How to Win a Free Year in the Freelance Writers Den

One year ago this week, Freelance Writers Den opened its doors.

It was scary times.

I had invested a ton of time and a not-insubstantial sum to create a community for freelance writers who needed expert advice.

I hoped it would be a place where other writers would also come together to support their efforts to get better-paying work.

I didn’t see anything out there like what I envisioned and what I was hearing writers needed.

Was I crazy? Did anybody really want this?

My fantasy was that maybe, as the years rolled on, the Den would slowly catch on and grow to my maximum imaginable size of oh, maybe 500 members.

I thought that would be amazing!

Turns out there was a need for a learning community for freelance writers…and I wasn’t crazy.

Membership will top 500 this summer.

And it’s not just the unexpectedly fast growth and the size of the membership that makes me say, “Wow.”

It’s the success stories. The writer who pitched five blog post ideas after getting some Den support…and got them all assigned at pro rates (watch for his guest post in the coming months).

Answering serious writers’ questions — more than 3,000 of them so far — and watching writers get it, and go right out and get hired, for living wage writing gigs.

Bottom line: The Other Den Mother — Linda Formichelli of The Renegade Writer blog — and I are thrilled beyond belief that we’ve been able to create something that’s so darn useful to freelance writers.

We want to say “thanks”…

To celebrate the Den’s 1-year anniversary, some new features are coming to the Den.

  • First off is transcripts of all our live events going forward. We’ve been doing some, but now it’ll be standard. That’s a feature many writers asked me for, and now it’s here.
  •  Shortly, ebook versions of some of our bootcamps will be making their way into the Den as free member perks, too. (They’ll turn up on Amazon for nonmembers.)
  • We’re also in the process of making the whole site mobile-enabled so events can be viewed from your smartphone.
  • New and expanded orientation videos to make it easier for new members to get the most from the Den.
  • As we expand, we will keep adding expertise. Recently, I brought John Soares of Productive Writers on as another expert in residence. Expect more announcements as we grow.

So we’re having a contest

We’re having a contest that starts today and ends July 31st. Grand prize — Linda and I are each going to give out one free year’s stay in Freelance Writer’s Den, along with a whole mentoring package designed to kick your career into high gear.

We know that times are tough out there still for many writers, and want to offer an opportunity for those who haven’t been able to afford the Den to get in there.

To enter, here’s all you do:

  • Do a post on your blog about why you should win a free year in Freelance Writers Den. What would you do with all those resources? What are your goals? What’s been holding you back? (Financial sob stories will not win you points — tell us about your writing journey.)
  • Come back here and share your headline in the comments of this post, with a link to your post so we’re sure to check it out.
  • Spread the word about your post in social media. Social sharing volume will be a factor (but not the whole deal) in our judging.

Linda and I will each pick a winner and announce them on our blogs August 1.

What-all can you win? All together, it’s a package that you’d otherwise pay more than $500 for, but you could nab it all here with some standout creative writing.

The prize deets:

1st Place Winners (2) will get:

1st Runner up:

  • 1 month free in Freelance Writers Den
  • Blast-Off Class Audit
  • The J-School Audit
  • Admission to Linda’s Basic level of Write for Magazines
  • Linda’s and Carol’s ebooks

2nd Runner up:

  • 1 month free in Freelance Writers Den
  • Linda’s and Carol’s ebooks

3rd Runner up:

  • 1 month free in Freelance Writers Den

Best of luck, writers! Don’t forget to come on back and leave us your post link.

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71 comments on “How to Win a Free Year in the Freelance Writers Den
  1. Anita Petts says:

    Here is my entry. It’s also my very first blog! Win or lose, this is a step in the right direction.

    Check out “The First Step” at

  2. Lisa Gilbert says:

    Why I need to win Freelance Writers Den.

    Please pick me. I could really use the mentoring session. Plus, I need help with my website.
    Lisa Gilbert recently posted…Why I Need To Win Freelance Writers DenMy Profile

  3. Although I am have waited until exactly the last day I am entering the contest if not too late! =) is the link to my post and I must say I am excited that I had the courage to enter even if I don’t win. Not only the courage, but that I DID it! LOL WOW!
    SheaSheaSharee recently posted…A Contest…What the Heck…My Profile

  4. pragya says:


    Here is my entry.

