With a growing number of freelance writers entering the market, some freelancers may feel the need to resort to alphabet arson to attract attention.
Before you decide to torch your keyboard, please consider the health benefits of Voice, Networking and Risk Taking to regain your sanity and elevate your writing career.
What is Voice? And how do you know if you've got it?
Voice is your personality on a page. It's your superpower. It hypnotizes a reader and draws him in.
Just like that line from the film, Jerry Maguire, “You had me at hello.” A writer needs to connect with a reader at the very first word -- a fifteen-second window.
The clock starts ticking as soon as someone lands on the page, a vexing challenge since the average human attention span is shorter than a goldfish's.
How do you prevent a reader from heading to the exit? -- By duct taping their avatar to the page? No – with a killer first line that pulls them in and a strong voice that puts them under the ether.
Think mingling at a holiday party. Did your personality break through during that five-minute chat with the guy wearing a Rudolph tie? Did you crack a joke? Share a personal moment that was relevant to the conversation? Did you connect with him?
But even the most talented writer with the most distinctive voice can lose a reader if she veers off point. If a writer doesn’t back up that compelling first sentence with strong magnetic content and wanders off topic, your audience will lose interest. And you’ll lose them.
It’s taken me years to find my voice. It’s a work in progress that requires constant adjustments. I incorporate humor in my writing, even in more serious posts like the one I wrote about my husband’s cancer diagnosis. Of course, I didn’t submit the post until my husband signed off on it.
But how does a reader find your article? -- By networking online.
The meet and greet to grow your platform networking
Join Twitter, Facebook and start a blog. Just as networking on earth leads to potential opportunities, making connections online does, too.
Several years ago, I met someone on a blogging community called BlogCatalog. We both responded to a question posted in a thread. Afterward, he sent me a note asking me to provide feedback on a blog post he had written. I read his article and offered my comments. I gave honest feedback. He thanked me then asked if I was interested in writing for his website.
It’s all about relationship building, establishing trust with people you meet online and following through.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to gain a foothold in the freelance marketing
You only get noticed when you take a risk. Every goal I've reached was because I took a risk, while following social media etiquette and website guidelines.
In 2013, when I submitted my first post to The Huffington Post, I sent it on a whim. I had read an article on how to get published on HuffPost. I wrote a piece and sent it to the HuffPost Blog Team via the contact form on the site.
I never heard back from them. So I submitted another piece through an email address I found online. A day later, I received a note from the Blog Team with my login and dashboard link. I was officially a HuffPost Blogger.
I learned an important lesson from the experience. You’ve got to push past your fears and submit, submit, submit. If you hit a wall, try something else.
Take a chance. Perfect your voice. And you won’t have to set your fonts on fire to stand out from the crowd.
About the Author:
Lauren Salkin lives in Connecticut with her husband, son and two wily mutts. Her essays have appeared in various newspapers as well as on The Huffington Post, Sammiches Psych Meds, ByLine Magazine, Front Porch Syndicate, MomBloggersClub.com, BlazingMinds.co.uk and InspireToThrive.com. Her noir short story "Priming Pamela" was published in Shroud Magazine. Lauren writes humor at her blog Think Spin.