There are many benefits to a freelance writing career.
Including freedom to indulge your creative instincts, freedom to write for a variety of industries and resources, freedom from the daily drudgery of office work and meetings.
At the same time, there are obstacles to navigate: you need to find and maintain clients, work constant hours, and oftentimes provide for your own benefits. It’s a tricky - but rewarding - career to establish and maintain.
Luckily, we’re here to help.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the career of all the online resources you’re going to need to thrive as a freelance writer. Enjoy all (or some) of these links, and good luck on your new career!
General Freelance Writing Career Resources
So you’ve decided to become a freelance writer. Well, welcome to the world.
However, before you dive in head-first into the pool, get yourself a good look into the industry with these general resources into freelance writing.
The “About Freelance Writing” website is a one-stop-shop to go to to peruse all of the different facts, figures and quirks in the industry. This should be one of your first visits.
All we have at our core is our health, right? When you’re a freelance writer, the odds are you won’t be eligible for a type of corporate health plan; this website collects all of the different options you will have for getting your own health care as a freelance writer.
It’s extraordinarily vital to have health care in the modern world; this article, from Pen America, collects a list of all of the different websites and resources there are for writers to get their own health insurance.
The Renegade Writer is penned by writers Diana Burrell and Linda Formichelli, and their printed, paid guides have plenty of material that may boost your freelance writing career. However, if you want to save a little bit of money and get some of the advice, check out the free query packet that’s included on their website.
If you’re looking for a resource that can touch on just about any type of writing that’s out there - everything from non-fiction to fiction to sales copy to blogs and advertising - the Write to Done website is an extremely valuable tool. As a bonus, click on the “motivation” section to get a little kick in the seat when needed.
Stephen King, in his autobiography, describes a “writer’s toolbox” as the basic utility belt for writers everywhere. Here’s our version of that very same writer’s toolbox for all those in the freelance industry out there.
Let’s start with that Stephen King! Granted, you’ll probably not be writing too many stories about haunted mansions, haunted houses and haunted people, but King’s basics of writing are broken down here; it’s a wonderful refresher for any writer out there.
What’s that word for a that thing that provides you with other words that mean the same thing? Oh, that’s right - a thesaurus. Let’s face it, even the best writers get blocked on occasion; Thesaurus.com will help you find just the right word for every occasion.
Another basic tool that should be in the library of every writer. If you need a definition of a word or phrase that is befuddling you, hop on over to dictionary.com to achieve some illumination.
A foundational aspect for any writer - be sure of the style that your client prefers to have their work done in! Clarification early means you’ll save plenty of headaches later. If you need to use the Chicago Manual of Style, this website is the best place to start on.
Another option to use for grammar style. MLA isn’t as common as the other two styles, but it definitely shows up.
Definitely one of the lesser-used types of styles, but we’re thorough here. You never know what you might need!
A very inclusive website that delves into dozens of those tricky style and grammar issues that seem to come up on a regular basis. No frills.
To be, or not to be, a specialist.
Try to figure out early on whether your writing suits particular niches and to become an expert, or "thought leader" in a field.
A good example would be writing about music. It's a niche and requires specialist knowledge.
Or, you may prefer to write broadly, especially if you're part-time or write for local publications.
Need to cite resources after you’ve finished an article or a paper? Granted, you’re probably not in college anymore, but these occasions will pop up; if you need to include a citation, the Citation Machine is an perfect place to go.
Much like the Citation Machine website, with the added bonus of having the ability to integrate into your browser. As any journalist will tell you, the monitoring and citing of sources can be a true pain; this cuts down on the time spent with this type of grunt work.
A scenario: Let’s say you have a project or assignment to get done, and all of the information you need for it is scattered about the web on site after site after site, causing a giant pain when it comes time to actually start writing your assignment.
A.nnotate helps cut down on that frustration by allowing you to clip and stitch together the materials you need for your assignment into one easy-to-view and organize document.
Have to transcribe an interview, or need something quickly brought from audio to text? This is an incredibly valuable app that integrates with audio, video or YouTube files; the app is also opened right in the browser, so it’s easy to save and edit.
Another option to use for transcribing your interviews to text. Odds are, you’ll have to jot down some information from the interviews you may have to do; these websites will end up saving you tons of time (and pain in the wrists).
