Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Elance--Making Money as a Writer

Okay, I'm cheating this week. I've got a lot on my plate as I get ready to go back to school next week. With that in mind, I'm going to repost an old blog topic of mine that got lots of responses and one that I think is still important: Making Money as A Writer!

So is it me or does the economy really suck with a capital S right now? My real job is as a writer, but the job  paying the bills (at least for the moment) is that of a teacher. Unfortunately, I live in an area where teachers are getting the axe due to our state's budget and the ginormous amount of debt we are all under.

Now don't start to fret. I'm not going to turn this into a political commentary. At least not today.

What I am going to talk about are job possibilities for the writer trying to keep their head above water in these tough times! Most of us aren't making any money. We sit at our computers and sweat over whatever imaginative gem we're currently working on because we love the muse. We love the act of creation. We love, love, love to write. I mean, you have to love something to keep doing it even though there's no money!

A few posts ago, I talked about being a ghost writer. It's a surprisingly lucrative job. Being a ghost writer doesn't mean you have to be writing a novel for someone either. It could be as simple as writing some one's blog post, allowing them to take the credit, and getting paid for it. If this is something that interests you, check out Elance.

Elance is a place where people in need of writers go to find them. They post jobs in categories from web design to blog articles to resume writing. As a writer, you go there to help these people out and earn a little extra money on the side. Typically, every job posted lists a time frame for completion of the job and what the client is willing to pay.

If you  work from home, are a fast typer, and have a lot to say, check Elance out. It's easy to get set up with them, too! Once you've filled out the basic information and listed your skills, just peruse through their job listings until you find one that meets your time frame and capabilities. The next step is to bid for the job and state how much you want to get paid to do it.  The client will either invite you to take the job or not.

I've been working with Elance for a few months now with success. Sometimes there is lots of competition for particular projects, and other times, you'd be surprised at the things people pass up. The beauty of it is that if a job doesn't tickle your fancy, you are not obligated to accept it.

Of course, writers never get paid what they're really worth. Sometimes the clients obviously have no clue how much time it takes to write something awesome, and they don't want to pay that much. Only apply for jobs that fit what your time is worth. In the beginning, you may want to do a few jobs without great pay just to get your foot in the door, but ultimately, you need to stick to your guns and charge what your time is worth.

If you are looking into life as a freelancer, Elance is a good place to get your feet wet and see what's out there.

Happy Writing!


  1. Hmmmmm. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Mary Ann,

    So many times I have wanted to Freelance by writing....I never knew of Elance but instead's still however all the same concept as you described in your blog post.
    What I have found challenging is how to bid on the jobs to get "chosen". There are so many who are offering to the writing for almost nothing, making it hard for me to follow what to bid to do the work, and then following if I even got any interest from potential client. I will try Elance out but do you have any suggestions for bidding and how to determine if you are getting responses from potential clients? Maybe it's just Freelancer that seems so flooded with writers, so I have been working for others who have asked me to be their blogger and then starting my own blogpress but I have the ability and time (not to mention need for more money) to write and write more!

  3. Christine, I've never worked with, but at Elance most of the clients list what the are willing to pay. For my first job, I did bid low and got my foot in the door. I went into it with the attitude "Okay, I
    'll just try this one job and see how it works." Of course, after that I got hooked and the client booked me indefinately and is paying me more. As for other jobs, I tend to be choosy. One thing I noticed with the writers at Elance is that many of them took the low bid, built up their credentials and then started to ask for more.

    Let me look into and see how it compares. I'll get back to you!

  4. Thanks Mary Ann! I agree 100% on getting your foot in the door. Most of my issue is not with the amount that I receive right fact I would write for free if it is a small project. My confusion with Freelancer was just understanding if I received a response from potential client...Let me know what you think of Freelancer...maybe you will understand what I seem to not get clear. It sure would help me try to make freelancing as a writer started!!!

  5. Okay, Christine, I check out and it's similar. On Elance, you get an email when you bid on the job if your offer is accepted. I also get emails if my offer is declined and it usually tells you why. Not sure if that's the way Freelancer operates though.

  6. OK, well I know that you have the knowledge and experience so I will try to get in there and get my arms around it better....thanks again.

    P.S. If you know someone who has a large project, and needs help with it let me know.....

  7. Mary Ann, that is VERY interesting, and tremendously helpful of you to post it! It's definitely worth pursuing. Thank you very much for this tip!

  8. This is weird that the old comments posted! Mary Ann, I think this is almost needed more now than when you posted it. This is a good one to repeat!

  9. Thanks for the great post. Great advice for writers. Liz

  10. I've been on elance for a while and I think it's pretty great. People are always asking me how to start getting jobs so I ended up writing an article about it and putting it up on triond.