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Freelance Writing

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For some who pursue a career in journalism or writing, their goal is to work full time for a single publication (print or online) or as an author writing their own series of books and texts. However, increasingly more and more writers and journalists are freelance writing. Freelancers, also referred to as “stringers” in the news world, are their own boss and write for a variety of publications and media sources. Typically a freelance writer will specialize in a particular discipline, such as news, arts & entertainment or technology, but some branch out and cover many different subjects and fill different roles, from newspaper columnist and magazine feature writer to ghost writer and web content copywriter.

How to Become a Freelance Writer

Determination, hard work, discipline and openness to constantly refining one’s craft are all needed for a successful freelance writing career. However, hands down, it is extremely advantageous for a prospective freelance writer to complete a journalism or communications degree. (Someone who wishes to be an author, script writer or ghost writer would also benefit from an English degree or creative writing courses).  Not only do such programs allow students to learn and practice essential skills required for their future profession and participate in experiential internships – having a journalism degree will also help you stand out amongst other writers when editors are going through the piles of pitches they receive. Often a communications or journalism degree program will also offer a freelance writing course.

Before and as you pursue your journalism degree, you should be continuously seeking out and gaining experience. This may mean volunteering for your school newspaper, writing a blog, going to events and writing reviews or coverage pieces (for practice and possibly a publication) or interviewing friends and family to practice conversing with subjects for an article. Get in the habit of writing every day, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes in the morning. Some days will be easier than others.

Freelance Writing Job Description

 For freelance writers, not one day is alike. One day you might be interviewing a subject or researching leads, whereas on another day you may be writing and editing your work. Here is a list of some of the duties that are part of a freelance writing career:

  • Pitching story/article ideas to editors of print and online media
  • Meeting with clients (in person/phone/online) to discuss their ghost writing needs
  • Researching background for a piece you are writing
  • Writing
  • Revisiting your work and making improvements/edits before submitting
  • Organizing your work schedule (especially if you are writing for multiple clients/editors at once)
  • Marketing your services (through direct contact, setting up a website, attending networking events)
  • Continuously learning through attending specialized courses, asking for feedback or teaming up with a mentor
  • Other possible duties include transcription, photography, editing


Pros and Cons of Freelance Writing

 A life of freelance writing can be very fulfilling and has many perks. However there are some downfalls to not having a steady 9-5 job. Here some examples of pros and cons:



  • You are your own boss
  • You can decide your own schedule
  • You end up learning about a variety of topics and meeting so many fascinating people.
  • Your writing craft is constantly evolving.
  • With hard work and determination, it can turn into a sustainable career
  • A freelance writing lifestyle can eventually lead to your ‘passion project,’ such as writing a novel or creating your own publication.
  • You do not get a steady paycheck (compensation is usually per assignment)
  • Unless you are constantly pitching and networking, there can be drought periods.
  • It is sometimes difficult to remain disciplined.
  • You sometimes have to write about things you are not interested in.

Salary/Job Outlook

 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most people who pursue a writing career are choosing to work as freelancers; in fact the BLS estimates 70% take this route. Although any writing position is competitive, a journalism or communications degree coupled with hard work (and a willingness to put in extra hours until established) can guarantee your successful entry into the freelance writing world. From now until 2018, the number of positions for authors and writers are expected to increase by 15%, states the BLS. The median salary for non-freelance writers was around $53,000/year, adds the BLS. However, a freelance writer’s salary is difficult to quantify since it is based on a per project basis (either by the word, page or entire project). It depends on how hard a freelance writer works to find publications and clients to write for. Once established, a freelancer will have editors and clients approaching them and will evolve into only completing higher paying assignments, for more prestigious publications.

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From the Freelance Writing Blog

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Freelance Writing Away From Home ( Mini Writing Retreats)

May 11, 2018

If you work from a home office most of the time, things can start to feel a bit dull before long. There might come a time when you want to work on freelance writing projects pretty much anywhere else just for a change of scenery. You could take the traditional routes…

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Websites  Blogs That Pay Writers $100 Per Article and More (2018 Updates)

May 10, 2018

How would you like to earn $100 per blog post? You can earn that and more writing online if you know where to look. While I often point out that the best gigs are rarely advertised, that doesn’t mean you can’t find some public gems out there for newer freelance…

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Should You Add an Email List to Your Freelance Writer Website?

