Over the years I've learned a lot--mostly thanks to my own mistakes! Truly, other writers with far more knowledge than me have generously shared what they've learned. And now I'd like to share these Top Ten Tips for Freelance Writers with you:


  • Build relationships: Building relationships with editors can’t be stressed enough. Don’t just reach out to them when you have a pitch. Shoot them an email whenever you hear of an intriguing story that might be a fit for their publication.
  • Get it in Writing: I had to learn this lesson several times! Before you begin a project, get it in writing. 'Nuff said.
  • Develop a Niche: When you decide to start your freelance writing business, whether you opt to write for magazines, ad agencies, websites, businesses or any other outlet, have an area of expertise. You can have more than one. Think about the kinds of writing you like to do, your hobbies and your education. Where do they come together? Do you know all there is to know about building model cars? Do you live a truly vegan lifestyle? Research and find magazines, online outlets, and websites that cover these topics.
  • It's Okay to Negotiate: You can negotiate the rate if you don’t think it will work out to a decent amount on an hourly basis. You can negotiate the deadline if you have too much on your plate already. You can negotiate rights if they ask you to sign a work for hire agreement. And if you’re not happy with what you’re offered after negotiating, you can walk away.
  • Listen to the client: Really listen. People have become "interrupters"! Real listening is rare. Let the client talk until they’re finished without interrupting.
  • It is NOT personal! It is very hard sometimes when an article, idea, proposal or query is turned down. We just need to remember that those are not personal attacks on us.
  • Don't Accept a Job Out of Fear: Don’t waste time on assignments that pay practically nothing and that strangle the soul. I was sure I couldn’t survive without my income from content mills, but the truth is when I stopped writing for the mills, I had more time to seek out better-paying assignments. My income hasn’t suffered at all, and my confidence in myself as a writer has improved 100%.
  • Plan Your Week: Make a writing plan for the week on Sunday and then you have a daily task list to follow for success everyday.
  • Treat Your Writing as a Business: If you want to become an actual, self-supporting freelance writer with a comfortable income it is vital that you treat your writing as a business. That means having a schedule you stick to, marketing yourself to find new clients/media outlets, having a budget, paying your taxes, and above and beyond all else: serving the customer.
  • Make Connections. Freelance writing can be a lonely business. You're on your own almost all the time. Join writers' groups, take a class, do what you need to do to fill that need for human contact that so many of us crave.

Top Ten Tips for Freelancers

Let's talk about your next project. Contact me at 714-366-3152, kim@kimhamanwriter.com or use the contact form on this website