Freelance Writing -- Common Mistakes to Avoid
Writing for pay can be a very rewarding and lucrative venture but there are a couple very basic mistakes that need to be avoided to make your work professional.
Make Article Quality your Priority
Every writer learns some very basic things to avoid when writing their articles, especially when writing for pay and trying to please a buyer. Usually these are just very simple writing oversights that are easily overlooked. Here is a list of what I consider a few of the most important things to avoid when creating articles.
Simple spelling and grammar mistakes are at the top of my list!
As basic as this may sound, it is most assuredly the most overlooked in even the best content writers. There is nothing that will turn your reader off quicker than mistakes in spelling and simple grammatical errors. If your work is not correct in terms of grammar it will be difficult to read and understand. That will cause your reader to move on to the next article and your buyer to refuse payment.
To avoid this from happening, be sure to proof read your work and then proof it again. If you can leave it for a day or so it will be much easier to spot any mistakes. Using Microsoft Word is a big help. I don’t always agree with their suggestions but it certainly makes me think twice about my phrasing. If you have fragmented sentences it is most likely because your sentence subject is unclear. It is easy to assume you have made yourself perfectly clear but looking back at how the sentence sounds if it were standing alone and not part of a continued thought within the parameters of a paragraph you will probably see it needs the subject restated. For instance, my previous sentence reads; “If you can leave it for a day or so it will be much easier to spot any mistakes.” Looking at this sentence as it stands alone a better way to write this idea is to say, “If you can leave your completed written work for a day or so it will be much easier to spot any mistakes.”
Write at a twelfth grade level:
College level words are nice if your audience solely consists of college professors you want to impress but for the average reader this is just a big turn-off. No one appreciates copy that is difficult to understand. Most readers are in a big hurry and don’t want to spend a lot of time figuring out what you are trying to convey to them. They will just move to the next article that is easy to read and understand. As an example I could have said, “College level words are nice... .” Or I could have said, “Seminary echelon lexis is congenial …" The second sentence conveys the same meaning but let's face it, not many readers will enjoy reading this type of content.
Watch the length of your articles:
Some writers seem to think they need to ‘beef’ up their articles by adding fluff. This is a really bad idea. Buyers do not want to pay for articles that have no ‘meat’. They want articles that have good ideas presented as concisely as possible. If your article runs over the 700 word mark it is just too long unless your buyer specifically asked for a huge article. Most articles should be kept between 400 and 550 words. Break your article down into two separate articles if it gets away from you. This happens to me a lot.
Trust me; there are more very important things to avoid in your articles. Taking my own advice about too many words, I am going to discuss more of these in my next article.
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