    Looking forward to results. 🙂

    Thanks and Regards,
    pragya recently posted…I Write for My Freedom and Happiness!My Profile

  5. Hello Ladies!

    I just this second got home from a travel writing assignment, I literally finished my post on the plane. Hope I’m not too late:)

    Her is my entry:

    At any rate, thank you for the opportunity and good luck to the other contestants!
    Jessica Benavides Canepa recently posted…How to Create Your Own Press Trip OpportunitiesMy Profile

  6. Uli says:

    I’m a late starter. I mean, I’ve known since third grade what I wanted to be when I grew up. Musing in Miss Christman’s class, with its baby-blue walls and giant windows tilted open into the sun, I wrote “Writer” on the list she’d ask us to compile.

    But I’ve been in denial about that ever since. I resisted what I’d written down in that classroom, even as I always carried a pen with me to record my thoughts — on scraps of paper, bar napkins, restaurant placemats. I mean, how on earth does one become a — cue heavenly chorus — “Writer”? I sure didn’t know.

    So I worked in mental health, tended bar in Manhattan, and even went to law school –- all great sources of material, true, but all ways of hiding from what I had known since I was eight. Even as I realized that it was only by virtue of a kick-ass admission essay that I got into a respectable law school. Yet, somehow, even a legal career seemed . . . easier. Well, better defined, at least. A fixed path, with signposts and mile markers, and wow — one hell of a toll. I just didn’t now how to do it, that writing business.

    Fast-forward fifteen years. I was writing more in my spare time, and not just when the urge hit me. Taking classes, too. And then I stumbled onto the Freelance Writer’s Den. More like tumbled into, for the change it wrought, like I’d hit my head on the way in and suddenly I’m seeing things in better focus. In the last few months, thanks to Den classes and excellent forum advice, I’ve been compiling story ideas, analyzing markets, and even sent out my first pitch! More importantly, I feel like I’ve stopped running circles around my childhood aspiration, and finally know what the next steps are.

    But I’ve got some serious catching up to do! I aim to get my first clip before the end of this year, and have started on pitches for seasonal pieces for 2013. I’m scared, true, but I know that if there’s anything I don’t understand or can’t figure out, the resources of the Den are there to help.

    Oh, the places I can go, now that my internal GPS has stopped “recalculating” and is finally pointing me in the right direction. Thanks, Carol and Linda!

  7. Hi Den,

    I am submitting my entry. Thank you for the opportunity!
    Megha Subramanian recently posted…Part of the net generation but still ‘untouched’!My Profile

  8. Alana says:

    Thank you so much for offering this opportunity! My entry is linked below…

    How 75 Cents Won Me a Spot in The Writer’s Den

    …the power of positive thinking…(wink wink)
    Alana recently posted…How 75 Cents Won Me a Spot in The Writer’s DenMy Profile

  9. Peter Yankey says:


    I want to do freelance writing. I did graduate studies in Journalism; but freelance writing was not specifically on the programme. So even as I do great writing – news stories, features, press releases, news commentaries etc – as well as edit and proofread texts so well, I have little knowledge in freelance writing.

    Besides, I have been in government service ever since. My journalistic work has thus been mostly anonymous. I am not on my own; and I have always worked as part of a team. What salary I take appears routine. I don’t fully feel it as the real worth of my efforts. Freelance writing will give me that feeling of personal worth, as I receive the rewards of my solo efforts.

    A year spent in your Writers Den will then mean a great deal. With the resources available, I will get the training and confidence I need to set out strongly in the field. Linda’s and Carol’s books, for instance, will give me the needed tuition. How to network and sell my work are techniques I will appreciate indeed.

    But I am retiring from work soon, and I need to prepare the future now. Two things I plan to do along with freelance writing, are teach Journalism, and publish a news magazine. The Den’s resources, such as Linda’s Write for Magazines e-course, will help me meet the challenges involved. I can envision the mass of students who stand to benefit from the training the Den gives me. And we can take pleasure from the thousands of readers who will enjoy the worth of the Den’s training.

    Three factors have prevented me entering the Den to date. First, I just discovered the Den. Second, membership was closed then. And third, I couldn’t see how to pay the membership fee. My country, Ghana, has just begun using visa cards to transfer money outside. Even so, only a few banks are doing it, and you need to be a customer. Other transfer methods aren’t so accessible. If for instance, you have to use an international cheque from your bank, you need to have a foreign account.

    A free year in the Freelance Writers Den will mean a lot to me. It will bring me great satisfaction as a journalist, and help build a future that will profit others.

