Freelance Writing Mini-Series - Part 1

What is Freelance Writing?

In this first part of our mini-series, we ask the question, "What is freelance writing?" We also explore the pros and cons of being a freelance writer, and we reveal a major key to having a successful freelance writing career.

Definition of Freelance Writing

The term "freelance writing" refers to a service performed by freelance writers. A freelance writer works on a self-employed basis and undertakes assignments for multiple publications and businesses.

There are many types of assignment that fall under the 'umbrella' of freelance writing.

Types of Freelance Writing Assignment 

The most common types of freelance writing assignment include:

  • Writing non-fiction articles for magazines and newspapers. These publications may be published in print or online, or both.
  • Writing essays, poetry and short stories for print and online publications.
  • Writing blog posts.
  • Copywriting for local businesses: writing newsletters, business brochures, annual reports, sales letters, etc.
  • Writing sales copy for websites.
  • Ghostwriting: writing a book, typically on behalf of a well-known public figure or celebrity.
  • Technical writing: writing instruction manuals, policy and procedure manuals, quick reference guides, etc.
  • and more.

What are Freelance Writing Markets?

The publications, businesses and other organizations that pay writers for their work are referred to in the industry as 'writing markets'. There are many thousands of writing markets in North America, and more in other countries around the world. At Worldwide Freelance, we have compiled a database of more than 2,500 writing markets.

As a freelance writer, you are not restricted to working for writing markets in your country of residence. You can write for markets in any country, providing you speak the language. And guess what, you can do this work from anywhere.

The Pros & Cons of Freelance Writing

It's not unusual to hear freelance writers talk about working at home in their pyjamas. It might sound like an easy life at first, but I can assure you that freelance writing is no holiday camp. Let's take a look at the reality of being a freelance writer.

The pros of being a freelance writer include:

  • No Commute in Rush Hour Traffic

  • You Are Your Own Boss - the master of your destiny. You must be self-motivated, drive yourself, and it is you who is ultimately responsible for your success. 

  • Choose Who You Work For - if you've ever worked for a boss you didn't like, then you'll love working for multiple clients as a freelancer. If a client treats you badly or is a jerk, then you can walk away.

  • You Have Flexible Hours - you'll have to work hard but you can choose the hours that you work. Do work better at night? Do you work better at 5 a.m. in the morning? It's up to you when you work. 

  • Unlimited Earning Potential - Although writing for magazines is not particularly lucrative, it can lead towards a six-figure freelancing career. Once you establish your credentials as an expert on a particular topic, you will have the opportunity to publish a book, speak at seminars, and create training courses.  

The cons of being a freelance writer include: 

  • You Are Your Own Boss - if you don't push and motivate yourself, you will most likely fail.
  • Financial Insecurity - as a self-employed, independent contractor, you have no guarantee of a certain amount of income each month.
  • Loss of Benefits - are you accustomed to receiving benefits as an employee such as medical and dental insurance, paid annual leave, and paid sick days? As a freelance writer, you will need to make your own arrangements. 
  • Blurring of Work and Home Life - when you work at an office, the commute often helps to create a clear distinction between your work and home life. When you work at home, however, you're always at the office. Work and home life may be harder to separate and may interfere with one another.
  • Loneliness - The solitary nature of freelance writing can be challenging if you have enjoyed working as part of a team of people. This is not so much of an issue now that you can connect with other writers and industry personnel through the Internet and social media.

These are some important issues to consider, and you need to weigh them up against the 'pros' above in order to work out if a freelance writing career is for you.

The Key to a Successful Freelance Writing Career

The secret to having a successful career in freelance writing lies in being able to balance the two most important elements of the job: 

  • Writing - You have to spend a large amount of time writing. Clients are paying you for your words. 
  • Marketing - You need to spend time actively looking for, and pitching for, your next opportunities and assignments.  

If you spend too much of your time on one of these activities, at the expense of the other, then you will struggle to be successful as a freelance writer. 

We'll look deeper into writing and marketing later in this mini-series. 

How We Can Help You to Succeed

At, we've been helping freelance writers for more than 16 years already.  

We know that you are very busy, and so we've honed in on the most useful way that we believe we can support and assist you. We cannot write your articles for you. And we don't pitch queries to editors on your behalf. 

But what we can do is save you valuable time by helping you to identify suitable markets for your writing and hopefully to uncover your next writing assignment. 

Our Markets Plus database lists more than 2,500 writing markets. These listings are fully searchable by topic, location, and pay rates.

Although we do offer the free section of 700 markets, the best opportunities are in our premium Markets Plus section. Can you guess what happens when we uncover a new, high-paying market? We add it immediately into Markets Plus for our premium members.

You can get access to Markets Plus for as low as $1.59 per month. We believe that's excellent value considering the countless hours it can save you!

What's Next?

In the next part of this mini-series, we'll look at how much writers get paid. Then, we'll explore the process of writing for magazines in detail, plus much more. Watch out for an email with the next part soon.

About this Course

This module is part of a mini-series on Freelance Writing sent by email to our subscribers. If you've landed on this page from somewhere else, and would like to sign up for the entire mini-series, please click here.


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