Online Class: Freelance Writing 101

This course will teach you what freelancing writing is, how much you can expect to make, how to find markets, how to create successful queries, what to do once you get an assignment, and how to market your skills.

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  • 13
  • 28
    Exams &
  • 2,630
    have taken this course
  • 6
    average time
  • 0.6

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, increasing your 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you be successful, such as how to build a portfolio, where to get ideas and topics from, common writing rules that are outdated, and various ways you can increase your earnings as a writer.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 Motivation

What is freelance writing?

Freelance writing is simply writing professionally as someone who is self-employed. Rather than working for a company and being on its regular payroll, you are in a position of working on your own to help the company meet its editorial needs. While freelancers usually work from home, some work in on-site offices.

If you are self-employed as a freelance writer, you are responsible for finding your own work, getting paid for your services, and even reporting those earnings on your tax return. Freelance writers provide writing services for a multitude of venues, including magazines, newspapers, Web sites, public relations, advertising agencies, and more. There are so many possibilities as to where your writing assignments may come from and what they could cover.

As a freelance writer, you may be someone that is working at it full time, part time, or doing other things in conjunction with it, such as working a day job and freelancing in the evening. In this regard, there is no right or wrong; it is a matter of what you are looking to do. Can you have a full-time freelance writing career and make a good living? You bet! Many writers are doing just that. You also can use freelancing to supplement your current income, or start out doing this and transition to full time once you build up experience and clients. Another option for some people interested in freelance writing is to use it as a way to promote or gain publicity for something else they do, such as their medical practice, professional service, or a product.

Determining Your Purpose and Goal

Have you given thought as to why you want to join the ranks of being a freelance writer? If not, you need to. The answer to this can make a big difference in what direction you take your freelancing career and what goals you will set. It may also influence the type of places you query, what you write about, and the type of money you will be comfortable making. Not everyone writes for the same reason, believe it or not. Some people freelance to fill an inner need, others do it to see their name in print, and still others want to spread a message about an issue close to their heart.

Before you go any further, pause for a moment and ask yourself why you want to freelance. What purpose are you seeking to fill? Are you wanting to make extra money? Build a successful writing career? Get your nonwriting-related business noticed? The answer to this question is very important in going forward. There is no right or wrong answer; but before you can reach goals, you need to know where you want to go first.

Some people do freelance writing merely as a hobby . They are not out to make much money from their writing and may even be comfortable doing it free of charge. Some people write as a hobby because they enjoy writing or they like to inform people about a specific topic. Others do it to promote their main business or career. For example, a psychologist may take up freelance writing on the side in an effort to become established as an expert in her or his field and get the practice noticed. Others just want to make a living as a writer , without having any other ulterior motives.

So give some thought to where you fall in this realm. While there is no wrong answer, much of this course is geared toward the person who wants to make a living as a freelance writer. Yet the information also can apply to those wanting to freelance for any reason.

Think Like a Businessperson

If your goal is to make money as a freelance writer, rather than to write as a hobby, you will need to treat your writing like a business. Keep in mind that businesses sell a product, and your product is your writing services. This means that you will want to consider the money, time involved, record keeping, marketing, etc.  

By thinking like a businessperson, you will be more apt to make decisions that will increase your chances of success and make more money for you in the long run. You will set realistic goals about how much money you would like to make the first year, third year, fifth year, and so on. Setting realistic goals will mean you are not dreaming about what you can do and make. It is great to have dreams; but when you have realistic dreams, you are more likely to reach them and can build upon them to reach your bigger dreams.

Time Management

One of the most important aspects in regard to freelance writing is that of time management . Writers work on deadline, meaning that just about everything you write will have a due date assigned to it, and you will need to make sure you meet those deadlines. To do this, you may need to use a calendar to write your assignment due dates on. Many successful freelancers use a calendar to write interviews they need to conduct, when it is time to write the draft, when the piece is due, and any other notes they may need.

Record Keeping

Another important thing you will need to keep up on in a freelancing career is record keeping . You will need to keep track of queries submitted, money earned, expenses, and more. You can do this by obtaining a computer accounting software package, or simply using Excel, or just using handwritten methods of recording everything. Much of this information will be used when filing taxes and also keeping track of what you have written and where it has been published.