  10. “I hope you never plan on a writing career.” Those words draped a pall over me for more years than I care to admit. My senior Enlgish teacher had just ripped apart my creative writing as well as my heart. Coming from a long line of newspaper editors and journalists, I had dreams of writing, nothing big, but something that would delight another. I buried my dream and didn’t think of it again.
    Years later I began teaching writing to 5th graders who despised the emotional and physical aspect of writing – pushing that pencil can really build a calluse. Throughout those years, I learned my craft from the inside out and built hope and promise in hundreds of kids. I never forgot my teacher’s words which made me determined to teach kids the love of writing.
    Somehow the word got around that I could write and I found myself on the wrong end of letters to parents, newspaper articles, reviews, dissertations…all for teachers who hadn’t learned to write well and suffered from the writing malaise that can be deadly. My own personal dissertation won a commendation for the beauty and flow of the writing. It seemed I was finally getting on the writing tract. Now, I still teach writing and 5th graders and long for a chance to write professionally. There is much I need to learn and I am chomping at the bit to learn it. Thanks so much for the opportunity to put my name in the hat.

  11. Here is my entry into the competition. It truly says how I feel. I don’t use a lot of words to decribe how I feel, but this is to the point.

  12. Thank you for holding this contest. It is a great opportunity and I am happily submitting my entry below.

    “Inspired by Kerri Strug (Also, my entry into The Freelance Writers Den contest)”

    Thank you for your consideration!

    ~Courtney McSwain
    Courtney McSwain recently posted…Inspired by Kerri StrugMy Profile

  13. Lynn Jarrett says:

    I posted this comment above as a reply to a previous comment and was not sure if it would be considered so I am submitting it as a comment now.

    Lynn Jarrett says:

    July 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Following is my entry to win the free year in the Freelance Writers Den:

    I have been fortunate throughout my life to have walked many paths and would like to have the opportunity to enhance my ability to memorialize some of these events through writing. I have reached a point in my life where recording and sharing some of life’s events is important to me.

    Late last year I retired with over 14 years in state government. Now that I have some free time, I would like to further my writing career. I have been writing in spurts on and off for years by journaling, writing essays, theme papers, and “newsy e-mail messages” to family and friends before blogging was big, and more recently, grant writing. While all of these styles of writing are different, I keep coming back to writing about life experiences in the “newsy e-mail messages.”

    I was a volunteer firefighter for 2 months shy of 19 years. I rose from an inexperienced firefighter to an Assistant Fire Chief. In my fire department, I was the first female firefighter, then the first female officer, and finally, the first female Assistant Fire Chief. Like I did then, what I lack in experience in writing, I make up in tenacity. I have a lot to offer the world in life experiences and can do so with the mentoring and expertise opportunities provided by the Freelance Writers Den. I have always wanted to start a blog and feel that with assistance from the Freelance Writers Den, it is not out of my reach.

    I understand the Freelance Writers Den has been closed to new members. I have been on the waiting list for membership and was very fortunate to have been able to listen in on a couple of webinars recently. The “How to Avoid the 12 Biggest Mistakes of Freelance Writers and Earn Big” webinar on June 28, 2012 was VERY beneficial. I took four pages of notes during the webinar and just could not write fast enough. After the webinar, I was so energized and felt this is indeed something I can do!

    I need analysis of my writing skills and critique of my work product. I joined a couple of writing groups. One group is not quite what I expected or needed, and the other may hold potential if the meetings do not keep getting canceled. I subscribe to every e-mail list for writers I come across. I have taken one writing class online and am currently enrolled in another one. I would like to make freelance writing my next career and feel by being a member of the Freelance Writers Den, it would be a great benefit and the mentoring telephone call would be a valuable learning experience. Winning the first place prize being offered would be a wonderful opportunity and a definite boost to my writing career.

    I would like to close by saying that I really would like to win the first prize for a free year in the Freelance Writers Den and the other specials. No matter what the outcome, I truly appreciate being considered for any of the prizes. Thank you for this golden opportunity!

  14. I’m in!

    “Winning a Free Year”

    Thanks for the opportunity, Carol!
    Kasie Whitener recently posted…Winning a Free YearMy Profile

  15. Joyce says:

    I have finally submitted a post for the contest. I was so excited about this opportunity and I wanted my post to reflect that.

  16. Glen Brown says:

    Here’s my headline and link. Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my blogging!

    “How The Freelance Writer’s Den Breathed Life Into A Musician’s Den”

    – Glen Brown, Hamilton, Ontario
    Glen Brown recently posted…A Drummer Who Can Write?My Profile

  17. Hi Carol,
    Thanks for your blog. I’ve learned a lot in the short time I’ve been reading it. I’m just starting a journey into the world of writing, and find your perspective and insight valuable.

