Have you ever wandered over to another blog or read an article and then instantly felt as though your writing and research skills were not what you thought?
Or perhaps you were painfully made aware that your academic writing needed to be explained before the point was understood.
Freelance writing is complicated enough with the stress of pitching and knowing where a comma is supposed to go in a sentence.
There are also skills you must sharpen as a writer. The main skill of course is strong writing skills, but another important skill is having strong research skills.
Research is how writers, journalists, students, and other writers answer questions or understand different viewpoints.
Ok, so research is essential for a writer. But it has to be done well in order to be considered valuable.
In demand freelance skills
I learned this the hard way when I was assigned a monster of an article.
Not only was there research that I had to go through and make sure to include I had to learn how to implement article “research”.
Of course, I knew that, but again implementing it was not connecting in my brain.
Luckily I worked with a great client who pretty much mentored me.
4 Unknown ways to Create Writing Samples
Freelance Writing Skills-you need them
Remember when you had to write an essay or thesis in school and you had to sift through endless books and websites to support your ideas?
Well, that is essentially the same for any type of writing. Just remember the way you use that research is different.
When it comes to writing an article it may be informative but know it has to provide value, you know help someone out in a way that no one else can.
I pride myself on being a strong researcher but that took time. The basic research skills I learned in college but the rest I had to foster and nurture.
Super lucky I had a great mentor, and I hope to pass on the knowledge!
Why You Should Use an Editorial Calendar
Why You Need Research Skills
Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.
How to Pitch Successfully as a Freelance Writer
Developing your Research Skills
Start broad then narrow your specifics into a general idea. Once you have that then move into researching reports and surveys.
Identifying quality sources is simple when you know what you should look for.
The age of the publication is incredibly important because you have more information that is fresh and possibly wasn’t disproved.
The more current the source is the more up-to-date the article is regarding the subject.
Create a list of questions-ignoring what you already know about the topic.
Really dig into the research to find new information that surprises you and helps you bring freshness to the topic.
For example, I’ll use my novel since I’m currently working on that, it takes place in 1940 Occupied France.
Now the first initial gut instinct is to immediately dive into research from an American soldier’s standpoint.
However, that is incredibly easy. Why? Because you have basic knowledge of what Americans endured on D-day and beyond from your High School History classes.
Instead of researching the gore details you just look at the things you already know.
Meaning you pick up a book that talks about D-day and familiarise yourself with the details proving you remembered what you learned in high school.
6 research skills every writer should have include:
1. Knowing which source is relevant and which isn’t
2. Knowing which source is reliable
3. Putting yourself in the reader’s shoes and answering questions you feel the reader may have
4. Gathering as much needed information as you can, with sources
5. Learn what is good and what is not
6. Cutting out the fat-knowing what is fat.
Tips to Help Refine Your Research skills
One thing I love to do is collect. I know that sounds like hoarder speaks but honestly, I love to collect little tidbits that I find interesting that I know I will use later.
Thankfully I have a computer and loads of cloud storage so I don’t have all this “research” laying around.
But I also collect books from every genre, just about.
Fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, history books, biographies, etc.
While I am not telling you that you should do the same, what I am saying is to keep researching, even when you don’t need to.
Creating a habit, or practicing your skills will benefit you in later projects.
Another tip I like to offer is to use your local library.
Get creative learning new freelance research skills
Freelancers have limited time and money. Using your local library is important if you need some reference materials not freely available on the web.
Sure it may take you longer and you may end up making a ton of copies but you will develop a nose for the scoop!
And that is priceless.
Developing research skills is incredibly easy if you understand what you are doing.
Just like with any skill.
As with any skill you need to practice, sure one day it will feel like riding a bike but until then-practice.