Tips For Becoming a Freelance Writer

Tips For Becoming a Freelance Writer 7 Comments

Getting paid to write is something that many people only dream of. After all, what is better for a writer (or anyone) than being able to making a living doing something they love? For those who are trying to figure out exactly how to do that, there are many different points to take into consideration before jumping in head-first. It takes a lot of practice to achieve the professional skill-level required to sell written works. Also, the right resources must be found before the paychecks start flowing in. Clients who love your work enough to purchase it are the main key to success.

The old adage “practice makes perfect” is the truest piece of advice one can ever give to an aspiring professional writer. Years ago, being a professional writer was limited predominantly to print media and ghostwriting. Today, there are so many more job opportunities available. The Internet has opened up jobs in nearly every industry and writing has been one sector that has flourished. Bloggers, copywriters and content writers for websites are careers that are now wide open for those with the gift for words. In order to go down any of these paths, being familiar with the industry and learning different writing styles is essential.

Studying the layout of news articles and learning the “AP” writing style are both extremely important. Many professional freelance writers make their bread and butter by doing technical pieces and articles for an assortment of clients. This can include ghostwriting (selling a piece to a client to publish under their own name) or simply selling articles to websites and entering into a license agreement with them. This type of writing requires a great deal of knowledge on both AP style and optimizing content with SEO specific keywords, otherwise known as search engine optimization.

Once the aspiring writer is confident of their ability to create great content, it is time to get out there and find places to make money. There are many different resources available online for just this purpose. Many agencies exist that allow writers to sign up and accept assignments from a list of clients. These clients will review the work that the professional writer has furnished for them and decide whether or not to buy them. Pay at these sites can vary, so it is important to understand how much compensation per word is being offered before signing up. If the pay is too low, move on to the next site.

Aside from joining writing agencies, it is also a great idea to advertise services through local channels and online classifieds. If a writer is good enough, they might be able to land a steady job as a blogger or content writer for a marketing firm. There are also many companies searching for competent copy editors, which is a great niche to get into. The sky is the limit.

Whichever way aspiring writers choose to get into the business, a simple Internet search can yield thousands of places looking to pay folks to write. It can be a hard field to get into, but it is certainly possible. With a bit of effort and some patience, writing for a living can transcend from fantasy into reality.


Authored by Olivia Jones

Olivia Jones is a health, fitness, marketing and relationship blogger and has found the writing career of her dreams. She is also a contributing writer for a site which sells health domains.


  1. I truly think that freelancing/consulting is a great business model–either as a side business or with the intent of building it into your full-time endeavor–because a freelancing/consulting business has:
    –>low start-up costs,
    –>flexible hours,
    –>a high hourly pay rate, and
    –>you likely already have the expertise to get started.

    I started my freelance/consulting business in January 2007 while working full-time at a day job. Within about 12 months, I realized that my day job was getting in the way of how much I could earn freelancing/consulting, and so cut back on the day job to half-time, and then quit completely.

    Since I’ve been consulting full-time, I’ve QUADRUPLED my former salary, and still have flexibility to volunteer weekly in my kids’ school.

    In addition, as a business owner, I now see tons of opportunities for making money–the only limits are my time and money to invest in new endeavors.

    I can honestly say that increasing my income by doing something different than my day job completely changed my life and my paradigm. I’m no longer a dependent employee, and I no longer feel frustrated. It’s a complete switch from where I started, and I’d never want to go back.

    If you’re interested, you can read more about my journey, as well as specific tips, tricks, techniques, and tools for starting and running a successful freelance/consulting–or any–business on the cheap on my blog.

    Greg Miliates

  2. Dominique says:

    This article says absolutely nothing and gives no concrete information at all.

    Most aspiring writers should know that that the vast majority of freelance jobs advertised online are the type no one wants if they have an industrial-country cost of living. There is no way anyone can write for 2$ an article if minimum wage is 10$ per hour and even that isn’t enough to live on. Those outlets that pay more will want to know the freelancer personally, or demand an impressive by-line in your portfolio such as one from the New York Times.

    Also, the worthwhile publishers already have a stable of writers they can call for any article they want. These are major barriers which mean that you will have to pitch about 100 different articles before anyone gives you a chance. That represents at least 1,000 hours of work, with no guarantee of payment, since you have to do your homework and make sure your sources are willing to be interviewed before you even submit a pitch. So you have to commit a lot of time and effort to get the gigs that actually pay you anything. And you will have to have a second job, maybe a third job, while you wait to break into the market.

    Another thing to remember is that most markets don’t allow simultaneous submissions. This means you can’t pitch the same story again until it’s been rejected, which can take three to six months in certain cases. By that time, the story may be obsolete, depending on your subject. If you are pitching to an online provider that somehow pays more than $10 an article, this publisher will demand all rights, which means that not only are you paid much less than print publications, but you can never sell your story to anyone else.

    With this in mind, you may want to get an actual full-time reporting job, make some contacts in the industry and build some kind of by-line (if not a very prestigious one) before you go out there and have nothing to eat for a year.

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