    Unlike many of the others who’ve submitted, I’m just learning how much I enjoy writing and want to give myself the best shot at successfully navigating this new (to me) world.

    Have a great week!
    Jake Woldstad recently posted…Horizons Without LimitsMy Profile

  18. Tom Bentley says:

    Hi Carol and Linda. Here’s my entry:

    Thanks for this opportunity, and all the good info you’ve given to writers over time.
    Tom Bentley recently posted…The Year of Magical WritingMy Profile

  19. Joe Dyton says:

    Hi Carol,

    Great contest idea. The link to my entry is below. Thank you for your consideration.

    “Looking for the Right Combination”

  20. Anabelle says:

    Hi Carol and Linda!

    Here’s my entry for the contest 🙂
    Anabelle recently posted…Live to Write, Write to LiveMy Profile

  21. Bri says:

    Hi! What a great contest, and thanks for giving so many writers the opportunity! My entry here:

  22. Kinya says:

    Here’s my entry:

    Thanks for holding this contest Carol and Linda. It gave me a bit of excitement while I’m trying to get over this virus. 🙂

  23. I just discovered your site yesterday. I am so glad that I did. Here is my post for the contest:
    Can a mother still dream (that means you too)?

    I have also promoted on Facebook and Twitter.

    Thanks for your consideration and Happy Anniversary!
    Nicole Robinson recently posted…Pregnant for the First Time (again)My Profile

  24. Okay, here’s my shot at the title:
    Rob Schneider recently posted…How to Get a Free Year in the Freelance Writers Den (if I don’t)My Profile

  25. I’m a senior, studying magazine journalism, at one of the two accredited colleges in my home state and I feel like I’ve wasted three years in school. Our professors tend to be much better writers than teachers. Some of them seem to be terrified that we’ll succeed better than they have and so they offer very little instruction or help.

    After the last session of my online writing class this past spring, I went home and bawled for a good hour. “Am I doing the wrong thing, going into journalism?” I asked my boyfriend between sobs.

    This bitter, though very much employed, journalist who taught the class had beaten me down so hard, and for 15 excruciatingly long weeks, that I seriously doubted I could do the one thing in life that I want to do. And I’m a student with chutzpah and follow-through. A year ago, I started my own online magazine, M.L.T.S., which publishes lifestyle, education and careers content for other ambitious young women in college. Since then, I’ve been profiled in NextGen Journal, My Campus Philly, Her Campus, and The Huffington Post! When I interviewed Lori Wilson, a news anchor, for the second issue of my magazine and asked her what advice she had for aspiring journalists, she replied, “For you? Nothing. You’re doing everything right.”

    But here I was, after those accolades and the successes I’ve already achieved, feeling like I might as well give up and become a housewife.

    Very few of my classes have been much better than this experience.

    My goal, my dream, is to really boost my freelance career over the next year so that by the time I graduate from traditional j-school, I can avoid getting a day job and work with the freedom that my stubborn, independent nature requires.

    I would be thrilled to win entry into the Freelance Writers Den, phone mentoring with Carol and Linda, access to your various courses, and your ebooks, because I know that they would give me the confidence boost — and the boost in skills — that I need to be able to achieve my goals. With guidance from others who are doing what I hope to excel at, I know I can do it. That’s why I hope you’ll pick me as a 1st Place Winner.

    Thank you so much for this chance!

    Rosella E. LaFevre recently posted…In Memory of Jessica Ghawi Redfield and Other Aurora Shooting VictimsMy Profile

  26. Trina says:

    Thanks for the chance to do this Carol, it was certainly the inspiration I needed!

    Trina recently posted…Toolboxes and Futures – The Freelance Writers Den ContestMy Profile

  27. Lynn Jarrett says:

    I do not have a blog and plan to post my entry here. How do I “promote this post for social-media credit”? Sorry to sound like such a dumb person.

    Thank you for your assistance.

  28. Thank you so much for the opportunity!! Here is the link to my post:
    Good luck to everyone! Blessings, Terri
    Teresa Brewer recently posted…Why I Should Win The Freelance Writer’s Den Contest!My Profile

  29. Joanna says:

    I’m a relatively new reader, but I took the plunge and wrote an entry…

    • Carol Tice says:

      That’s the spirit, Joanna! There’s no entry requirement as far as how long you’ve been writing, or reading this blog, or anything. If you want in the Den, please enter this contest.

