Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Make Money Writing Online, One–Freelancing: The Dream

So, you’re ready to learn how to make money writing online. 

Me, too. 

No, just kidding I really am going to share everything I know about this with you in this series of posts that is going to become an ebook.  (You can read the introduction here.)

I want to start by talking about the dream of freelance writing.  Why are writers drawn to the freelance life?  Because, lets face it, anyone who enjoys writing has probably dreamed of chucking the day job and going freelance.  Do any of these reasons ring a bell?

  • Independence
  • Prestige
  • Meet cool people
  • Write about interesting topics
  • Make your own schedule
  • Flexible lifestyle
  • Work as much or as little as you want

All of these, and more, are excellent reasons to turn to freelance writing.  Isn’t it a wonderful fantasy to see yourself getting up in the morning and heading to your computer to work in your jammies?  To not have to fuss with work attire, or hassle with the commute?  To work at a career where you can choose how much or how little time you spend on the job?  Or what topics you can write about?

Freelance writing can give you all of these benefits. But before you quit your day job and cash in your 401k, you might also want to consider if you are suited for freelance writing.  Think about the following:

  • Do you have money stashed away to live on while getting started?
  • Are you a self-starter?  Can you work on your own?
  • Are you organized?  Can you keep track of things?
  • Do you have room in your home for an office?
  • Are you flexible?
  • Do you have a curiosity about the world?
  • Do you have basic writing skills?

Possessing some or all of these attributes will help you in your freelancing career.  But if you don’t have any of them, you might want to just look for a better full-time job.  Freelancing is not for everyone, and it is definitely not for the faint of heart.  (Ask anybody in my family, who will tell you first hand how often they’ve heard me complain about waiting for a check or a paypal payment!)

Now I’m going to get specific, and make the distinction between a traditional freelance career and a career writing for online markets.  The good news is that the internet is a hungry, hungry beast, and what it is hungry for is words.  Pages and pages of ’em.  Somebody has to write those words, and why not you?  So the good news is that there is a huge demand for online writing.

You knew there was bad news, right?  Well, here it is: some online writing is so poorly paid that you might as well work in a sweat shop or iron clothes for a living.  I’m not kidding. 

However, there are ways around the pesky matter of low pay, and I’ll tell you what I’ve learned about them we go along.  And, let me tell you right here, right now, there are also benefits that set a career writing online apart from a traditional freelance writing career.

I’ll talk about those benefits in the next post, when I look at the reality of a freelance writing career.  Where does the dream actually intersect with the reality?  Where does that fantasy bubble get burst?  Why focus on internet writing as opposed to traditional print media? 

Stay tuned.  And feel free to post questions or comments.

10 thoughts on “Make Money Writing Online, One–Freelancing: The Dream

  1. don Williams

    Well written, my curiosity has been peeked… keep em coming. By the time your finished, I expect to learn enough to make myself a million or two… give or take twenty-five-cents!

    I just walked past the local Mercedes dealership and by the time we’re finished I hope to drive out of there with my new S Class baby! (Hmmm, do I pick the red one or the silver one?)

    Hey, imagination is what everybody needs in the freelance writing business, isn’t it?

  2. Charlotte

    How about you choose the silver and I’ll choose the red? I have a fondness for red cars, and I think a red Mercedes would suit me nicely.

    Glad you are enjoying the series, and be sure to post questions if you have any.

  3. Jenn

    Howdy, I have been waiting for the big job to be a free lance writer. The closest I found at this moment in time is monetizing my blog. I tell people I am a freelancer so I suppose it is in the same kind of catergory. I too am always complaing about paypal. It seems like when you really need the money you never get it.

    I am really interested in what you have to say about this topic. Writing is my life and until I get that big break with my novel or at least a couple of short stories. I am definitly not happy working a regular job making crappy money and dealing with crappy people.
    See you

  4. Charlotte

    It’s been my experience, and you’ll see this as I get further along in this book, that the process of building a free-lance career is one of slow building–establishing some bread and butter jobs while waiting for the big payoff, too. (And I hear you on that–I’ve got a novel that needs to sell.)

    It never ceases to amaze me how all of us writers face the same issues, one way or another. If you write something on monetizing your blog, I’ll be the first one there. I need to learn more on that.

  5. Jenn

    I go through payperpost primarily. You can sign up by going to the site or looking for one those buttons on my posts “get paid to review my post” if you do that I get 7.50 and you get 15.00 what is great is that I love the work. I might not be making oodles of money but I am making something. I am a patient sort. There are other advertising companies that pay bloggers to post. If you need help let me know…

  6. Charlotte

    Thanks, Jenn, for the helpful information. I’ll check out the button on your blog.

  7. Janet

    I greatly admire all writers. I write well, but I have no plots. I create lovely descriptions and interesting characters but can’t think of anything for them to do. My skills lie mainly in the area of copy editing. I would really like to get into that on a freelance basis. I used to work at a publishing house in Nashville, but now live elsewhere with few job opportunities so I’m raising two toddlers full-time. Do you know of any websites where people advertise for copy editors?

  8. Charlotte

    Hi Janet–If you can write, create characters and good descriptions, you can make up a plot. Honest. It just takes practice. It is something you get better at as you do it. Here’s a hint: give your characters something they really, really want–and then a lot of obstacles to them achieving it.

    As for copy editing, I don’t know websites that list jobs for that solely, but the following sites all have editing and writing jobs. (I’ll go into them in more detail when we hit that chapter in the book.) Here’s a starter list:

    http://www.thegoldenpencil.com (subscribe to the free daily job lists on both these sites–I get tons of jobs this way)


    http://www.3chix.com (not so much for jobs but for info about freelancing).

    Hope this is helpful! Stay tuned for more on this subject.

  9. Kerry D. Friesen, M.D.

    I love this blog – and I’m not a writer. I’m just now discovering these archived posts and truly appreciate the information.
    To Charlotte, medical writers need copy editors. Oh to be able to communicate important health related ideas in a captivating way. That’s my mission.

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