A Conversation with a ‘Giant’ of the Freelance Writing World
Working within a customer service facing role, I am accustomed to creating all kinds of written documentation and communications. It’s fair to say ‘its not my thing. It takes me far too long, and I struggle with wording, grammar and spelling.
I have a media studies background so will always grab a video camera or record a podcast first. I can spend hours creating visual content — and many more hours putting off starting a blog or article!
However, recently I have pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and committed to writing more often.
I am still slow and not sure I enjoy the process although I have improved and learnt some tips and tricks along the way. This is thanks to Craig J Todd from 6ft9 Writer (yes he is 6ft 9!). Craig has a great writing style, is quick at creating content and has a real passion for blogging and content creation. So, if Craig can help me, maybe he can help you too.
Here is our interview:
How did you get into freelance writing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I didn’t start working in a freelance capacity until 2013. This is when a friend asked me to provide content for a consumer drones site (FlightBots). Between 2013–15, I created all of the site’s written content — including blogs, promos and even an e-book.
On the back of this work, in 2014, I set up my own green technology website (Eco Tech Daily).
I also worked for over a year as a freelance writer for a US-based news site (Inside).
Why are you dedicated to helping other writers succeed?
Over the last few years, I’ve learned stacks of tips and tricks on presenting content in a simple, informative and entertaining way.
Rather than other writers having to learn from their own mistakes (like myself), I’ve made it my aim to share my knowledge to help new writers step up their game — quickly and easily.
As a writer do you have to specialise in a subject?
If you want to find regular work as a freelance writer, then at the start, I recommend being open to writing on different subjects. However, to gain a name for yourself, you need to specialise in a subject. Typically, this subject would be where your natural passions and interests lie (e.g. business, fashion, and health).
Where do you publish your blogs?
Medium also looks amazing, although I haven’t tried publishing on it as yet.
Can you make ‘decent’ money from blogging?
Yes and no.
At first, you should expect to write for free while you build up your skills, experience (and hopefully, some followers too!).
There are a few ways to make money from your own site: affiliate links, advertising, and offering your writing services to others.
To be honest though, you’ll need tons of traffic to make any of the aforementioned methods transform into big money. Usually, these forms of income supplement other ways of earning from writing, such as: publishing an e-book, or providing regular content to other sites.
What ‘tech’ should every writer invest in?
I could write for hours on this subject. However, I’ll just talk briefly about one piece of technology that I’m in love with: Google Chromebooks.
Chromebooks are pure simplicity. They allow you to effortlessly get on the web — and get on with your work. All of my writing tools are online, so Chromebooks do everything I need. They’re fast, secure and won’t break the bank!
I recently wrote a whole article on Chromebooks. You can read it here: 7 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Chromebook
Is there still a place for the written word within today’s social media world?
Absolutely. Take a look around any office, cafe or train. What do you see? Countless people reading articles, books and news on a whole range of digital devices.
It’s true that video has become a very popular format, but most people still like to get their information and entertainment from the written word. (If you’re reading this — then I’m sure you’ll agree with me!)
What has been your most successful blog?
I’ve had several blogs that have done very well, but this recent LinkedIn post has been especially popular: Forget the Office! Coffee Shops Are the New Workplace
How long is your typical blog?
As I like to say, a blog should be as long as it needs to be. However, if you’re sticking to one key theme for your posts (which I recommend), then a good length is somewhere between 500–800 words. Only go longer than this if you have a lot of important information to share.
Should I include images in my blog?
Yes, for sure. As a minimum, include a feature image at the top of your post. You can also include two or three other images throughout the post — but only do this if they add genuine value.
Is blogging only for intellectual grammarians?
While you certainly need a decent level of English to be a successful blogger, you don’t need to a grammar geek. It’s much more important that you have enthusiasm for your topic — and an engaging way of presenting it.
In most cases, you need to forget what you learned at college or university. Academic writing should stay in the academies! Most online writing should be short, simple and entertaining.
Is there a template for a typical blog?
Yes there is, and it’s so basic that it’s easy to overlook.
You need a beginning that captures a reader’s attention. A middle section that provides the meat of the information. And an ending that surprises.
In other words, try to tell a mini-story in your posts.
What is the worst thing about being 6ft 9 tall?
Regularly hitting my head on door frames, beams, signs — you name it!
What is the best thing about being 6ft 9 tall?
I get to see the world from a perspective that others rarely see! :-)
So, there you have it, a fantastic insight into the world of freelance writing with some practical examples. It would be great to know if you have any more so please comment below.