  30. Please check out the interview between Self, host of Me, Myself, and I, and Taylor Stonely at the following link:

    I shared this with my Facebook friends and family at:

    I also shared this with my Google + friends and followers at:
    Taylor Stonely recently posted…Freelance Writers Den ContestMy Profile

  31. Hi there,

    This is a great contest idea!
    I just posted: 3 Ways Winning a Yearlong Scholarship to the Freelance Writers Den Will Help Make Me a Better Writer

    I also shared the link on my Twitter account and my FaceBook account.
    Bree Normandin recently posted…3 Ways Winning a Yearlong Scholarship to the Freelance Writer’s Den Will Help Make Me a Better WriterMy Profile

  32. Carol Tice says:

    I hope everyone is checking out the first crop of entries here…there is some great stuff. Don’t forget to RT your favorite post to help Linda and me pick the winners next week!

  33. Heiddi says:

    Hiya Carol,

    I just wanted to let you know that I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring for the contest. Here’s my contribution. Hope you like it!

    “Why should I win a Year in Freelance Writer’s Den?”

  34. Anita says:

    Congrats on your success with the Den. It’s a great reminder of how much one can do with a clear goal and plenty of determination.
    Anita recently posted…failures and successes in teaching thankfulnessMy Profile

  35. I found a way to make it work for my blog!

    My post, A Contest for Writers, is found here:

    Holding my breath…
    Carol J. Alexander recently posted…A Contest for WritersMy Profile

  36. Erin says:

    Awesome prize. I don’t have a writer blog, so I will share this on Facebook. Thank you!

  37. Carol Tice says:

    Just want to say…there are some real nice entries here already. So people who want this should bring their “A” game!
    Carol Tice recently posted…Writers: Should You Nag That Editor About Your Query?My Profile

  38. Laura Talley says:

    Here is my entry! Thanks for this contest! It rocks!
    Laura Talley recently posted…A Writer’s Life for MeMy Profile

  39. Wendy says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to apply for this free membership. I look forward to hearing from you, and wish other entrants the best of luck!

    Wendy recently posted…Wanted: Professional Help or Why I want to win a free membership to The Writers’ DenMy Profile

  40. Glori Surban says:

    Hello Carol!

    I wrote an entry for your contest! I hope you’ll enjoy it!

    *Fingers crossed*
    Glori Surban recently posted…This Introvert Wants to Enter the DenMy Profile

  41. Lynette says:

    Hey Den! I wrote a post for the contest on my newish blog. My readers (1) love it. Hope you do too!

    Lynette recently posted…Win with ADD and Freelance Writers DenMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Thanks for entering — I was considering retweeting your entry myself, but couldn’t figure out how! Perhaps time to pop in that ShareThis or AddtoAny plugin to help your chances…?

  42. Peggy says:

    Hi Carol,

    I don’t have a blog, is there another way for me to enter?



    • Carol Tice says:

      Conferred with Linda on this, and here’s what we decided, Peggy:

      To enter without a blog, submit your entry in the comments here, and then promote this post for social-media credit. That should work for anyone who does not have a blog, I think.

  43. Barb Rees says:

    I’ve posted the contest entry “Raise the Bar” on my site

    Just writing my reasons for winning inspired me to get back to work this summer.

  44. Liesa Malik says:

    What a great contest idea! Although I don’t feel ready to enter it this year, I hope by next summer, I’ll be a “regular” and be more involved. Then, maybe one of my blog posts will qualify for whatever recognition you might be offering then.

    Keep going! Yours is one of those blogs I try to read regularly, and am always happy I have.

    Liesa Malik recently posted…Daisy Update for July 20 – Recommitted to Sliced VegetarianMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Liesa —

      But the Den is all about helping you feel ready to get out there and market your writing…I say create an entry post now and get on in there, rather than waiting for some future time when you might feel more ‘ready.’

      I always say be a writer, not a waiter…

  45. holly says:

    I have submitted a contest entry for your consideration.

    Making a Living Writing: A Detour from the Usual Posts

    • Carol Tice says:

      Woo-hoo! Congrats on being first out of the block with it, Holly…now off to check it out 😉

      And now I’m back to say…1st prize is a whole YEAR in the Den, Holly…not just one month!

      I love your idea of the Den being like freelance-writing grad school. Having just mentored someone with a creative-writing B.A. that seems to have proven all but useless in preparing her to actually earn money in her chosen field of writing, I think you may be on to something! That could make a good Den tagline, “Grad school for freelance writers.”

  46. Lisa Baker says:

    Can I enter if I’m already a den member? I would love love love to win those other resources.

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  10. […] more information on the contest, click here. To give me a hand in the running, share this post! Share […]

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