Readers’ 2015 Picks: Most Useful Posts for Freelance Writers & Bloggers

Carol Tice

Top 10 Most Useful Posts for Freelance Writers & Bloggers - Makealivingwriting.comNeed a shot of freelance writing knowledge to start the New Year off right? I’ve got it for you right here — our annual list of the most popular new posts that went up this year here on Make a Living Writing!

That’s right, many of the all-time most populars you see over in the sidebar from past years are out of the running for this fresh list.

Winners here must have been published for the first time in 2015.

You, my awesome blog readers, voted for these by coming and reading them.

The posts that got the most traffic clearly had the most compelling topics, and are ranked below in order of the views they got.

These are your choices for what you thought were the most helpful posts this blog put out in the past year for freelance writers and bloggers. A big thank-you to you for being a reader!

Without further ado, here are your picks for 2015’s top 10 best posts:

  1. Websites That Pay Writers 2015: These 79 Websites Offer $50 and Up by Jennifer Roland — This one’s coming up on 30,000 readers to date! And reminds me that the top thing I can do around here to make myself useful is provide job leads. Which is why we’re laying plans to present market lists more often in 2016.
  2. Writing an Article Vs. Writing a Blog Post: What’s the Difference? by Carol Tice — The raging debate over what makes an article different from a blog post, and how to charge for each as these two forms increasingly converge, made this a lively topic.
  3. Think You Can’t Earn $100 an Hour on UpWork? This Writer Does by Megan Williams — While I spend most of my time warning people away from sites like this, clearly, success tips for profiting from the bid sites are appreciated.

  1. How One Freelance Writer Made $11K in Her First Two Months by Jane Callahan — Tales of exactly how to have a rapid ramp-up to earning well have always been popular around here, and this guest post proves that out.
  2. Want to be a Six-Figure Freelancer? Here’s What That’s Really Like by Carol Tice — Writers do love a peek behind the curtain at the ups and downs of the lifestyle they fantasize about, hm? Even if what they see there isn’t so glamorous.
  3. How a $5 Article Writer Landed a $900 Article by Thomas Hill — Like rapid launches, descriptions of how to make the leap from low-earning to high-earning writer are always a hit.
  4. One Writer’s Crazy Quest to Earn Six Figures Working Part Time by Elizabeth Haynes — Productivity topics are ever-popular on my blog, and this guest post had that part-time twist going for it. Work less, earn more = always a formula for a popular post.
  5. One Shy Writer’s Lazy LinkedIn Strategy for Landing Great Freelance Clients by Amy Dunn Muscoso — Social media topics have been consistently popular since the day I launched this blog, and Amy’s guester adds the ‘this is easy’ angle for the win.
  6. Here’s What the Six Figure Writers are Doing That You’re Not by Carol Tice — This post, which included a free download PDF of my Den 2X Income Accelerator Road Map, laid out what big-earning writers do differently from the masses of starving writers. (If you’re wondering, I’m launching a new Den 2X mastermind is starting up in January–apply now if you’re earning at least $20K from writing and you’d like to double that! I’ve only got about 5 remaining spots.)
  7. 4 Freelance Bloggers Tell How They Earn $200+ Per Post by Jennifer Roland — Along with good-paying market listings, how to earn more at blogging is another popular staple topic.

I always enjoy looking this over because it gives me reminders about what’s most important to my awesome subscribers, and what I should cook up *more* posts about in the coming year. My takeaways this time:

  • Earning big. Three of the top 10 have the phrase ‘Six Figures’ in the headline. Earning serious money from writing is a major theme we’ll continue to explore.
  • Earning more from major online platforms is definitely of interest (despite my warnings!), so expect more on this next year, including a charticle roundup or two comparing different sites.
  • Productivity — writers always need to get faster.
  • Making the leap from day job to freelancer, or ramping up a freelance business fast, is of interest to the roughly half my audience that are aspiring or brand-new freelancers.
  • Social media is suck a time suck that everyone wants to know how to use effectively and efficiently to get good-paying gigs. I’m always on the hunt for guest posts in this space (hint, hint!).
  • Guest posts rock. Paying more for guest posts and curating them carefully paid off this year in some terrific posts that got mega-traffic. While many blogs have given up on the guest-posting model due to all the scammy pitches you get, I’m sticking with it in 2016 — and proud to have raised my pay to $75 a post. I think hearing from freelance writers at many different stages of their journey provides readers with more useful tips than if it’s just me, me, me.
  • Blogging. Many freelance writers would love to learn how to make blogging pay off — and I’m hard at work delivering answers in the e-book I’m writing now, How I Earn a 6-Figure Income Off My Tiny Niche Blog. More details on that to come in January!

What would you like to see me cover in 2016? Post your topic suggestion in the comments and I’ll consider this a mini-poll.



  1. Tracy Antonioli

    One small request–would you please make your links open in a new tab or window? Posts like this are great (particularly for you, as you will get more hits on your site, publishing a list of your own best work). But let’s say someone wants to read all of these. She clicks on one, her browser redirects her in the same tab or window in which she’s working, and then she clicks on something else (or her phone rings or she gets a text message or her kid starts crying) and all of a sudden she’s lost the original post.

