Learn How to Earn a Living as a Freelance Writer–Part One

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos/StuartMiles

I’m in Alaska for a few weeks, but don’t worry, I have a great line-up of guest posts for you!

Some of you know that Edie Melson and I met at the 2001 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference as unpublished writers, and now she’s the co-director of that conference! How’s that for evidence of how hard work pays off? Be sure to read Edie’s bio below, but let me just say here, she is well-respected and well-known in the writing world.

This article is a reprint of Part One of an eight-part series on freelance writing, originally posted on Edie’s popular blog, The Write Conversation. At the end of this post, be sure to follow the link to Edie’s blog, scroll down and you’ll find links to ALL EIGHT POSTS! Hoo-wee!

Learn How to Earn a Living as a Freelance Writer–Part One

By Edie Melson

Now that I’ve whetted your appetite with writing for the internet, I’m going to back up a little and give you the basics of becoming a Freelance Writer. With the economy as it is, lots are feeling the need for additional or even primary income. With some hard work and diligence, freelance writing could be the answer you’re looking for.

Freelance writing isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It takes hard work—and a certain amount of a daredevil attitude. BUT, if you do the work and put in the hours you WILL see success.

The Basics

There are a couple of things you MUST do to succeed in this industry.

  • Send out the queries…daily.
  • Stay on top of the marketing…daily.

The Specifics

Queries—let’s face it, it’s hard to get an assignment if you don’t apply for it. Landing freelance writing jobs is often a numbers game. For every 10 jobs you inquire about, you’ll land one to two. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing how to make those odds better.

The critical thing to remember is if you’re sending out ONE query a week, you’ll probably land ONE job in the next 10 weeks. If you’re serious about earning an income you need to send out 10 queries a day.

Marketing—a simple explanation of marketing is job searching. I check the job boards every single workday. Even when I have regular work, I still spend about 40% of my time marketing. Otherwise, the work will dry up and I’ll have times with no income coming in. There is more to marketing than just checking the job boards, but I’ll get into more specifics as we cover each type of writing.

Here’s a list of my favorite job boards:


You’ve decided to make the jump from writing as a hobby to writing for profit, so now what? Here’s your first step for your journey to freelance writer.

Step One—Start Thinking Like a Writer

Now it’s time to start thinking like a professional. By that I mean, everywhere you look and every experience you have has the potential to become an article.

Ideas for articles are everywhere. Are you at the grocery store? Look at the free magazines and publications offered near the entrance and exit – they have content – they need writers! Check the community bulletin board. There may be a story you can sell to your local newspaper. Did you have a flat tire last week? There are tons of safety magazines that would welcome your story with a slant.

Vonda here: Be sure to head on over to The Write Conversation, scroll down and you’ll find links to all eight parts of this great series in the left sidebar. Thanks for sharing your great info with us, Edie!

BIO: Edie Melson is the author of four books, a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. She’s also the social media columnist for Southern Writers Magazine and social media mentor for My Book Therapy. Connect with her through Twitter,  Facebook, and her popular blog for writers, www.TheWriteConversation.com.

Happy writing,

(Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos/StuartMiles)

Posted in categories: Business of Writing | Guest Blogger | Uncategorized | Writing Instruction | Writing Opportunities

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  • Megan Vance

    Somehow I missed reading this post but it is a great one and timely for me to read now. I respect Edie’s advice very much. Both of you have been a great help to me. I need to print this post out and refer to it often. Blessings, Megan

    • Glad you found it, Megan! I see I actually missed responding to this while I was in Alaska. But yes, Edie is an awesome instructor and friend. So thankful God brought her into my life!

  • Hope you have a fabulous time away, Vonda! Looking forward to your guests, and always love to see Edie 🙂 Hugs to you both!

    • Thanks, Susan. As you know, we had a great time. But would you believe my photos are all still in my phone and Gary’s iPad?