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I had a conversation with Moksha Sharma who is specialized in Blog and Article writing, Social media content creation, Website content Editing and Proofreading
She shared her valuable experiences and her career journey to become a freelance content writer.
An aspiring CA turned content writer, Moksha considers freelancing as a blessing in disguise.
She started freelancing last year through the power of LinkedIn to generate leads. She is specialized in writing non-technical content.
Below, you can see the full Q&A and learn more about content creators.
1. An introduction about yourself?
Hey reader! I am Moksha Sharma and from the title of this article, you already know that I am a freelance content writer.
To introduce myself further, I usually begin with saying – As a 22 year old ‘girl’ I do have my own voice.
Yes I wrote that in quotes because there are still some people in our society who won’t accept me just because I am opinionated.
I know we have come a long way and we are modern enough with respect to certain aspects but I feel this acceptance is very convenient and biased.
2. How did you become a Content Creator? Could you tell us about your career journey, starting with your education?
I entered this field during last year i.e. in 2020 and no this wasn’t one of those COVID induced decisions.
I always wanted to have a blog of my own but never did I go through with the idea because I was too irregular with my writing.
However, in the last year of my graduation I reconnected with my love for writing again and I started publishing my articles on websites and magazines.
I used to do this back in school as well but I stopped later with no idea why.
Now that I was consistent with writing, I decided to be active on LinkedIn and that’s how my content writing journey began.
This is how I got my first internship with a digital marketing agency as a content writer and I bagged my first client and of course started my blog.
It wasn’t a smooth journey at all because I had no clue as to what I wanted out of life. I didn’t know what I wanted to do once I grow up.
Career is something that an individual is known for and imagine not knowing the very same thing.
I decided to pursue a degree in B.com and do my CA but that didn’t go well to a point after two years I had to leave CA and start exploring myself and my choices from scratch.
Fortunately, I was sure that I wanted to take up writing professionally and that’s how I established myself as a content writer on my social media platforms.
3. Why did you choose the field of content writing? How did you get introduced to this field? What inspires you the most about your career choice?
Why content writing I think has a very simple answer – because I love writing. It gives me peace like no other thing.
Words have a power to speak for themselves, if used wisely and on the appropriate platform, they can do wonders!
Expressing yourself or what your organization aims to achieve in words is like experimenting and playing with different spices in a food recipe.
LinkedIn has been my torchbearer through content writing. Right from making me aware of the field to helping me build a brand as a content writer to finding me projects, it has all been this goldmine right from the first step.
What has been my inspiration for content writing is simple to answer too – just the fact that anything written can be interpreted in an individual’s own perception.
I might have written a piece in some moment going through some emotion and yet my readers will perceive it in their own understanding capacity.
What is more beautiful than one article giving several emotions to different people at the same time!
Also, my aim through my work is to present a different set of opinions on the table.
This will have two effects – if my opinion matches yours, perfect! It’ll just broaden your thoughts and if you have a different say in the same, then either my piece will change your perception or show you the second side of the same coin.
4. What leads up to finding “the perfect” story for a brand?
The story doesn’t have to be perfect.
It should be what it was.
Just there, the truth.
Minting and designing a perfect story sometimes can take away the right emotions from the narrative and without it the story won’t resonate with the audience.
Say what your tale is as it is and see the magic.
5. Why did you choose to freelance? When did you begin to freelance? Were you planning it, or how did it happen?
Freelancing was never a plan. Honestly I had no idea there was a thing like ‘freelancing’ and writing at your terms could be a career choice too.
Becoming a freelancer was a blessing in disguise. I wanted a way to connect with my creative side again and joining LinkedIn was the best decision I ever made.
Like most teenagers, I had no clue what I wanted to do in life. There was no proper plan or decision let alone awareness of my own likes and dislikes.
I did get influenced by the friend circle and started mingling with peers thus slightly drifting away from the main purposes and academic-related things.
Hence I never got really got an idea of what I wanted to do.
I had started writing since the 8th grade but thought of it as merely a hobby back then.
While exploring myself I knew I wanted to take to writing in a professional setting and thus I joined a digital marketing agency as a content writer, I began taking up freelancing projects and started my own blog.
I chose freelancing because there’s this unexplainable excitement and zeal when one writes for clients and organizations.
Someone with the help of your words is trying to put forward their visions for millions of people to read and choose to believe in the services you offer is a heavy responsibility but at the same time very boosting.
6. What are the most prominent techniques that you use to market yourself?
For me, all I focused on was creating my personal brand on LinkedIn.
Well, this is one online space where the entire professional world is watching you and monitoring your every move.
Hence, I was very sure that this is where I want to be established and be known for my work in the eyes of all those people who are there to hire content writer or freelancers to make them look as good on paper as they are in working.
Deep down I feel and I know that there’s an extensive process that a freelancer has to or already practices in order to be relevant in the market and be regular at this approach but all I did was be consistent with posting and networking on LinkedIn along with sharing my insights and experiences.
7. What has been the biggest challenge for you as a content creator, and how did you overcome it?
Just the usual backlashes of talking about certain subjects that our society considers a taboo.
I had people coming up to me saying LinkedIn isn’t a platform to speak about these as this is a professional platform and all I would say is, I am a writer and everything I write about falls right under the boundary of my profession.
Apart from this, a creative block is definitely something that pulls you down.
It gets you all frustrated and low because you just don’t know how to work when all you want to do is work.
8. According to you, what are the top five skills that a content writer should possess?
The first and foremost has to be observation. Being alert and being able to notice things is the key to make content.
Ideas are everywhere around you and thus you can never run out of ideas but the trick here is to actually see things.
Second would be the ability to be layman and absolutely not fancy. A content writer should know that his readers would probably not understand jargons and technical terms and thus to write in very simple yet crisp and beautiful manner is what will get him an audience.
