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5 Non- Writing Skills a Writer Needs

If you’re a freelance writer or blogger (or want to be one), keep working on your writing skills. 

5 non-writing skills that writers need with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #FreelanceWriting #NewbieCopywriting

But learn a few non-writing skills, too.

I’m not talking about research, interviewing, or r self-editing. I consider those to be part of the writing process.

I’m not even talking about marketing your services, which is a whole separate ball of wax.

Instead, I’m talking about skills you need in order to function in the marketplace as a writer.

Don’t panic. You don’t need to learn all of these non- writing skills at one time. In fact, you already have acquired many of them. The rest you can pick up one at a time or along the way as you take on projects.

Just be aware that you need these skills and then make a plan to develop them.

5 Non- Writing Skills a Writer Needs

1. Software Skills

You’re a writer. That means you need to be moderately fluent in Microsoft Word or other standard writing program. 

And if you plan to submit your words to editors or websites or clients, you need to know how to send and receive email and use a file sharing program like Drop Box.

Other software skills are helpful, too, like Excel and PowerPoint. And if you ever have lost files with no back up, you’re already up to speed with the Cloud, external backup, and thumb drives. (If you’ve never lost files, then trust the rest of us when we say that back up is essential for your sanity.)

When it comes to software skills, at the very least be sure you know how to …

  • Use professional-grade office software
  • Format text 
  • Set margins
  • Create a table
  • Convert files
  • Back up files 
  • Share files

2. Design & Media Skills

If you have a website, blog, and/or social media site, then you need to know how to add images to those pages. Posts with photos, animated GIFs, graphic, or infographics outperform text-only pages. Plus, you’ll have clients that want you to crop an in-house photo to add to a newsletter or create a graphic to posts on a web page with your written content.

Use this simple tutorial to add the basics to your arsenal and learn to …

  • Find images
  • Choose images
  • Format images

3. Business Skills

Freelance writing is a business. You can manage it simply but manage it you must. Make sure you know how to …

  • Set up a phone message
  • Send email
  • Create an email signature
  • Manage your calendar
  • Create a Letter of Agreement
  • Use accounting software like QuickBooks
  • Create and send invoices
  • Manage Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable
  • Track income and expenses for tax purposes

4. Digital Skills

If you’re a writer, you need a website, blog, or social media site – preferably all three. There are plenty of site-building options out there (this tutorial will lead you through the process) and tips to help you choose from provider options.

No matter what web host or website platform you choose, today’s options come with plenty of help and robust knowledge bases. Use them as you acquire skills in …

  • WordPress or other website platforms
  • Basic HTML (links, font manipulation, line breaks for instance)
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Social media sites

5. Analytics & Data Skills

Data lets you know what’s working, where your traffic is coming from, and who your audience is.

You can get much of this information for free through Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and Twitter stats. Each of these has a large knowledge base. You simply need to take a bit of time to log in, wander around, grab some code for your website or blog (in the case of Google Analytics), and start tracking the numbers. The tricky part? Learning how to use the analytics to grow your platform.

Take advantage of all that statistical goodness when you know how to …

  • Create accounts in Google Analytics, your email list manager (like Constant Contact), social media sites, or other data tracker
  • Track page views, click-throughs
  • Track email opens, unsubscribes
  • Segment an email list
  • Track social media shares, comments
  • Use data to create and share content that your audience wants

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