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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

Bidding on Elance: Here’s How Easily Freelancers Can Get Screwed

screw-1000pxFrom my very first blog post back in 2008, I’ve advocated that freelance writers avoid mass bidding sites such as oDesk and Elance.

This past week, I learned in an unexpected way just how easily freelancers can get ripped off doing writing work through impersonal, third-party platforms like Elance.

Because I got ripped off, big time.

Here’s how it happened…

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Top 3 Types of Retainer Gigs (and How Copywriters Can Get Them)

Freelance writer inks a retainer gig contractAs a marketer who hires and trains dozens of freelance writers every year, I’m a big fan of working with writers on retainer.

To me, they’re the true win-win.

As a writer, you get peace of mind knowing you have steady work (and a steady paycheck) month-after-month. And as a marketer, I save a ton of time on every project and typically get better results.

So, what are the best types of retainer gigs? In my experience, these three deals are the ones most often overlooked by writers. (Which means great opportunity for you!)

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Which Freelance Writing Tips Have Helped You Most?

Excited man with an answer to questionsSometimes it’s a little thing. Sometimes a huge mental shift. But at some point, every freelance writer gets a few pieces of advice that change everything.

For me, it was probably the first time I got an article killed — and the editor told me I was too close to the subject and had an obvious agenda.

It was the beginning of learning to be a journalist for me, and report all sides of a story fairly (no matter how I felt about the topic).

Then there was the writer friend who took my outrageously long first-ever feature article draft and showed me how to use active verbs to make my sentences less wordy. That was a game-changer, too.

It’s sort of unreal to me, but it’s been eight years (!) since I started this blog full of freelance writing advice. More than 700 posts are up.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make this blog even better in the future. I’m interested in learning more about what readers need to know — how I can help create more “aha” moments that lead to better writing income for you.

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7 Inspiring Posts For Fearful Freelance Writers

Scared freelance writerWhat’s holding you back from pitching editors?

Are you afraid you don’t have enough experience? That your ideas aren’t good enough? Editors won’t like your ideas or your writing?

Even if you get the assignment, do you worry you won’t have the chops to pull it off?

Or maybe there are just too many things you could write about — so you don’t end up pursuing any of them.

Whatever your fear block is, don’t worry — we’ve gathered a compendium of the most popular posts we’ve ever had here at Make a Living Writing on how to move past your freelancing fears:

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5 Simple Ways to Build Great Writer-Editor Relationships

Freelance writer has happy meeting with editorAs a writer and editor for more than 25 years, I’ve learned that one of the most important relationships you can cultivate is with your editor.

With a little time and attention to detail, not only will you earn their respect, but you’ll have a resource for ongoing work — as well as a reference for landing future work from other newspaper or magazine editors.

Here are five tips that can help writers build a strong writer-editor relationship:

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How I Got Magazine Writing Gigs From All 3 of My Dream Markets

Freelance writer dreams of great magazine writing gigsSince I became a freelance writer, most of my work has been in my favorite niche — the equine industry.

Along with web copy, newsletters, tweets and Facebook posts for trainers, big horse shows, and venues, I write articles and blogs for a few regional horse magazines.

But I had a few dream magazine writing jobs on my bucket list. My dream was to write for the biggies, the national horse magazines that all horse people know. Three topped my bucket list: The Chronicle of the Horse, Dressage Today, and the United States Dressage Federation’s Connection. They’re the Triple Crown of a dressage geek’s reading list.

Fast forward a couple of months, and I’ve now sold articles to all three magazines — within a 10-day period. How did I move them from bucket list to client list?

It was actually a simple process. I followed four basic steps.

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