Writing my own novel can be great but at the moment it doesn’t pay anything. That’s why I choose to also do freelance writing work. It is a great way to earn money, with the amount usually depending on the size of the job you go for. It has also been brilliant for my own writing as I have taken on writing tasks I would never have considered going near in my own writing.

My freelance website of choice is Upwork. I started using it last June and found work quickly. Looking back at my first job, I marvel at how insane it was. The client wanted two 10,000 word e-books written in three days. This was my first job and I was eager to please so I did it. I can’t really go into detail about how I managed to get it done, in such a short space of time, because it is all a blur. I was paid $70 (Upwork pays in US dollars) for both pieces, if you work out what that breaks down to as an hourly rate, please don’t tell me! This was the first time that I had ever been paid for my writing and it felt amazing.

The best way to be successful on a site like Upwork is to take it as seriously as a CV. When you sign up you will be asked to create a profile. This will consist of;

  • Employment history
  • Educational background
  • Level of expertise in your chosen field.

One thing to remember about these freelancing sites is that you are competing for jobs with people from around the world. You need to come across as professional and serious about your work, or you will be looked over for someone who has put the effort in.

Be Specific With Your Search

When looking for jobs think about what kind of work you’re really looking for. I had just come back from two years of travelling when I first started looking, so I focused on travel writing, which is how I wound up writing a 10,000 word e-book on great places to live and work around the world.

At the moment, my interests lean more towards lifestyle subjects such as fashion, fitness, home, travel and pets, so I have been searching for jobs like these.

Tips for writing a proposal.

Upwork gives you a certain number of proposals a month and you will use up a couple of these every time you apply for a job.

Most jobs on Upwork will give an outline of what the job entails. If you’re interested you can then apply for the job.

Remember how I said that there are people from all over the world applying for the same job? Well this means that your potential new client is receiving hundreds of replies to their job post.

How to stand out;

  • Make sure you read the whole of the job. One client asked that I start my proposal with the word ‘potato’ so he could be sure that I had read the whole of the job listing.


  • Always tailor your response to the job. Sure, you can have some key information about yourself that you paste into your proposal but make sure you reference some detail of the job listing to show you have taken the time to read it.


  • Have work ready to attach to your proposal as examples. Even if you are just starting out, you will need to have at least one piece you can show. When I first started out and was asked for examples of my writing I attached a short story I had entered into a competition. The client is just looking for confirmation that you can do what they need you to do.


Take your time looking through the jobs. There are so many fun and varied jobs to be had. I have written about travel, guides for getting in contact with editors, chick-lit short stories, and questioned whether certain South Korean tv stars have had plastic surgery.

It can be a lot of fun and open up a whole new side to your skill base.

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