    I’m assuming you are working in WordPress. Thus, all you need to do is click the ‘open in new tab or window’ box when inserting a link. That would be super helpful. Thanks.

    • Carol Tice

      Good idea! We know how to make links open in a new window around here…we’ll get that done. 😉

  2. Arjun

    I was subscribe your blog one week ago, I like to know, how to improve my blog article, since English is not my native language. I like to read your next article, about that. And thanks for making a quick list 🙂

      • Ravi M.

        Thanks for the links to your old posts about the topic.

        I feel happy whenever a fellow Indian commented on your exciting site. I read some famous author’s books about freelancing and writing articles. All of them mentioned your site as one of their most favorite writing sites.

        I also asked you some days ago that please write to help Indian writers to get published in US and International magazines/newspapers. Please don’t forget.

        • Carol Tice

          Ravi, I have a post coming up about trying to get published in markets where it’s not your first language…and I think it’s very difficult unless you are extremely fluent. Remember, you’re paid to write as someone who has an EXCEPTIONAL command of English — not a rudimentary one.

          While there are people who are fully fluent in a second language, I find they’re few and far between–and most writers will do better pursuing clients in their native country and language.

          • Ravi M

            I can understand what do you want to say. I know simple English is not enough to get foreign writing gigs.

            I asked a writing coach when his team was conducting a workshop for freelance writing that I can write English as fast as my mother tongue and proofread, but don’t talk that fast. And he (of the team) replied me that I can get writing jobs without talking to the editors on phone if I can write good English. And suggested me to speak English with others to improve speed level of speaking (really good suggestion).

            Is it true that getting clients without speaking to them over the phone?

          • Carol Tice

            Ravi, I’ve occasionally gotten a client without talking live, but in terms of better-paid assignments, it’s pretty rare.

            I think that’s not your concern right now — there are so many grammar errors in the comment above and your other comments here, that I’d think you’re not going to ‘pass’ as a fluent writer at this point, even in written English. Keep working on improving!

            You may be able to write English fast, but what counts is being able to write it correctly, and creatively. I think writers really underestimate the extent to which you need to master a language to earn writing in it.

          • Ravi

            Did you find errors in other comments as well? Unfortunately, I didn’t read most of my comments before publishing.

            I rewritten the same comment here again. I think it has no errors, don’t I?
            I can understand what do you mean. I know simple English is not enough to get well-paid writing gigs.

            I had asked a writing coach, when his team was conducting a workshop for the freelance writers, that I could write English as fast as my native language (and proofread), but couldn’t talk as I could write. And he (of the team) replied me that I could get writing jobs without talking to the editors on phone if I could write good English. And suggested me to speak English with others to improve speed level of my speaking.

            Is it possible to get clients without talking to them on phone?

            Anyhow, I would like to take your suggestion seriously and in a positive way. And will be commenting on your posts until you reply me that I improved my language to pitch.

          • Carol Tice

            Ravi, I can count at least 8 grammatical errors in that short section you have above. If you don’t know they’re there, you have a long way to go in writing English at a level that would get you gigs.

          • Ravi

            Yes, I found them but not 8! In fact, listeners would not find that much grammatical errors when we speak, but it is easy to find out them when writing. Especially when the writing is serious and when we write not in the version of a student.

            I started reading Ben’s book and I already noticed some errors that I would not treat them as errors in the past.

            I will comment on your upcoming posts as well, and then reply me whether my writing is improved.


  3. Raquel Lasenby

    I would love to see more about about efficient use of time, especially when you have a day job, a spouse and kids. There is so much information on freelance writing that I sometimes feel like I struggle to find the balance between learning and then actually doing something. In the last fews days I’ve sent out about 4 queries and letters of introduction so I feely hugely pumped about that. Making progress on the doing part!

    I would also like to learn more about content marketing.

  4. Peggy O'Dell

    I would love to see information on freelancing while working a full-time day job. Now that I am back in the corporate world, I could definitely use help with how to manage both. For example, how do writers with a day job connect with editors and interview sources when they are chained to a desk from 9 to 5? Is it okay to tell potential clients that you are part-time? Somehow that seems to diminish my credibility as a writer.

    • Carol Tice

      Peggy, I know writers who’ve done interviews and editor calls at lunch, or sometimes they’re in a different time zone that makes it work — as someone on Pacific Time who’s worked with East Coast editors, that allowed me to talk to them at 6 or 7 am my time, before work. I’ve also interviewed sources at 9 or 10 pm at night.

      I don’t know that I’d make a point of telling clients you’re freelancing on the side — it’s not really their business. I think many writers with day jobs seek out more flexible gigs like ongoing business blogging, where you’re mostly emailing your contact and it doesn’t really matter what time of day you’re sending info or turning things in.

      One book I can recommend is Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race by Linda Formichelli — great tips on balancing these two activities and then making the leap to full-time freelance.

