Your 10 Favorite Posts of the Year About Freelance Writing & Blogging

Carol Tice

Top 10As I start a new year with this blog, I always have one question on my mind — what do readers ofย  Make a Living Writing need to know most?

One way I’m finding out is with my subscriber survey (I emailed you secret intel on the results yesterday, subscribers).

The other way is to take a look at my traffic data from the past year and determine the most-read new posts that went up in 2013. I always get interesting insights from looking at my best-of list.

I like to share that list here on the blog, because new subscribers may not have seen all those posts on the first go-round.

Here’s the list of the most popular posts of 2013:

  1. 100+ Websites That Pay Writers — OK, no shocker here — writers would like to know about paying markets! If you haven’t checked this list in a bit, you might want to check it out again, as there have been a few additions and updates.
  2. Can You Really Earn a Living as a Freelance Writer? — Apparently this question is uppermost in many minds. Check out our lively discussion of whether anyone is really earning a living freelancing or if it’s all bunk.
  3. 5 Reasons Why Demand Studios Only Pays Writers Peanuts — and Won’t Change — Providing analysis of what content mills are doing and how that space is changing is both popular around here, and in my view, a public service. My background as a business reporter has allowed me to delve into what’s going on behind the scenes, now that Demand’s parent company is publicly traded and has to disclose the gory details about how they’re failing.
  4. The Truth About How Much Freelance Writers Make — This post features links to several resources with data on actual professional rates for a wide variety of writing gigs, as well as a checklist of questions to help determine what you should charge.
  5. 3 Simple Ways to Find Better-Paying Freelance Writing Jobs — I’m definitely sensing a theme here. This one’s got tips on some basic changes to make to your marketing that will set you on course to find better clients.
  6. The New Freelance Writer’s Quick-and-Simple Guide to Getting Started — About half of readers here are brand-new to either writing or freelancing, so I thought it’d be useful to put together a basic nuts-and-bolts post of how you start building a portfolio and getting paying clients. Apparently, you agree. Stay tuned for more focused new-writer help coming in 2014.
  7. The Essential Item You Need for Freelance Success That No One Dares Name — I burst a few bubbles with this post and possibly angered some wannabe writers, but it needed to happen. Give it a read and see if you’ve got what it takes.
  8. 7 Simple Fixes for the Writing Mistakes That Brand You an Amateur — When I first started this blog, I think I didn’t devote enough time to discussing the craft of writing. But many readers are looking for tips to hone their writing abilities. Expect more in this department this year.
  9. The Reality of Writing for Content Mills — 14 Writers’ True Stories — This one gives you a slice of content mill life from writers who’ve done it. The ever-changing rules, the random banishments, the inscrutable editors, the embarrassingly skimpy paychecks…it’s all here, straight from the horses’ mouths.
  10. Why Would Anyone Pay $100 for a Blog Post? — Enlightenment on why some websites pay a lot more to pro bloggers. Useful stuff for writers who have only seen offers for paid blogging pay $1-$20 a post.

You might notice that this list differs a lot from my popular posts sidebar you see on the right. Why is that? The sidebar is a list of the most popular posts of all time, since this blog started in 2008.

One interesting thing I notice is with the exception of the content mill post that is like a 14-writer guest post collaboration, there are no guest posts on this year’s top-10 list. That’s a change from the 2012 list, where three of the top ten were guests. Guess I’ll have to be pickier than ever on the guest posts I approve.

What was your favorite recent post about freelance writing? Feel free to put ONE link in your comment — more than that will send you to my spam.


  1. Daryl

    Just one link? You’re killing me here Carol!

    Anyway, my favorite post for the year I would say is Copyblogger’s 10 Productivity Tips from a Blue-Collr Genius –

    Running close behind would be “Why You Should Step the F*ck Up to be a Freelance Blogger” from Be a Freelance Blogger

    My favorite Make a Living post was “Watch Me Write a Headline That Goes Viral”

  2. Jennifer

    I really liked the one about the Truth About How Much Freelance Writers Really Make. I found the comments on that one very interesting. And I think that the key to making a great income (I made 60K last year working 25 hours a week and only working 10 hours a week for about 2 months) is how bad you want it not as much how great a writer you are. I had a writer tell me that they had sent out a lot of LOI’s in the past six months and weren’t getting any nibbles. I asked how many and she said 25-30 TOTAL. I told her that she needed to be sending out that many a week, AT THE MINIMUM. I am more and more convinced that beyond a base level of good writing ability, the difference between high earners and low earners is persistence not writing ability.

    • Carol Tice

      So true…most writers don’t understand the volume of marketing you should be doing.

      And also, if you send 30 LOIs and get no nibbles…it’s time to learn more about how to write LOIs.

  3. Willi Morris

    I don’t know what it is about round-up posts. LOVE THEM! I have never done one myself, and I have no clue as to why. Can’t wait to re-read this. Darn, my WoW one didn’t make the cut! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Michael Devaney

    I thought #3 and #9 (related themes) were the most interesting.

    Number 3 was a boots-on-the-ground, investigative/journalism story. Not something you could write on a lazy afternoon.

    Number 9 was a true life, behind-the-scenes expose. It reminded me of watching “Intervention.” Seeing what others have gone through (like the TV show) is the best reason to not get involved (w drugs or content mills!).

  5. Penelope Silvers

    As a published Kindle author, I’m also looking into the freelance writing market. I love suggestion #5. Why mess around with the small guppies when you can go straight to the King Salmon? Thanks for this wonderful list, Carol!

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