Everything you need to start freelance writing

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A complete nonfiction freelance writing course right here on Medium.

22 step-by-step lessons to help you get started on the road to freelance writing success. This complete beginner’s course covers all the basics you need to begin freelance writing, including how to find and write for the best-paying markets, how to develop your style, how to research, write, prepare, and submit articles, blog posts, and features, and how to set your fees and make sure you get paid on time. You’ll also learn about the practical, legal, and business sides of making a living as a freelance writer.

Completely free to Medium members. No catch, no added fee, no up-sell.

Start here.

Not a member yet? Sign up here (you’ll get unlimited access to this course and everything else published on Medium).


Ancestors, memory, and the universal power of storytelling

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One sweltering summer afternoon — when all sensible folks rest naked on their beds, shutters closed, ceiling fans whirring in concert with the incessant chirruping cicadas — you find me rummaging in the cartons crammed under my desk.

I can’t tell you why the impulse to go book hunting overtook…


In short, steal them!

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This sounds like terrible advice, right? Not only that, but most likely unethical, illegal, and likely to get you into a lot of trouble. But no, it’s none of those things. …


4 vital tips to optimize your chances of success

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For many freelance writers, especially those with a journalistic bent, getting a regular column in a local or national publication is the holy grail of their highest ambitions. Why? For one thing, it’s steady money, which is reason enough for most freelancers. For another, it’s one of the rare opportunities…


Pitching but not selling? Help is at hand!

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I’ve already published an in-depth article in The Writing Cooperative about getting started as a travel writer. So, why another one? In short, because while you should read the previous article if you’re sure already that you want to dive into travel writing — it’s a super-comprehensive how-to and you…


Unless you’re Muriel Spark, almost never with the first line

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Begin at the beginning?

If I asked you when does a novel begin, I might forgive you for furrowing your brow, rolling your eyes, and saying, “At the beginning, of course!” And, from the reader’s point of view, you’d be right. But from the writer’s perspective, it’s rarely the case.

Once you look into…


The beating heart of powerful, captivating fiction discovered

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Bad writing sells

With my market research hat on, I was trawling through book samples, reading the first chapter or two of top-selling genre fiction on sale at the major online retailers. I wanted to discover what these books have in common that makes them sell. …


Thousands of years of philosophy have achieved nothing; while in a couple hundred years, science has changed the world.

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Scientists vs. philosophers

There’s a certain sub-group of famous, publicly visible scientists — biologists Lewis Wolpert and Richard Dawkins, and physicists Neil de Grasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss, and the late Stephen Hawking among them — who’ve made no bones about the fact that they deride philosophy and philosophers.

Dawkins might make an exception…


How to get out of ‘poverty mentality’ and start making a decent living

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How much do you earn from writing? How much would you like to earn? And how much do you think you could earn? …


5 actionable back care tips for writers, backed by science

Sitting down for long periods and poor posture are among the common causes of back pain among writers. Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

Writing can be a serious pain in the… back. Many writers routinely suffer from back pain. Studies show that back pain is more common in women than men, but no-one is immune.

Over a decades-long writing career, I learned this lesson the hard way, often losing weeks of work and…

Austin Hackney

Austin is a professional writer/editor. He shares sensible advice for serious writers and odd diversions into science, philosophy, culture, and the arts. He/him

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