Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Freelance Writing: Brush Up on the Basics

Whether you’re a freelance writer just getting started, or a more seasoned veteran with lots of published articles, it’s a good idea to brush up on the basics of freelance writing. Even though I’ve been working as a content writer for five years this summer, I’m always reading, studying and learning new things that will help me get to the next level in my writing career.

There are a ton of helpful books out there about the basics of freelance writing, and I’ve discovered lots of helpful free resources online. I feel that becoming a writer is a journey that really has no end, because if you are serious about your craft, you are always growing and learning as part of the creative process.

At the end of last year, I reflected on decreased revenues for 2011 that occurred as a result of the Google search engine algorithm changes (what is commonly referred to as “Google Panda updates”). As the holiday season went on, I thought a lot about new directions for my freelance writing. I vowed to diversify in the New Year (and I’ll talk more on the importance of diversification for writers in a future blog post!)

I suddenly felt hungry for information about how I could make more money as a writer and break into new writing markets. Over the years, I have collected quite a few books on all aspects of writing, and I started reaching for these books in order to arm myself with as much information as possible, to help me go in new, more profitable writing directions.

Since New Year’s, I’ve been reading books about writing, and visiting some fantastic websites that offer free information and tutorials. I’d like to share a few of my favorite free writing resources to help freelance writers brush up on the basics:

1. Freelancewrite.about.com is a great resource for all types of freelance writing. This site offers tips and tutorials for journalistic type writing, such as nonfiction articles, as well as fiction writing. There is even a whole section about writing business copy. I find this site of particular interest because it talks about “creative freelance writing,” which is something I’ve become more interested in lately.

2. Writing-world.com is one of my favorites because it is SO comprehensive. There are articles that cover freelance writing basics, as well as more advanced topics. Reading the information here, I’ve become enlightened about the many markets out there for my work, from writing movie and music reviews to personal essays to selling articles about genealogy!

3. Constant-Content.com offers helpful reference materials (called extended writers guidelines) for potential contributors to study before submitting high quality content to its site. These tutorials cover topics like proper grammar and style, and it’s a treasure trove of free information about writing. (If you’d like to submit to Constant Content, which can be a lucrative market for web writers, it’s important to absorb this information in order to have your articles accepted at this site).

Those are my big three favorites at the moment, but there are lots of other informative blogs and writing sites out there that provide free information for writers who want to brush up on the basics of freelance writing. As an honorable mention, here are two other sites I like:

WritersWeekly.com has a long list of instructive articles about freelance writing:


WritingForDollars.com offers a list of useful articles covering all aspects of building a freelance writing career:


I could literally spend hours at these sites, reading and bookmarking articles for future reference!

After a beautiful sunny weekend, it’s been raining nonstop. Rain, rain, go away! But rainy days are a good time to fire up the coffeemaker (I like hot, steaming and sugary Donut Shop coffee...) and settle in with some good reading about freelance writing. I hope you enjoy these free resources!

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