Apr 16, 2018

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A Quick Word on Confidence

Apr 7, 2018

Recently I sent out newsletters to subscribers inviting them to apply for an upcoming freelance writing experiment where I’ll work with a writer one-on-one for a few months to improve or revitalize their career. Today I was pouring over those applications, and the…

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Latest Freelance Writing Jobs

DateJob TitleCategoryPay Range
09/05/2018 iPhone Photography Writers Needed Blogging / Web Content Writing$100 – 250 (PRO RATE)
09/05/2018 Freelance Medical Content Writer Blogging / Web Content Writing$25 – 50 (LOW PAY)
09/04/2018 Freelance Automotive Writer Blogging / Web Content Writing$25 – 50 (LOW PAY)
09/03/2018 Conference Session Cliff Notes Business Writing / Copywriting$50 – 100 (SEMI-PRO)
08/27/2018 Blog/Content Writer Blogging / Web Content Writing$100 – 250 (PRO RATE)

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WriterService SummarySpecialty
Kasey Fox Freelance Content WriterBlogger / Web Content Writer
Lizzy Saxe Food and Pop Culture WriterMagazine Writer / Feature Writer / Journalist
Jared White Web Content Author & EditorBlogger / Web Content Writer
Max Dorfman Experienced Science and Health WriterHealth or Medical Writer
Kelly Cabrera Freelance Writer/BloggerBlogger / Web Content Writer

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What Freelance Writers are Saying

If I’m looking for fresh, no-BS perspectives on writing blogging and publishing, Jenn Mattern’s All Freelance Writing is my first port of call.

I’ve been reading AIW from the beginning and I always find something of value there. Jenn and her contributors tell it like it is, refusing to sugar-coat the realities of the writing and publishing life.

In addition, it’s a good place to look for trusted recommendations on tools that will help you to be a more productive and better organized writer and self-publisher. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Sharon Hurley Hall

Jenn Mattern continues to amaze me with the depth of her knowledge about writing and about building and maintaining a web presence. I count on the accuracy of her information. I enjoy her complete answers to questions. Jenn’s tops in my book.

Anne Wayman
About Freelance Writing

All Freelance Writing and its creator, Jenn Mattern, have been an incredibly supportive and helpful resource for my freelance writing business. I believe that the information I’ve gotten there has added value to my writing career in so many immeasurable ways. Mattern knows her stuff. She’s got the years of hands on experience to back it all up. Best of all, she has the quickest bullshit detector in the industry and she’s not afraid to use it.

Princess Jones

When I started devoting more time to my freelance writing business nearly a decade ago, All Freelance Writing was one of the first websites I started to read. Through the site, through the years, I have learned so much valuable information. Things that have made me think more about what I was doing and how I was doing it. In my view Jenn Mattern is a leading global voice for the freelance community. I feel fortunate to be a reader and to have benefited from her wise content. I feel even more fortunate to call her a colleague and friend.

Dann Alexander
Author of  Planned UnParenthood

All Freelance Writing is my go-to site for many reasons, but mostly because of Jenn’s talent for building and maintaining a successful freelance writing business. No erroneous information here – Jenn knows her stuff and practices what she preaches. What’s more, Jenn tells you what you need to hear – no sugar-coating or hand-holding, but honest, helpful advice that comes from her wealth of experience. I learn something new every day from Jenn, and if you’re paying attention, you will, too.

Lori Widmer
Words on the Page

Jennifer has been an inspiration to me and my freelance writing career since the first day I started following her work. She’s an experienced freelance writer with many other skills at her disposal, which is simply magnificent. If you are a new or even experienced freelance writer looking to improve your skills and knowledge, learning from the best, I highly recommend that you follow Jennifer.

Ruan Oosthuizen
Search Vector Media

“When I started my own business in 2008, Jennifer (Jenn) Mattern was someone I found to be a great resource for learning about a freelance writing career. Her expertise and ‘tell it like it is’ attitude is a blessing I was thankful to discover.”

Cathy Miller
Simply Stated Business

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