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—you’ve probably got a lot of questions about how to earn well.
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"Make a Living Writing is the only blog I read religiously. It's always on top of the news and advice writers need RIGHT NOW to earn more from their writing." —Linda Formichelli, The Renegade Writer

5 Benefits of My Pro Writing Degree — That You Can Get Free

Get my pro writing degree lessons for FREE!Freelance writers often ask, “Should I get a writing degree?”

The answer is different for everyone. I hold a master’s degree in professional writing, but plenty of highly successful freelance writers don’t have a degree.

If you’ve got the time and money, there can be a lot of benefits to getting a writing degree — but you can also get some of them through experience.

My degree didn’t guarantee that I would have my pick of high-paying clients or even that my pitches would get accepted. But it did help me become a better writer.

The good news? You can get these benefits without a degree. Here are five benefits I got from my degree that you can get for free:

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Avoid Bad Freelance Advice With These Simple-But-Important Questions

Avoid bad freelance advice. Makealivingwriting.comHave you noticed that many people online would like you to pay them to teach you how to freelance — even though they just started doing it themselves? Yes, it’s spring, and bad freelance advice is in the air.

Maybe it’s because I recently hit 15 years as a freelancer (and about 10 years as a coach), but this is a trend that worries me. If you read a lot of new bloggers’ About pages, they often gush that they’re excited to be starting a freelance business…but 10 minutes later, they switch to teaching you how to do it. Before they really have time to succeed at freelancing.

Do you smell a rat? I do, too.

What raises my hackles here, as an advocate for fair writer treatment and pay, is that I’ve had a chance to check out a lot of the advice offered by newbies — and the quality of it ranges from marginally useful to wretchedly wrong-headed.

‘Follow along’ vs experienced expert

I recently heard newbie experts called “follow along with me” bloggers. As in, “Hey, I just started doing this, and you can watch and learn from my mistakes.”

There’s clearly something appealing about hearing from someone who’s essentially in your shoes. They’re so relatable!

It sounds innocuous — until you meet all the bankrupt people whose lives have been ruined by taking disastrously uninformed advice online.

I find myself regularly picking people up off the sidewalk who ended up living out of their car after they took some of this perky newbie advice (“Just get on UpWork!” is one of my favorite gems, from a ‘coach’ who began selling a course on freelancing the month she quit her day job).

For instance, I recently learned a writer-friend had hired a business coach — one who’d quit her own day job less than a year ago. How much does she really know about product launches, or running a successful online business? I’m betting it fits in a thimble.

Don’t know what you don’t know?

I think maybe some freelancers hire inexperienced coaches because they don’t realize how much these instant experts don’t know. Freelancing is a complex undertaking, and there’s a lot to know.

What might you miss if you’re ‘following along’ with a writer at your same level? Here’s a list of things I only learned after a decade of freelancing:

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Can’t Get Organized? Try These 5 Writing Productivity Breakthroughs

Try These Writing Productivity Breakthroughs. Makealivingwriting.comHave you been trying in vain to get more writing or freelance marketing done?

If you want to earn more as a freelancer, improving your writing productivity can be huge. I’ve recently coached two different writers who told me they doubled their income, just by getting more efficient with their work day.

Productivity gains can be truly transformative for your career.

But what if you’ve tried the apps, used the checklists, gotten up earlier…and still nothing? You spend much of the day in a fog, trying to get focused and take action.

I have a confession to make: Often, that used to be me.

Over the years, I’ve come up with some contrarian approaches to productivity out of necessity, as a staff writer who *had* to file 3-4 stories a week or lose my job.

If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, and it takes all day to get one tiny thing accomplished, I have five ideas for you to try out:

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Earn More Writing Online With These Easy Graphic-Creation Tips

How Writers Can Create Blog-Ready Graphics. Makealivingwriting.comOne of my goals as a freelance writer is to increase my monthly revenue and start building a sustainable income.

I’ve accomplished a lot since I started. My rates have gone way up. I’m getting better clients. And I’m always thinking creatively about maximizing profits.

One day I submitted an article to a client, who let me know it would run as soon as his designer finished creating an accompanying image. That got me thinking: Couldn’t I provide comprehensive services, with an article and a custom image, for a higher rate? It would save the client time and money and increase my rate — benefiting both of us.

There was just one problem: I don’t know much about graphic design and have zero access to the industry-standard — but expensive — software programs Photoshop and InDesign.

Here’s how I got past that obstacle and learned how to earn more by creating blog-ready graphics:

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Transform Your Freelance Marketing: 5 Things You’re Probably Getting Wrong

Transform your Freelance MarketingEvery week, I meet writers who are taking their first plunge into freelance marketing. Maybe they’ve grown tired of applying for UpWork gigs they don’t get, scanning Craigslist ads for hours, or of getting $10 a post from a content mill.

To me, this is an exciting moment, when writers realize they’re in business — and running a business means you do proactive marketing. Passively trolling online ads that are each going to get 1,000 responses isn’t your ticket to high earnings.

This is all good, but often, when you first start active marketing, it can be discouraging. Early results may not be stellar. There’s a decent bit to know to win at pitching your writing services.

While some writers make phone calls or do in-person networking, the majority send marketing or pitch emails. For publications, we send queries.

And most of these pitches don’t get results. Why? Here are my top five probable reasons freelance marketing is ineffective, based on my experience reviewing hundreds of pitch letters over the years:

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Earn Money Online: 92 Websites That Pay Writers $50+

Earn Money Online: 92 Websites that Pay Writers. Makealivingwriting.comTired of writing for pennies (or peanuts or whichever cliche for crappy pay you prefer) and ready to earn money online for real?

We’re tired of it, too. That’s why Carol started paying for posts a few years back — and why she upped her rates to $75+ last fall. And it’s why we update our list of sites that pay on a regular basis.

Below is the new-and-improved, early 2016 edition of Make a Living Writing’s list of websites that pay at least $50 per post.

What’s included — and not

Rather than linking to the list we published last fall, we’re posting a comprehensive and updated new list. We’ve added new markets we learned of in the past 6 months and removed sites that have categories of posts that are below $50. That’s our minimum.

In some cases, these sites keep it on the Q.T. exactly what they pay. We’re including markets where freelance writers in our network report they pay more than $50, in order to bring you the widest variety of paying markets possible.

We also removed sites that are not currently accepting pitches, which knocked a good portion of the writing-focused sites off. Sites where you only have a shot at earning $50 writing on spec, or based on traffic or ad clicks, are NOT included. This is a list of markets offering guaranteed pay only!

The list runs the gamut of topics, from parenting and knitting to business and writing, so there should be something here for everyone.

As always, we appreciate any corrections or additions — please post them in the comments. Here’s the list:

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