If you have a foreign client, or an article that needs to include information from foreign sources, you’ll likely have to delve into some different languages - and it’ll be difficult if you’re not a native or fluent speaker!
The Cambridge Dictionary online has a fantastic translator that works between several different languages.
If you need the absolute be-all, end-all for worldly facts, head here to get the final say. A warning - visiting this website will most definitely not make you into Jason Bourne, James Bond or Jack Bauer.
Before Hunter S. Thompson became famous for his Gonzo journalism he had unsuccessful freelancing stints in Middletown, New York, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
That was, until 1965 when he was hired to write a story on the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang for The Nation. After spending a year with the gang, his breakout book Hell's Angels was published.
From then on he was writing for publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and Harper’s.
Plagiarism! It happens to a ton of writers; if you’ve gotten paid for work on one outlet, make sure it’s not being replicated across the internet with the services that CopyScape provides.
More relatively boring legal stuff, but these concerns might come up. If you need to copyright different types of material, this is the best place to start.
It’s always beneficial to sharpen your grammar on a regular occasion. Check in at Grammar Girl on a daily basis to get some tips and tricks on boosting your style.
If you need to find a picture to go along with your story, but don’t want to pay for the image fees or rights (that can get to be a giant annoyance), check out the free pictures that are available for your use on Morgue File. Ignore the morbid name, this is actually an extremely helpful website.
Every single writer has their word crutch - that word or phrase that they use over, and over, and over again - to their detriment. The beauty of WordCounter is that it can pick up on those crutches, so you can figure out those little flaws and correct them for your next assignment.
Finding Freelance Writing Work
Okay, so you’ve decided to become a freelance writer.
Welcome to the freelance workforce. Now, how can you get some gigs?
Here are some online outlets for those interested in freelance writing to actually do some work to get paid.
A massive compendium of all of the freelance writing jobs that are out there on the website - this directory is a great place to start to find your first job or two.
UpWork is a website that specializes in freelance work of all types, including freelance writing; this link goes directly to the writing jobs listed on the site. Check them out.
The Remote job format works on the same way as UpWork does, with their remote jobs listed into different categories. Plenty of remote work for freelance writers to be found on this site.
6 Types of Freelance Writer - Which are You?
- Web Content Writer
- Technical Writer
- Business Writer
- Newspaper/Periodoical Writer
- Instructional/Curriculum Writer
Scripted, like the first two, works to provide freelance writers with gigs directly from companies throughout the globe. The site is strictly for writers - if you’re looking to cut down on the noise from some of the other remote sites, give a glance at this one.
MediaBistro is a fantastic site for finding full-time media and journalism jobs, and it’s also got an extremely robust freelance section. Go ahead and find an interesting job or two.
This insightful article provides information on how to earn your first $100 dollar as a freelance writer. It includes asking yourself “what can I do best and in what subjects am I well-versed?”.
If you want to a bigger chunk of dollars, sign up for the list that this site provides.
Here’s a daily resource for the freelance writers. Sign up for this “Morning Coffee Jobs” newsletter, and every morning there’ll be a whole list of new jobs for you waiting in your inbox.
Okay, so after you’ve written some materials and built up a bit of a cache for your freelance writing, you want to show it off, right?
Contently is a fantastic tool that allows you to pull your material into an online “portfolio,” ready to show off to your next potential client at a moment’s notice; you’ll need this someday, so keep on top of it!
Freelance Writing Groups (Social Media, Message Boards and Forums)
Social media, message boards and forums are very valuable tools for the freelance writer; it’s important to grow and expand with the community and open yourself up to plenty of different voices, thoughts and opinions. Here’s a list of groups and sites to check out.
If you’ve got Twitter, go ahead and and follow this account; @FreelanceWJ puts up jobs and opportunities on a daily basis.
The freelancers union is an excellent resource for tips and tricks to benefit the career of any freelancer; follow their Twitter account for some daily benefits.
Want to boost your freelance writing presence on Facebook? Check out these five tips from MakeALivingWriting.
A Facebook page that includes plenty of freelance writing jobs.
LinkedIn is a great tool in any job search, and there are plenty of resources on there for the freelance writer to find a job or two. MakeALivingWriting has some excellent tips on using LinkedIn to find writing jobs.
Are you stuck in a writing rut? Hey, we all get there; the WritersRelief Twitter feed will help you get inspired and get back to work.
According to a recent FreelancersUnion survey, more than 53 million Americans - 35% of the entire workforce - work freelance.
Social media is the perfect platform to connect and network with these individuals.
You’ll have to sign up for this, but the “Copywriter Club” is a fine and fun place for all of those who want to make writing their career to come together, chat, swap stories, and help improve their writing life.
Freelance to Freedom is another online support group for anyone looking to make the switch from a 9-to-5 to a freelance writing career.
This Facebook group focuses mainly on the practices of freelance writing for the business-to-business and business-to-consumer groups. An excellent resource.
A very valuable Twitter follow, Elizabeth Craig is a daily tweeter of links that will prove helpful to any freelance writer. A must-follow.
Here’s a fascinating Twitter feed that’s great for anyone (but especially writers); the author of this feed sends out advice on writing from great writers in history.
A cursory look at the timeline reveals advice from people including Aaron Sorkin, Stephen King, Tom Stoppard and Robert Ludlum.
One of the favorite Twitter follows for every freelance writer out there, this blog comes from Samar Owais - a freelance writer based in the Middle East. Her posts are a great daily resource for every writer, and give some valuable insight into the world of freelance writing from a global perspective.
They’re big things these days - and they’re the perfect type of medium for the modern, internet-driven, short attention span world.
Enough content to give a bit of illumination while still being short enough to have an effective impact on a millennial mind. Peruse through these to get some interesting tips and tidbits.
An extremely valuable asset to anyone who’s going to have to write blogs for clients, this is a blog about writing blogs. Lots of great advice on developing the sort of content people are going to be requesting from you.
Let’s get a little meta - this is another blog about having a blog! If you’re looking to get into the blog world for companies, keeping up on blogging strategies and development is an absolute must - so check in and check it out.
This blog by the business writer Ed Gandia is focused on his profession; there are some fabulous tips and articles on attracting and retaining clients, if you’re looking to focus in on this space for your freelance writing career.
It’s absolutely vital, for your writing career, to keep on top of the latest social media trends, technologies and strategies; the Social Media Examiner site (sign up for the report in the pop-up, if you really want to, but it’s not necessary) has a wealth of articles and feature stories that explore just that.
Here’s a valuable piece from Ilise Benun, known as “The Marketing Mentor”. For anyone who’s pursuing a freelance career in marketing (or something similar), there are some gems here that will certainly pump up your knowledge.
If you’re looking to eventually get your elements published, the Writer’s Digest has an enormous list of events, education, resources and other blogs that will help to boost your career.
The “Freelance Writers Online” blog and website covers all the bases, from starting in the industry to finding and developing clients to all of those little hints and strategies that come with the career. A good place to bookmark and check in on on a daily basis.
This is one of the more valuable freelance writing blogs out there, coming straight from the mind (and the mouth) of a freelance writer. There are tons of great hints and tricks here, covering everything that there could possibly be about blogging for a career.
Freelance Writing Podcasts
If you’re a freelance writer, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to listen to podcasts - hey, try to throw one or two on in the background to give you some extra motivation to work (and maybe learn a thing or two). Here’s a list of the best freelance writing podcasts to give an extra boost to your writing.
This is a great one - two freelance writers discuss the ins and outs of the business. If you want some audio information from a pair of people who have been in it for a while, this is the one to go to.
The Freelancer comes from Paul Jarvis, a freelance writer, and it’s designed to give a boost to anyone who’s just starting out their career in the business. An interesting listen.
There aren’t many places where you’ll find better writing than on the Daily Show; this podcast, from a writer from the show, talks to some of the more interesting people writing in comedy today. It’s an inspirational podcast for anyone who’d like to interject some humor and lightness into their writing.
Sometimes the best way to become a great writer is to study the habits of other great writers. “The Writer Files” is a podcast that breaks down how all of the greats worked; study, compare and grow.
This one’s from National Public Radio, so you know it’s quite classy. The Way with Words podcast breaks down some of the interesting aspects of language.
Let’s move into the practical realm with this podcast; writing excuses has a wealth of exercises to help grow your vocabulary and your skills.
The Nerdist podcast has been producing some of the most interesting and innovative podcasts out there - and this podcast with some of the hottest writers out there. If you need inspiration, listen to this one.