Link to this page

5 Non- Writing Skills a Writer Needs

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

Updated 12.18.2023

If you’re a freelance writer or blogger (or want to be one), keep working on your writing skills. But learn a few non-writing skills, too.

I’m not talking about research, interviewing, or 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 that writers need with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #FreelanceWriting #NewbieCopywriting

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 …

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

More Tips for Freelancers and New Writers

5 marks of a pro writer ...

Beat Writer’s Block When You Eat the Frog First ...

Do Writers Get Imposter Syndrome? Here’s What You Can Do About It ...

Find Time to Write by Busting These 3 Myths ...

Picture This: Where to Find Free Images for Your Blog or Website ...

The Writing Life: You Can Make a Living With Your Words ...

How to Create a Content Calendar  ...

5 Fun Gifts for Writers: Useful Gadgets for Capturing Ideas on the Go ...

21 Ways To Beat Writer’s Block and Jumpstart Your Project ...

Start Your Writing Day With a Quick Win and Get Momentum ...

How To Write Faster: Use Bursts AND Binges ...

Freelance Writing FAQs ...

Newbie copywriting: kinds of writing projects copywriters do ...

Selling Your Services: 6 Writing Tips for Starting Out as a Freelancer ... 

3 Ways You Can Make Money Writing Content on Your Own Site ...

3 Writing Tips to Help You DIY Graphics ...

5 Valuable Tips for Writing at Home ...

Should You Specialize in a Freelance Content Writing Niche?

How to build a writing sample portfolio ...

12 Tips for Staying Busy Writing - Productively ...

Newbie Copywriting FAQs ...

More Freelance Writing Tips on our Pinterest board ...

Return from 5 Non- Writing Skills a Writer Needs to
Nonprofit Copywriter home

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Powered by SBI! Learn more here.
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Search This Site

Share This Page


Named to 2022 Writer's Digest list

Get Free Writing Tips

Stop Wasting Time!

Grab your exclusive FREE guide, "5 Simple Writing Tips You Can Put to Use in 10 Minutes or Less"

XML RSSSubscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!