Freelance Writing 101

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Course Description

If you have ever dreamed of being a freelance writer this course is for you. Get started today learning about this exciting field and in no time you can be on your way to earning a living, extra income, and more, by doing something that you love – writing!


Chock-full of all the inside information you need to understand the career field and be successful in it, this course can teach you what freelancing writing is, how much you can expect to make, how to find markets, creating successful queries, what to do once you get an assignment, and how to market your skills. You will also learn some of the tools of the trade that will help you be successful, such as how to build a portfolio, where to get ideas and topics from, common writing rules that are outdated, and various ways you can increase your earnings as a writer.


This course will not only give you a look at everything you need to know to become a freelance writer, but when you finish,  you will be ready to put what you learn into action to build a freelance writing career. Whether you would like to freelance on a full time basis, do it to supplement your current income, or learn freelance writing skills to get your product or service noticed, this is the place to start!

Course Requirements

This course will not require you to have previous experience in any particular area but you should have a high school reading level. No books will be required.

Course Topics


I.              Introduction to freelance writing

a.    What is freelance writing?

b.    Determining your purpose and goal

                                          i.    Hobby

                                        ii.    Promote main business

                                       iii.    Make a living as a writer

c.    Thinking like a business

d.    Setting realistic goals

e.    Time management

f.     Record keeping

II.            Determining what to write

a.    Specializing

b.    Having several specialty areas

c.    Being a generalist

d.    Determining what is best for you

e.    Deciding what to you want to write

III.           Money matters

a.    How much you can expect to make

b.    Writing for free

c.    Individual circumstances

d.    Setting your rates

e.    Think hourly

f.     Negotiating rates

IV.          Finding Markets

a.    Writer’s market, online guidelines

b.    Google searches for markets

c.    Businesses

d.    Public relations and advertising agencies

e.    Online bidding sites

V.           The query or proposal

a.    What they both are and what their purpose is

b.    What is included in each

c.    Who it goes to

d.    Sample query and proposal letter

e.    Offering sample writing clips

VI.          Making the sale

a.    What to do after getting the assignment

b.    Should you write on spec

c.    Contracts, deadlines and rights

d.    Billing issues (billing some up front, upon publication, etc.)

e.    Calendaring your work

f.     Writing the piece

g.    Submitting for review

h.    Making revisions

VII.         Marketing your skills

a.    Importance of it

b.    Ways to do it

                                          i.    Web site (and what goes on it)

                                        ii.    Business cards (and what goes on it)

                                       iii.    Word of mouth

                                       iv.    Online job boards

                                        v.    Online bidding sites

VIII.       Building your portfolio

a.    What a portfolio is and what it’s used for

b.    Getting copies of your finished work (articles, brochures, etc.)

c.    Adding clips to your site

d.    Adding up your experience

e.    Reviewing educational experience (do you need a degree?)

IX.          Generating ideas

a.    How to come up with ideas

                                          i.    Look at others

                                        ii.    Your life experience

                                       iii.    Read books

                                       iv.    Watch the news

                                        v.    Look around

b.    Researching ideas and statistics

c.    Conducting interviews and gathering necessary info from clients

X.           Outdated rules

a.    Where they come from, how they keep getting perpetuated

b.    Why they are outdated and may cost you if you follow them

c.    Examples

                                          i.    Writer’s market

                                        ii.    The query – SASE

                                       iii.    Reviewing past issues

XI.          Ways to increase your earnings as a writer

a.    Recycle article ideas

b.    Offer reprints

c.    Start a column

d.    Ghostwrite

e.    Edit / proofread

f.     Research

g.    Teach others

h.    Coach others

i.      Be creative in your approach

XII.         hanging out your shingle

a.    Are you ready to take the plunge?

b.    What to consider

                                          i.    Health insurance

                                        ii.    Holidays, raises

                                       iii.    Working alone

                                       iv.    Being organized

                                        v.    Finding your own source of income

                                       vi.    Sporadic payment schedules

                                      vii.    Handling rejection

c.    Thinking of yourself as a writer

d.    Renewing your goals each year

e.    Staying focused

XIII.       Resources and tools for freelance writers

a.    Books

b.    Magazines

c.    Sites

d.    Conferences

e.    Groups (online and local)

f.     Networking

g.    AP Style

h.    Finding a mentor

i.      conclusion

Course Materials

All course material will be provided in the lessons and netlinks. There are no required materials to purchase before taking the class.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a lesson review quiz along with one or two assignments. Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Determine what to write.
  • Determine compensation.
  • Find writing markets.
  • Create a query or proposal.
  • Describe making the sale.
  • Describe marketing your skills.
  • Describe building your portfolio.
  • Describe generating ideas and conducting interviews.
  • Describe ways to increase your earnings as a writer, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
An Introduction1
Lesson 1 Assignment2
Lesson 1: An Introduction to Freelance Writing10
Lesson 2 Assignment20
Lesson 2: Determining What to Write9
Lesson 3 Assignment25
Lesson 3: Money Matters8
Lesson 4 Assignment20
Lesson 4: Finding Markets10
Lesson 5 Assignment30
Lesson 5: The Query or Proposal10
Lesson 6 Assignment20
Lesson 6: Making the Sale10
Lesson 7 Assignment25
Lesson 7: Marketing Your Skills10
Lesson 8 Assignment30
Lesson 8: Building Your Portfolio10
Lesson 9 Assignment40
Lesson 9: Generating Ideas and Conducting Interviews10
Lesson 10 Assignment45
Lesson 10: Outdated Rules10
Lesson 11 Assignment35
Lesson 11: Ways to Increase Your Earnings as a Writer9
Lesson 12 Assignment20
Lesson 12: Hanging Out Your Shingle10
Lesson 13 Assignment15
Lesson 13: Freelance Tools and Resources10
The Final Exam620
Total Points:1074

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