A few years ago, I decided to start freelance writing. I didn’t have any clients (or any idea what I was doing), so I began where most freelance writers begin: trolling job boards.
I probably sent out at least 100 applications before I finally landed a solid gig.
Want to know how I landed it? Using an editing tool.
This particular job posting asked for a standard cover letter and writing sample. However, it also had a unique request: I needed to identify the grammatical error within the post.
I read the post through a few times and couldn’t easily identify the error. So, I did the logical thing: I copied the whole post, pasted it in an online editing tool (ProWritingAid, to be precise), and ran a report.
Bam. There was the mistake.
I popped it into my cover letter and got the job. Just like that, I was officially a freelance writer…with a real client!
If you want to be a freelance writer or editor, you need to be using an editing tool.
Stop resisting using an editing tool
I resisted using an editing tool for a long time.
For some reason, I thought that using an editing tool made me a less legitimate writer. If I wanted to call myself a writer, I needed to be able to catch grammatical errors or inconsistencies myself.
Still other writers I know resist editing tools because they worry that using technology will remove the style from their craft. They want their work to remain unique and worry that using technological suggestions will affect the personality in their work.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
All writers make errors and can benefit from an extra set of eyes. And editing tools don’t take the personality out of your work – they simply give you an informed set of options that you can engage with and decide if they fit your work.
Editing tools are the best way for freelance writers to improve their craft. Here are three reasons why.
1. An editing tool can help you produce work more efficiently
One of the best parts about working with editing tools is that they can help you produce higher quality work more efficiently.
For many writers (myself included), the writing is the fun part. Editing? Not so much.
But editing is a necessary part of every good writer’s process – even if you work with a fantastic human editor.
Editing tools are perfect for those first-round edits. A tool like ProWritingAid can help you catch missed commas, repeated words, spelling errors, and more — all with the touch of a button. By using an editing tool, I save myself hours of carefully reading my work to catch mistakes I missed. That means that my drafts are higher quality when I eventually submit them to my editing teams.
2. An editing tool can help you improve as a writer
Even the best writers can develop bad habits.
For instance, I get very fixated on specific words. I’ll use them over and over in my work. My latest phrase of choice is “simply put.” I can’t stop dropping it into the posts I write!
One of my favorite parts of using an editing tool is catching those mistakes. When I proofread on my own writing, I often don’t catch repeats or any of my other usual gaffes…because they sound right to me! My impartial editing tool is handy at highlighting those habits and helping me fix them.
Plus, getting reports about what I’m doing wrong helps me improve. I wouldn’t have even known I was overusing “simply put” if ProWritingAid hadn’t told me. Now, every time I type those words, an alarm bell sounds in my head and I stop to think about how I can write something fresh.
3. An editing tool can help you transition between different types of writing
As a freelance writer, you’ll likely find yourself transitioning between different niches and different types of writing. Sometimes, I work on grants and formal types of work. Other times, I’m writing blog posts. Occasionally, I even write content for children!
Editing tools can help you transition from one audience to another.
ProWritingAid offers a readability report, which helps me adjust the difficulty of my language up or down depending on who I’m writing for. Similarly, I can change up my writing style, so that the reports compare my work to other pieces in my niche. These reports help me understand my writing and recalibrate as I shift from assignment to assignment.
You can’t afford to not use an editing tool
Once I started working with an editing tool, my freelance writing career took off.
Now, I’m able to quickly and easily write strong content – and more of it. Working with an editing tool allows me to catch silly mistakes and make changes that improve the substance of my work. Rather than letting my weaknesses distract from my writing, I’m able to overcome them.
Better still, I’m learning, and becoming a better writer, every day.
Editor’s note: Looking for an editing tool to use for your own writing? You’re in luck! ProWritingAid is offering The Write Life community a 25% discount on the ProWritingAid Premium tool.
This post, written by a member of the ProWritingAid team, contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!
Photo via Lamai Prasitsuwan/ Shutterstock