Where to find freelance writing work: Websites, job boards and newsletters
If you’re a freelance writer in search of work — and really, what freelance writer isn’t? — try these options:
Craigslist – The obvious source for freelance writing work, and just about anything else you can think of. Remember that when searching for writing/editing jobs in the city of your choice, also check out “Writing” under the “gigs” section for more writing work.
My experience: I’ve scored lots of paid writing gigs on Craiglist, from magazine work to writing press releases. My secret to success lies in following the following tips.
Tips: Keep in mind that ads on Craiglist generally get tons of responses, so make your response brief but informative. Do not inundate the reader, who likely has 50 other responses to his ad, with a two-page dissertation on your qualifications. Make a short, fast pitch as to your interest in finding out more about the project, your qualifications as a freelance writer and a place where the reader can discover those qualifications for his or herself, such as your website.
Extras: Keep in mind that you can also post your own ads (usually free) promoting your writing services on Craigslist. I’ve done this a couple of times with no responses, but I imagine this is more of a long-term strategy than one that yields immediate results.
Online Writing Jobs – Another great resource for writers in search of work. The offerings are sorted by type of work, which is ideal if you’re focusing on one particular writing service and have no interest in others.
My experience: I’ve also scored writing work from this source since I started checking it regularly about a month ago. As on Craigslist, ads on this site typically get tons of responses, so apply the tips above when responding. The site tells you how many hits each ad has gotten, which should give you an idea of how many freelance writers you’ll be competing with.
Local newspapers – An excellent but often overlooked source of writing work. Small, local papers typically need freelance writers and can become a regular source of work for you.
My experience: I’ve built my career around writing for newspapers. I got my start at a relatively small, daily local paper and worked my way up from there, eventually writing for a major city paper and national publications but still maintaining ties and doing work for the paper I started out at.
Tips: Contact the small daily or weekly papers in your area, let them know you’re a freelance writer (which hopefully you are) and find out if they need freelancers to cover occasional stories. Tell them you can send along writing samples if they’re interested. Editors are typically inundated with e-mail, so don’t take a non-response as a sign that they’re not interested. They’re probably just busy, and it may take some persistence on your part to get an answer.
For more info on writing for a newspaper, check out my article on landing a newspaper gig.
And here are some more places to score freelance writing work. Good luck!
FreelanceWritingGigs.com – With daily job updates and helpful freelance writing tips, this is a good site to check on a regular basis. I haven’t gotten any work from it, but I’ve only applied to one lead.
FreelanceWriting.com – This site has a full complement of writing jobs pulled from various sources – so many in fact, that there can seem to be TOO many writing jobs to sift though. My go-to site among the list offered is www.online-writing-jobs.com, which I mentioned above.
JournalismJobs.com – If you’re a journalist, this is a good site to check out. You can search by type of media, type of job (freelance vs. full-time, editor vs. writer) and target location.
Constant Content – Visitors in need of content for their website either post requests for content that you can respond to, or buy content that you (or someone else) posted. My experience with this site has been pretty unimpressive. Many of the requests for content are vague or want too much for too little. And although you can set your own price for the content you want to post and sell, Constant Content is strange and seemingly arbitrary about what they will and won’t accept. Also, they take a percentage of the money you get for any sold articles, and they don’t pay you until you reach a pre-determined threshold ( I believe it’s $50) which very well means you could never get paid if you don’t sell much on the site. So I’d approach with caution.
MediaBistro.com – This is a great resource for writers looking for advice, health insurance, job leads, regional networking events and more. Their How To Pitch guides explaining the Dos and Don’ts of pitching to specific publications are extremely helpful.
About Freelance Writing – This site has a lengthy and regularly updated list of freelance writing jobs.
Elance – I’ve never used Elance and I don’t plan to. Nevertheless, it is a spot where companies or individuals in need of work post their freelance/consulting/contract projects and professionals bid on the work. Most of the writing opportunities seem mundane and robotic, or geared towards copywriting, which is not my writing type of choice. Projects seemed to go to the lowest bidder more often than not, making it more about churning out bulk than quality. But again, check out the site for yourself.
And here is a list of e-mail newsletters/lists with freelance writing jobs:
PayingWriterJobs – This list is SUPPOSED to be limited to — as the title implies — posting writing jobs that actually pay. It often degenerates into people posting links to conferences and helpful websites, which, while a nice gesture, is outside of the limits of what the list explicitly covers and frankly gets annoying. But you can occasionally find a good job lead here. Lurkers are not allowed, so you will be expected to find and post at least one paying writer job per month. To join e-mail email@example.com.
WritersWeekly.com list – Dubbed “Freelance Jobs and Paying Markets for Writers.” A lot of stuff you probably don’t care about with a little you do, which is generally the theme for most of these lists. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freelance Writing Jobs’ Morning Coffee Newsletter – Job leads delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning. This is probably the best of all the newsletters because it cuts right to the chase and gives you only what you want: job leads. E-mail email@example.com.
Writing for Dollars – Typical newsletter with articles you may or may not be interested in and then writing markets — 12 of them to be exact. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
FundsForWriters – the classic newsletter filled with articles I usually don’t care about and a few job leads, some of which are promising. There is also a Small Markets newsletter. Visit www.fundsforwriters.com to subscribe to any of the newsletters.