Words on a Page Writings about writing

Ways you can make a living as a freelance writer

Closeup of the keyboard on a notebook computer

I don’t know any freelance writers who make their livings solely by writing for print and online publications or writing books. Or a combination of both. I haven’t, to be entirely honest, for a number of years.

That doesn’t mean you can’t make a decent (or better) living with your keyboard. There are other ways you can use your skills to pay the bills, do good work, and still call yourself a writer.

Let’s look at a few of them.

Writing with a tablet and a Logitech K480 keyboard

The keyboard on an old typewriter

There are times when I want to travel light. Very light. That means leaving my laptop and Chromebook at home and grabbing my tablet.

The problem with using a tablet to write is that it can be hard to type using the on-screen keyboard. If not difficult, then a bit slow.

While I like using the combination of a folding Bluetooth keyboard and a tablet stand, it really only works well when I have a flat surface. I can’t, for example, have the tablet and keyboard on my knees as I type away at a conference or on a train.

About a year and a half ago, I came across the Logitech K480 keyboard. I’ve been using it on and off with a couple tablets since then, and found that it’s a useful device.

Here are my impressions of the keyboard.

A few links for the end week

Typing in a browser's address bar

What to include in your online portfolio

A pile of newspapers

Something that’s been a constant in my life as a freelance writer is editors and clients wanting to see samples of my work. Back in the day, that would mean photocopying selections from my then-meagre stack of published clips. Then, I’d carefully fold them and stuff them into an envelope with a query or application letter. After that, the wait began.

The web makes sharing your samples a lot easier. Better yet, you’re not killing trees to do the deed. Since the mid-1990s, I’ve been making samples of my work available on my various websites. Other writers have, too. On top of that, there are dedicated sites out on the web that make creating an attractive online portfolio quick and simple.

No matter how you create your online portfolio, the most difficult part of the process is deciding what to include. Here are a few tips that I think will help you decide what work to put into yout portfolio.

You need to publish more than links posts

Links in a chain

Ah, the links post. So quick and easy to pull together, so full of apparent value for your readers. I do them regularly, and they’ve been popular with readers of all of my blogs over the years.

Because they’re quick and easy, it’s tempting to publish a links post whenever you’re stuck for ideas for your blog. The problem is that links posts can quickly become the primary form of blog post that you publish.

If you’re trying to position yourself as an authority or an expert with your blog, then you need to publish more than links posts.

Why? Curation is fine in small doses. Publishing only links posts, or making them the focus of your blog, sends a message to your readers. A message that states you little or nothing original to say, that you have no ideas or opinions or insights of your own to share.

By publishing only links posts, no one will take you seriously as an expert or an authority in your niche. You’ll be seen as someone who collects only curios to share, but little else.

As I wrote a few paragraphs ago, links posts are fine if done in moderation. By moderation, I mean publishing one every week or every two weeks. Do it in conjunction with, and not as a substitute for, that longer and more insightful and more useful posts that you’ve written.

That’s one way to be taken seriously as a blogger. That’s one way to get readers to come back to your blog to look for more.