that you don’t look at the work to see if other people’s notions can be incorporated somewhere in the style. The editor of a magazine may make suggestions on improvements. Validate them. Update the work and let them feel you followed their instructions. Readers are equally important to the writer. If a reader critiques the work, listen to what they have to say and thank them for their feedback. Feedback is a very valuable tool and those who ignore it are likely to fail against those who don’t.
To compete with other writers, you have to be open minded. You also have to be appreciative. You are not the best writer in the world.
When you compete with other writers, let them know their strengths and never be afraid to compliment someone on their work. It’s very much a given that writers support each other, and help each other in the growing process. How does this help you? It helps you because it means you have more interaction with other writers, who may just help you to develop your career and to strengthen your marketing strategies. Learning from each other helps a lot and even if you are competing with other writers, never dismiss those friendships, because those writers may just point you to the most lucrative market you ever had.