The world of freelance writing is an interesting and exciting one. The advances that have been made in technology in the last decade have really opened up the field, making it an easier, quicker, and streamlined process. Gone are the days of using postal mail to send off all your ideas and the final drafts of an article. Today you can contact and receive responses from editors within hours or even minutes, making this career field accessible to all.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.5 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(3,200 votes)

Lesson 1 : An Introduction to Freelance Writing

This first lesson focuses on what freelance writing is, defining a purpose, and setting realistic goals. 13 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 1: An Introduction to Freelance Writing

Lesson 2: Determining What to Write

This lesson looks at what you should consider writing, including a look at fiction vs. nonfiction writing, specializing, and deciding what to write. Additional lesson topics: Magazines 29 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Write What You Know
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 2: Determining What to Write

Lesson 3: Money Matters

This lesson focuses on the money matters that pertain to freelance writing, such as how much you can make, setting your rates, and more. Additional lesson topics: Get Paid What You're Worth 33 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Ching Ching!
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 3: Money Matters

Lesson 4: Finding Markets

This lesson looks at the different ways to find markets in which to sell your writing services, including online sources. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 4: Finding Markets

Lesson 5: The Query or Proposal

This lesson covers the query or proposal, including what it is, what is included, and samples. Additional lesson topics: Bid Proposal; Book Proposal; Writing a Query Letter 40 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 5: The Query or Proposal

Lesson 6: Making the Sale

This lesson looks at what to do once you make the sale, including contracts, deadlines, and publication rights. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 6: Making the Sale

Lesson 7: Marketing Your Skills

This lesson looks at the importance of marketing your writing skills and ways in which you can do it. Additional lesson topics: Marketing Strategies 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 7: Marketing Your Skills

Lesson 8: Building Your Portfolio

This lesson looks at ways you can build your portfolio, especially if you are new to freelance writing. Additional lesson topics: Building Your Portfolio; Credentials 40 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 8: Building Your Portfolio

Lesson 9: Generating Ideas and Conducting Interviews

This lesson looks at how you can generate ideas and conduct interviews of sources. Additional lesson topics: Research 50 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 9: Generating Ideas and Conducting Interviews

Lesson 10: Outdated Rules

This lesson looks at some of the outdated freelance writing rules that tend to turn up over and over in the field. 55 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 10: Outdated Rules

Lesson 11: Ways to Increase Your Earnings as a Writer

This lesson looks at some of the ways in which you can increase your earnings as a writer, including branching out in different areas and offering new services. Additional lesson topics: Stringers 44 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 11: Ways to Increase Your Earnings as a Writer

Lesson 12: Hanging Out Your Shingle

This lesson looks at taking the steps to get started freelancing and issues you should first consider. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 12: Hanging Out Your Shingle

Lesson 13: Freelance Tools and Resources

This lesson provides resources and tools that can be helpful to freelance writers. 645 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Finders Keepers; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Complete: Lesson 13 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 13: Freelance Tools and Resources
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

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.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Freelance Writing 101
Course Number: 9770553
Lessons Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars (3,200 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: September 2022
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.6 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Dana Kristan
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $95.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "Thank You. This course was very helpful and I will definitely use what you taught me to navigate my way through this new world of becoming a freelance writer." -- Shawn O.
  • "This course was helpful from my perspective. Much of the information presented I have read before, but never in a simplistic and somewhat more detailed format. I read so many books, articles, and blogs before getting started. It was simply too much information to absorb, which was stagnating. If I had taken the course when I initially started freelancing, I would have been more productive and not so overwhelmed." -- Carmen W.
  • "The instructor was wonderful. I have no complaints and would be happy to have her again in another class. Excellent teaching skills and student communication." -- Lori D.
  • "I think this instructor added dimension to this course. The course alone is very good, but this instructor made it exceptional." -- Danielle S.
  • "Thank you for offering this opportunity. The instructor was professional, prompt and helpful with her comments and instruction. I thank her, and your program for all it gives to society." -- Louisa P.
  • "Well designed course with focus on the basics and embellishments on the real world expectations for a freelance writer." -- Carlton J.
  • "I have taken several courses with this instructor and plan to take a few more. I feel her feedback is very helpful and encouraging." -- Deborah W.
  • "The instructor provided feedback on the lesson assignments which prompted me to continue and to do well. I appreciated the continued support. My instructor gets an A+/5 stars!" -- Shirley H.
  • "Thank you for this very interesting course and thank you to the instructor for all the assistance provided throughout. It was a very informative course all the way." -- Jobson S.
  • "I love my instructor. She was great at giving me feedback." -- Betty B.
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