For anyone starting a writing career, the first bit of advice they receive is to pick a focus: business, technology, marketing, health, real estate, travel, etc. Self-help is an oddity. Even calling it an industry detracts from its meaning and value. The best self-help writers are not out to make a fortune but to improve themselves and in the process, help others too.
Self-Help Writing Opportunities
No longer are self-help writers restricted to full-length books, publishing contracts and small audiences. The internet has brought a new boost to the field, giving writers opportunities to create their own blogs, write guest articles and share their messages in interactive online communities. Freelance self help content writers can hone their craft, pay their expenses and provide websites with valuable insight from their own experiences.
Write for Yourself
Self-help writers need to focus on what they know. By writing about what they have gone through and sharing it with others, the authors enforce the positive messages within themselves, further their own motivation, and showcase to others that improvement happens to real people. Inner Body shares the most central tip on self-help writing: “Experience is the best teacher. Authors who write about challenges that they themselves have overcome generally write the most successful books.”
Problems with Advice
Giving advice can often plague many self-help books and articles. The difference between sharing personal experience and telling others what to do is how a reader responds. Reading about a cancer survivor’s recovery from chemotherapy, the transformation of life views, and the changes in personal relationships is both uplifting and real. Reading an author that spews out advice in the second person can be a deterrent.
Style, Tone and Content
The self-help field showcases how the message within the content is more important than how it is worded. There are great poets, like Mark Nepo, who create beautiful messages with a mastery of words, but even those without such lyrical writing abilities, like Melody Beattie, share honest and powerful stories in everyday language. A great self-help writer is defined by what he or she says more than the way it’s said.
From Reading to Writing
New writers first need to be avid readers, but with online opportunities for freelance self-help content writers they can now break into the field with thoughtful and honest articles. By engaging with audiences, following up on comments and sticking to their personal experiences, self-help writers can earn a readership and encourage others through their own growth.
Daniel M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.