6 Big Mistakes to Avoid When You Write for a Living - Craft Your Content
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6 Big Mistakes to Avoid When You Write for a Living

You’ve always wanted to write full-time and make a living from it, all because you love to write. And, at long last, you’ve made it happen. But you’re also asking questions and wondering how to get it right, to quickly become a success story.

Well, the first thing you need to understand is that your writing is no longer a hobby. Instead, you’re now a professional writer and you need to treat your writing as a business, since you write for a living.

And the second thing you need to do is identify and stay away from mistakes that are big enough to limit or even prevent your success as a professional writer. These mistakes are too expensive for someone who writes for a living, so it’s better to avoid them.

Ready to find out the kinds of mistakes we’re talking about?

Let’s take a closer look at six big writing and business mistakes to avoid when you write for a living.

1. Not Knowing Your Target Audience

writing mistakes
In order for your writing to have value, you need to value your audience.

Without a clear picture, knowledge, and understanding of who you’re writing for, don’t be surprised if your writing does not appeal to people because they can’t see any value in it.

And if they can’t see any value in it, most likely they will not be interested in reading. And if they’re not interested in reading, how do you make a living from your writing?

That’s why it’s always important to identify your target audience and get to know and understand them very well—their needs, interests, lifestyles, motivations, struggles, challenges, and so on. One simple way to do this is to build a detailed persona of your target audience that includes relevant aspects of their lives.

When you’re armed with this knowledge, it becomes easier for you to provide value by giving them a solution to their problems, offering information they need but don’t have, and generally meeting their needs. And once you can provide value through your writing, you stand a much higher chance of writing successfully for a living.

2. Not Doing Quality Research

Because you write professionally, you can’t afford to make the mistake of doing less-than-thorough research for your writing. To put it simply, your target audience is expecting quality research.

Without it, you’re more likely to make serious errors such as citing the wrong sources, quoting facts without basis, using statistics that are not true, making false claims, and so on.

All these errors can raise serious doubts about your ability and professionalism and, at the same time, erode your credibility. With all these, it’s likely that people will lose interest in reading your work, and making a living with your writing can quickly become a pipe dream.

The good news is you can easily carry out thorough research online these days, since almost everything you need can be found on the internet.

Since you’re a professional writer, always remember to carry out quality research for all the work you do. Make the time to double-check your facts and information, and use credible and authoritative sources only.

3. Not Proofreading

writing mistakes
Not tending to your typos can spell the death of even your best work.

When you fail to proofread your work, your readers will likely discover embarrassing typos, wrong spellings, and bad grammar in your writing. These errors can easily irritate your audience and cause them to stop reading. In addition, they can position you as a rank amateur and make your fans lose interest in your work, long-term.

Taking all these into consideration, it’s obvious that proofreading should be a vital step in your writing process. While some writers are good at proofreading their own work, others prefer to have a different set of eyes do this for them, so they engage the services of a proofreader.

Bottom line, when you write for a living, your work must be free of typos, bad grammar, and misspellings. And one of the best ways to make this happen is by proofreading. In addition to doing it yourself, always consider allowing a second set of eyes to proofread your work for best results.

4. Not Having a Website

In today’s digital world where most people turn to the internet to learn about a business, a service, a product, or even an individual before interacting with them, not having a website can stall your progress and limit your success when your writing is now a business.

Eighty-four percent of consumers believe businesses with a website are more credible, while 92 percent of consumers prefer to get information about a business from its website.

The simple truth is that having a website for your business goes a long way to help you succeed, and at a faster rate. That’s why a lot of old and established brick and mortar businesses have created websites in recent times. Without one, most likely, you and your business will be totally invisible to your target audience.

A website can give you a number of benefits:

  • You’ll have the freedom to serve your target audience 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when they’re scattered all over the world in different time zones.
  • You’ll appear more professional and become much more credible, which is a competitive advantage.
  • Your business and your writing can be found easily by your target audience and other interested parties.
  • You can get more customers and grow your business faster.
  • You can have an online location for your business that’s 100 percent under your control, compared to social media profiles that are not.

To be successful when you write for a living, it’s important to have a website so you and your business can reap all the benefits and advantages that go with having one.

5. Not Improving Your Knowledge and Skills

writing mistakes
You have to grow, so your writing can grow, too.

Have you heard that the only constant thing in life is change?

Even though you had up-to-date knowledge and skills when you started writing for a living, since then, you’ve been so busy trying to make ends meet that improving yourself hasn’t been a priority.

But one thing you need to realize is that when your skills and knowledge are obsolete as a professional writer, you can become irrelevant in the market. In addition, meeting the needs of your target audience and providing value through your writing can become very difficult and almost impossible. If you can’t provide value, most likely you will struggle to earn a living with your writing.

Let’s consider a writer whose work was doing very well some years ago. At that time, his target readers were reading offline and he was able to engage them quite well. But things have changed, and they’re now online readers who hardly ever read anything offline.

Knowing that writing for online readers is totally different from writing for people who read offline, do you think this writer can succeed today without learning to write for online readers? Most likely not.

Don’t forget that any money spent on improving yourself is an investment in your business. And before you even think of spending any money, have you taken advantage of all the high-quality resources available online? Remember that these free and paid resources are available in various formats, so you can choose the one you prefer, whether it’s reading blog posts and guides, listening to podcasts, watching videos or webinars, and so on.

To be successful, you need to be current and up to date in your area of specialization so you can remain relevant and always provide value. This can also position you as an expert, making it easier and faster for you to make more money with your writing.

6. Not Taking Good Care of Your Health

If you think all those aches and pains you’re always having are part of the price you must pay to achieve success in your writing business, you’re making a big mistake.

As a professional writer, making poor health choices on a regular basis can result in chronic health conditions that may prevent you, physically and mentally, from being able to write. And it goes without saying that this can make success impossible.

When you take good care of your physical and mental health, you’ll help your body and mind perform optimally, which can go a long way to boost your productivity as a writer.

So let’s quickly take a look at some healthy habits you can adopt to take good care of your health:

  • Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day instead of sitting down for prolonged periods of time.
  • Drink plenty of water and tea instead of drinking so much coffee, soda, and alcohol.
  • Try to apply the 20-20-20 rule and avoid staring at the computer screen for long periods of time.
  • Try to plan your meals and snacks in advance and stock up on healthy choices instead of consuming unhealthy food and snacks all the time.
  • Plan your day in advance so that you can schedule time to write, time to eat, time for short breaks, and so on.
  • Find reasons and excuses to move your body more often and exercise more. Even a 15-minute walk is better than nothing.
  • Make it a priority to get enough sleep on a daily basis instead of making do with only four or five hours of sleep every day.

Don’t forget that by taking good care of your health, you stand a better chance of increasing your productivity, which can also speed up your success.

Avoid Big Mistakes to Ensure Success

writing mistakes
Be smart and avoid the easy, obvious mistakes, so you can succeed faster.

Even though it can be an exciting dream come true when you start writing for a living, you must understand that you’re running a business. And just like in a lot of businesses, mistakes can happen.

But to succeed quickly, it’s in your best interest to avoid the writing and business mistakes that can delay, limit, or even prevent your success.

By going out of your way to avoid them from the beginning, you stand a much better chance of becoming successful, at a faster rate.

About the Author Sola Kehinde

Sola Kehinde is a freelance content writer for hire with 10+ years of corporate business management experience. She helps businesses of all sizes create engaging blog posts, case studies, guides, tutorials and eBooks that attract and convert. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her drinking green tea, watching movies or curled up with a good book. Visit her writing portfolio here.

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