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What is a Freelance Writer?
A freelance writer is a writer who works on a self-employed basis. They can work for just one magazine or, more often, they write for several different publications at a time. The more diverse a writer can be, the more likely they are to be published and paid for their work.
Being freelance does require a certain amount of self-reliance – there’s no regular, monthly salary, sick or holiday pay to fall back on – so it’s not for everyone. However, for any writer brave enough to become freelance the benefits are enormous. They:
How Much Does A Freelancer Writer Get Paid
Payment for freelance work varies greatly depending on what you are writing and who you are writing for. In general you will be paid for a piece of work you have produced – not on an hourly basis. As a very rough guide you can expect:
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that all published writing is valuable in its own right, as it can be added to a writer’s portfolio. The more high quality work a portfolio contains, the more impressed, and more likely to take your work, editors will be.
“I have seen my writing journey as an adventure: What can I write? What am I best at? What new aspects of writing can I discover and contribute towards? I have welcomed the wide range of modules covering different types of writing, challenging me to try new aspects in style and content, pushing me gently outside my comfort zone with encouragement.
“I signed up for the course in December 2020 as a Christmas present to myself and I started the first module in January 2021. I have had eight pieces published: three paid earning £1080 and a star letter where I won a £250 hotel voucher.”
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How Freelance Writing Works
Freelance writers typically work for a company or individual on a contractual basis. These contractual positions don’t necessarily need to have a formal contract in place (although that’s probably in your best interest as a writer). Occasionally, you may be able to land a large contract with one client—writing a marketing campaign full-time for three months for one company, for instance. More often, though, freelancers will work with many clients or publications at once.
What these positions (often called gigs) do have in common is that they are project-based work. The assignment is for a piece (or batch of pieces) of writing that must be completed by a previously set time and an assignment that has a clearly set goal. Once the project is complete, the freelance operative either moves on to the next project in the queue or has to wait for their next assignment.
As a self-employed writer, you also have to become adept at running your business. That means tracking your work (whether in hours or on a project basis), billing clients, collecting payments, tracking expenses, and setting aside money to pay taxes.
Types of Freelance Writers
- Business writing: HR documents, company memos, training manuals, stories for trade publications, etc.
- Technical writing: Detailed instructions, operations manuals, user manuals, assembly instructions, etc.
- Academic writing: Articles, essays, or reports for academic journals, textbooks, or class materials
- Marketing and sales copywriting: Email campaigns, social media posts, product pages, sales sheets, ad scripts, etc.
- News writing: Articles for print or online, scripts for news broadcasts, feature stories for magazines, etc.
- Social commentary or op-ed writing: Essays, opinion pieces, analysis of social issues and trends
- Public relations writing: Press releases, speeches, public statements, etc.
- Writing for the websites: Blog articles, product pages, company about pages, etc.
- Ghostwriting: Writing for another person under their name (this can apply to many of the above types of writing)
If you like the digital landscape, you can become proficient at creating copy for websites because most web designers are not good writers. On the other hand, some freelancers focus solely on writing for magazines, anthologies, or newspapers, while others write grants and proposals for nonprofits.
Once you dive into the world of freelance writing, you’ll begin to get a good sense of your strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Knowing where your skills and interests intersect will enable you to target the jobs that best showcase your abilities and offer you the most opportunities.
Types of Writing a Freelance Writer Can Offer
– this is what I mostly write and what most companies online need.
- Magazine articles – this type of writing is more formal and journalistic in nature.
- Site content – businesses have websites with many pages. As a freelance writer, you might be assigned to write an About page or Products page. This typically falls under copywriting. – emails are short pieces of content between 500-1,000 words and many businesses rely on emails to grow their income.
- eBooks – many businesses use eBooks to attract people to their newsletter. Most eBook writing is ghostwritten, but it’s a great experience to have under your belt. – These are lead generating professional articles for small businesses. – Like white paper writing, case studies are a high paying service to offer. You are interviewing customers and clients of a company and sharing the results of their success using the client’s product or service. – did you know there are dozens of short writing projects that pay hundreds of dollars? These are fast projects to write (under an hour) and they pay well. For example, a team page on a company website is made up of several bios. A freelance writer can write those bios and for $250 a bio, that’s not a bad service to offer!