Third would be the ability to take on criticism. It is essential to normalize that writing is subjective and not everyone in the audience will resonate with your piece and that’s completely okay.
Fourth will be the ability to detach yourself from your work. As creators we have a bias because obviously.
The key here is to love but not get way too into your articles because then moving on to a new project or to accept that yes it didn’t do well with the people will not settle with you.
Lastly, great research skills. There will be times when you aren’t essentially well-versed with the niche or the topic that you are writing on and this is where researching comes into the picture.
To read about the same subject from five different sources and then starting to design your work is the way to go about it.
9. Who and/or what influences your work and why?
I never really thought about this but now that you’ve asked me, I feel it’s the feedback of the audience.
The people who come back to me saying how my work shifted their perceptions or helped them with something that they were struggling with, I think that’s what nudges me further to keep writing and keep creating till I can.
10. Would you like to suggest any online courses for those who want to improve their writing skills?
Personally, I didn’t enroll myself into any course either online or offline for content writing.
I already had a head start because I was writing since the 8th grade and being at it made me better at it.
I would definitely recommend ‘Word Power Made Easy‘ to improve your English and vocabulary and apart from this regular writing (freestyle) and reading newspapers or magazines or blogs or just anything to understand the tone and structure and sentence formation.
11. Are there any hobbies or interests that helped you develop your writing skills?
I am an avid reader which I feel helps me a lot in writing and visualizing things.
Other than that I was always into writing so nothing much that some external factor did for me to develop the skill in me.
12. What are your favorite tools to use as a content writer, how are they helpful?
Grammarly comes to my aid when I am down with my draft and edits and I need a final validation.
However I don’t depend too much on it because in the end it’s just a software.
Apart from these, Google Docs are obviously a must. Like MUST
13. Is there a content writer who you admire or think they are killing right now?
14. How do you price your services as a freelancer? Any essential points that a new freelancer should know of?
Pricing as a freelance content writer was tricky for me in the beginning because I didn’t want to be misled just because I was new in the business.
I spoke to a few established freelancers concerning the same and I was told to start with a certain minimum number to begin with but with keeping in mind what were the requirements of the project with respect to time consumption, research, editing, number of words ,etc.
So basically freelancers quote their services either per word, per hour or per project. Which method to use completely depends on the individual’s discretion.
As for me, I don’t have a fixed rate that I quote because obviously each project dynamics is different and a freelancer has to analyze everything before finding the price.
To anyone planning to go ahead as a freelancer all I would say is you are the best judge of your skill set and thus the best person to decide what your quote should be.
However, never and I repeat NEVER lower your rates only to bag a gig. Just because every other writer is pitching with a lower range doesn’t mean you have to follow the herd.
Your clients will recognize why you quote yourself at the chosen number and agree to work with the same.
Slight negotiations are obvious but asking huge drop is a red flag.
To conclude, make sure to add your efforts, research time, niche, experience, project deadlines, tools you’d require if any, and then select a charge.
15.How do you deal with writer’s? What are the steps that you take to overcome it?
Ah the writer’s block!
It is the most frustrating thing a writer will go through and trust me it can be demotivating to a great extent.
When I hit this end, I make sure to stop working. I don’t touch my work things at all neither do I read similar articles on what I am writing about. I cut myself from the line altogether.
All I do is take a walk, drink water, eat something and do whatever I like doing – which is most of the times scrolling ideally through my phone or iPad.
I don’t think of how much time I am losing OR wasting doing the same because the more the thought bothers me and I decide to work again, a) that piece won’t be my best work and b) it would take twice the time to finish it.
I believe the only way to treat a block is to not acknowledge it at all. By this I mean don’t stress yourself about it because the more you think, the more it’ll get worse.
Give yourself as much time because once you return in full zone, you’ll be working at light speed.
16. What are the challenges that you face during freelancing? What were your worst mistakes?
My biggest obstacle was to leave behind the fear of interactions. I am an introvert and I get anxious very soon thus calls were what gave me nightmares.
Anything through text and you would find me quick but when it came to calls I used to ignore a few in the beginning which I believe happens to be my mistake however it was too late when I realized why calls were important.
I still feel texting is good but again everything has a good side and a bad side hence it worked on being confident and comfortable with my calling skills.
17. What are the major advantages and disadvantages of freelancing, according to you?
I cannot generalize the pros and cons for you because each individual is different and what may be a pro for me, may or may not be the same for you and vice versa.
But if I was to speak strictly for myself, then the biggest pro is working on your terms.
I like working through the evening, going into night and freelancing gave me that flexibility.
I was able to connect with a bunch of people and interacting with this big a number widens your perspective about a lot of things.
Thus freelancing helps you to grow not just professionally but also personally.
Nothing on this planet is all rosy and there are downsides to freelancing too.
Not always will your work be appreciated and not always will all your clients be soft, humble and adjusting.
Each client has its own way of command and requirement and hence what may work for one may not necessarily be okay with someone else. Therefore a little freeway from your end is also gold.
18. What do you want to be in the future? How do you want history to look at you?
All I want to be doing is make words reach as many people and create impacts on their lives with the same.
Honestly, I don’t particularly have a mission but one vision is that I want to be writing or in touch with writing one way or the other all throughout.
Individuals who are gifted with the skill of using alphabets and letters to their advantage sometimes fail to understand what their sentences can do.
We are privileged to have countless floors where we can voice out our opinions, though this is something to be grateful about, at times, we as writers take it for granted.
The only trait I would want myself to imbibe is being better at knowing my worth and having a concrete path planned for me to have a successful and happy future.
Follow Moksha Sharma who is specialized in Blog and Article writing, Social media content creation, Website content Editing and Proofreading to stay updated with her amazing work on her Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora.