Resources for New Freelance Writers
Recently a friend mentioned he’s becoming disenchanted with his career and is interested in going solo as a freelance writer. Problem is, he has no idea where to begin.
I know how he feels.
When I decided to leave my job as a grant writer, I knew I wanted to write but didn’t know much beyond that. A simple search for “freelance writing” pulled up thousands of sites on the topic. And each site pointed to other sites and then within those sites were offers for e-books or courses or materials. Soon I was drowning in information with no idea where to begin.
Part of the problem was that I hadn’t pinpointed exactly what I wanted to do. Freelance writing encompasses so many different roles: copywriter, social media content creator, magazine article writer, journalist, technical writer, business writer, ghostwriter, creative writer….
With no specific idea of my goals, I was flailing around, jotting down tidbits of information without a clue of how to put it to use.
So, if you’re contemplating a freelance writing career the first question you must ask is, What type of writer do I want to be?
Some people can take on various forms of writing and do just fine, though I think having a specific focus will enable you to be more successful in the long run.
Below are resources that were helpful to me when I first started out. I’m sharing it in the hopes that others might find the information useful.
Copywriting / Content Writing Resources
These are a few sites I used when I first began my research. They’re geared towards those who are interested in taking on copywriting / content writing work.
Creative Revolt: This site by Jorden Roper includes a ton of articles, downloads, videos, and tutorials on how to launch a freelance writing career. Her courses state that she can teach you “how to make $1,000 freelance writing in the next 45 days (even if you have NO experience!).” I can’t state personally whether or not the course will do as it says, but I can say that Roper’s site offers a ton of useful info if you’re interested in pursuing a career in copywriting, blogging, or content writing.
Facebook groups can be really useful tools for learning, as well as networking. Some of the helpful ones in this realm are Writing Revolters, Creative Freelancers Unite, No-Fluff Freelance Writing Group, and for women freelancers specifically, Freelancing Females and Female Freelance Writers.
Article Writing Resources
If you’re interested in writing for newspapers or magazines, books that can break down the process include:
The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing by Zachary Petit
Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing by Kerrie Flanagan
Another useful tool is Writer’s Market 2019. This book includes thousands of publishing opportunities for writers, including information on hundreds of trade and consumer magazines. In addition, the book opens with nearly 100 pages of information on finding and managing work. My copy is literally highlighted and dogeared, with notes written in the margins throughout.
Kerrie Flanagan, author of the Guide to Magazine Article Writing, also leads a webinar on the subject. The webinar comes with access to a private Facebook group where you can learn from and network with fellow writers, including Kerrie herself.
Creative Writing Resources
If you want to write fiction or personal essays, you can use sites like Duotrope (which charges $50 annually) to find up-to-date market listings, including upcoming literary journal deadlines and places to submit your work.
Books that can help include:
Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays by Windy Lynn Harris
The Byline Bible by Susan Shapiro
If you’re interested in writing fiction, I highly recommend a subscription to Writer’s Digest Magazine. I’ve been subscribing for the past year and I’ve found each issue to be enormously helpful in terms of craft and inspiration.
For those interested in writing personal essays, The Write Life has a list of 19 websites that accept personal essay submissions. (It was through this list that I found the guidelines to Boston Globe Magazine, which is going to publish my personal essay this spring.)
Facebook groups for personal essays and creative writing include The Tribe Builder’s Network, Medium Mastery, Ninja Writers, My 500 Words, Writerly with Heather Dixon, I am a Writer with Sarah Werner, and Bloggers & Medium Support. These groups provide a great ways to learn, connect with fellow writers, and share your most recent work.
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I hope the above information is useful and helps to kick off a thriving, successful career as a freelancer. I can say personally that freelance writing is exhausting, challenging work, but also incredibly fulfilling. I wish you the best with your freelancing endeavors.