  5. Ravi M.

    Hi Carol Tice

    I just had been to your article: “Writing an Article vs. Writing a Blog Post”. May I comment about that here? I hope you don’t mind.

    I know a post can be treated as an article if it was written in 3rd person. But what about if a post is written in 1st person, can it be called an article?
    I think it can be an article if the post has no “I think” or “My opinion is”.

    What do you think of it?

    • Carol Tice

      I think if it’s your opinion or point of view and written all in first person, it’s usually a personal essay, not an article as we’d normally think of it, which is reported nonfiction where you quote experts and others, and your opinion is not part of the story. The problem is that there are few good-paying personal essay markets, and the few there are are highly competitive. Simply not overtly saying “I think” doesn’t really solve anything–if it’s in first person, we know that it is your thoughts.

      • Ravi M

        Yes. It’d not be an article if it was written in 1st person, because it would be treated as a person’s thoughts or dairy letter.

        You gave us the opportunity to ask you writing for in this year.
        Here are my requests:
        ==> You already delivered some essential eBooks from your FreenlanceWritersDen site. But we need some more eBooks that covers entire process of Magazine and Newspaper Article Writing.
        I need more clarity about interviews and how to implement them into articles…

        ==> I already asked about “writing for US/EU markets from my place as a non-native speaker”. And you replied me that you will write about that. Thanks.
        If there is an eBook that covers which grammar/style books non-native speakers should have and how to approach the foreign and local markets etc.

        Hope you consider my points for your next eBooks for us.


        • Carol Tice

          Hi Ravi — I don’t think an ebook is the right format for learning journalism, which is why I have a 4-Week Journalism School course here: It ordinarily takes 2 years of advanced college education to get all the aspects of reporting and practice, but this class boils it down to a month of the vital essentials. Not sure when or in what format we’ll present J-School again, but I’d look for it sometime in the next 6 months, I’d say.

          For grammar, I like How to Not Write Bad by Ben Yagoda, and of course The Elements of Style.

  6. Ravi

    Will you present J-School again sometime in the next 6 months? I will be ready to take the course when it is re-opened.

    On your suggestion, to test and improve my writing, I purchased Ben Yagoda’s book: How to Not Write Bad. But I am confusion because of the 1-star reviews on Amazon!

    • Carol Tice

      I interviewed him and read the book, and thought it was a fun review of all the common errors and how to fix. And it has almost all 5-star reviews, so not sure what you mean there.

      I think we will offer J-School again sometime in the first half of the year.

      • Ravi

        Mostly the book has the 5-star reviews, but some 1-star reviews as well.

        All of them pointed about his title. But a commentator commented on a review that the author did it on purpose. So I have no doubts to believe this book.

        Mostly, my fellows liked my writing. But some friends who are from US/UK found a few corrections in my writing. After started reading this book, I started understanding why they did it so.

        Please suggest me what qualifications should I learn to take your J-School course when you open it to join.

  7. Philip Verghese 'Ariel'

    Hi Carol,

    It is indeed a great Joy to be here today.

    This is for the first time I am visiting your wonderful space!
    I am here today via one of my friends online David Leonhardt’s pages.
    OMG! I really missed this page, though I am online for some time I really missed this page.

    I am so glad that I found it today.

    I could locate such a lot of information regarding freelance writing, blogging and other related writings.

    I just downloaded some of your eBooks.
    Will read it and come back to you with my feedback.

    Hey, I wonder one post here “A Short Prayer for Freelance Writers” there you closed the comment box! Is there any specific reason to it?
    That was indeed an amazing prayer which I could relate very well in some of the areas, especially the concluding three paragraphs touched me well.

    In fact that small prayer, talks volume about the needs of a freelance writer!

    Thank you for sharing this post I just finished reading, but some of the links I need to visit and read again, OMG!! This space is indeed a mine to dig in for gems!

    Will come again on a daily basis to read and obtain knowledge and participate in other involvements here. I am book marking some of the posts here.

    Thanks for sharing such a lot of information to your readers.

    Best Regards
    ~Philip Ariel, Secunderabad, India

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Philip — I’m closing comments after about a month, because increasingly spammers are trolling older posts and putting up a lot of junk, hoping no one will notice while they quietly build backlinks. So the Writer’s Prayer post is older.

      90% of the valid comments happen in the first week a post goes up, and it was just taking too much administrative time killing these junk comments.

      Also, I’m hoping it encourages people to read and comment on the new posts!

    • Ravi

      Hi Philip Ariel

      I am also from AP (of course, Secunderabad is now Telangana) and I almost suggested this site to all my friends who’re interested in writing and want to write.

      This site is not only a favorite one for aspiring writers, but also for established writers. Many famous writers suggested this site to follow religiously in their coaching books for writers. Kelly James-Enger is one of them.

      Glad to meet you as you’re a reader of this site from my nearest place.

      Have a good day,

  8. Raghu Rao


    I happened to chance upon your website, But I am so glad I did. I really appreciate all the useful information you have out here for new bloggers!

    Thank you!

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