Lessons about freelance blogging

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post on freelance blogging….

I do a very small amount of freelance blogging. The majority of blogging I do is for my own site — the one you’re reading here.

But I always enjoy seeing what other writers have to say about writing. That’s why I read Ali Luke’s recent post on Problogger with special interest. Running under the headline “Seven Important Things I’ve Learnt from Eleven Years of Freelance Blogging,” Luke made some useful and important points.

But first, here are the seven lessons she addresses:

  1. How to keep coming up with ideas
  2. How to meet deadlines
  3. How to avoid hitting “publish” by mistake
  4. How to adapt her voice to suit different blogs
  5. How a strong editorial process makes a huge difference
  6. How to format posts consistently across a blog
  7. How to feel comfortable writing for big audiences

I found her tip #3 to be the most useful and I’m going to start following it right away. Here’s how she phrased it:

This is a small one. But trust me, it’s crucial. If you’re working on a draft, or using a draft WordPress post to store notes for yourself or someone else you’re working with, the last thing you want is to accidentally make it live on your blog.(Yes, you can unpublish a post. But it will have already gone out by RSS and potentially by email, depending on how you have everything set up.) One of my editors had a brilliant hack for this: he set the date of the post for way in the future. That way, there’s no publish button – just a “schedule” button that won’t publish anything if it’s pressed accidentally. Genius!

I have accidentally published posts several times, and it always makes me feel so stupid! If you aspire to earn any money from freelance blogging, I suggest you read Ali Luke’s post and learn from the voice of experience.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on Nov. 25/19.

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