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Samples For Freelance Writers Websites -There Are No Magic Answers – Ask Anne

freelance writersHi, Anne,

I’ve have been writing and researching in several areas, especially the social sciences and medicine, for many years and have always wanted to make it pay. I am interested in ghostwriting and editing too.

After reading some of your articles, I know that I should have a blog to showcase my work as well as give potential employers the notification that I exist!

However, I am unsure what sort of writing examples I should post (you mentioned that it should be just a few), to give the best idea of what I can do. What are the best types of work, most desired subject areas and how long should the examples be? If you already have an article about this, could you post the link?

Thanks in advance.

Susan Talbot, in comments

Hi Susan,

I’m glad you recognize you need a website (probably built on WordPress) – I firmly believe every writer needs their own professional website.

And yes, there is an article on the four pages every writer must have on their website here.

You’ll also find 6 Steps To Creating a Website here.

That should get you started.

What about no magic answers?

I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that everything you read here and on other websites aimed at helping freelance writers make more money is simply an opinion. Sure, here you get my opinion, and I think I tend to give darn good advice.

But in the writing game there is nothing even close to only one way to do whatever. Some people find this extremely frustrating, but we are dealing with creativity and that’s awfully hard to quantify or confine, thank goodness!

For example, I did say somewhere to keep the writing samples short or a few – I said it because I know editors don’t have much time and are much more likely to just scan. But if you want to write in several areas, you’ll need samples in each of those areas. That’s just logic. Academic writers need a whole different kind of sample than pro bloggers, for example.

Draw from the experience you have and think about what you’re trying to accomplish. Solicit answers, yes, but don’t lock into them. Instead, consider the answers then make them your own.

Ultimately we’re all experts on our own life and responsible for it too. I suspect your sense of what you need is pretty good. Go for it.

How many samples do you have on your website? How did you choose them? Are you following a formula or trusting your own judgement? Let’s talk about it in comments.

Do you have a question about freelance writing? Send me an email and I’ll try to answer it here.


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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Hi,
    Its actually quite interesting to see people caught up in the same dilemma which often accosts me.
    I have been stuck time and again about the subject of “content”,the suitability,the sources from which to gather it and on & on..
    What i specifically want to clarify about is the lurking concern of copyright infringement.When and how do i ever come to know that i have violated copyright.The other day i was planning to post on the international Womens Day.I was intrigued to see that my draft resembles some thing on the subject someone else had posted on another site(i happened to see it while searching for photos for my post online).Now how,and what does one do about unintended infringement?today my planned post is still languishing in the draft box!
    Any ideas ,please?


  • Thank goodness, Anne, indeed! Creativity is free as a bird, and it’d better be careful & not seek refuge on the lime…

    Samples: I’ll start with two websites, 7-15 posts/pages each. Extra brilliant pieces of writing, targeted, to the point, spiced with video (script writing, remember?)
    Helene Poulakou recently posted..Top 10 Greek Mythology Stories updated Tue Feb 26 2013 3:08 pm ESTMy Profile

    • Ooops, I pressed Enter by mistake.

      Popularized (entertaining, I hope) academics, i.e. languages, socio/anthropo/archaeo/historio-logically study of mythology (& language), philosophy & the Muses.

      Then, I few booklets, perhaps a couple of products (e.g. on Zazzle, CafePress and the like), more videos. More writing. Some marketing too.

      Everything we write can be used as a writing sample. Our introduction, an “about me” page, our “contact me” page, the posts we upload, and the attitude our website exhudes. A short quote or a thought of ours that we write on a photo & circulate through the web. Our guest posts, interviews, magazine articles.

      In pdf or html, they also count as web pages that can get indexed & they showcase abundance, ingenuity, our superb writing skills, and our taste.

      Here’s to writers!
      Helene Poulakou recently posted..Top 10 Greek Mythology Stories updated Tue Feb 26 2013 3:08 pm ESTMy Profile

  • Hi,

    I have a lot of samples on my website because I write for a variety of industries, and I provide more than one writing service. So…I showcase blog posts, articles, reports, etc. I may have to whittle down, but for now I’ll keep my samples.
    Amandah recently posted..Stop Wasting Time! Go from Ideas to Blog PostsMy Profile

    • Amandah, many samples may be perfect if it’s easy for the editor/client to identify categories, etc.

  • Susan Talbot

    Dear Anne,

    I was pleasantly surprised to receive your response so quickly and to know that it inspired a blog post! Thank you for the advice, links and the encouragement. I think it’s true of most people starting out that they know at least some of what they need to do to begin, but may just need someone to give them a nod…and probably a push!

    I now have a better idea how to finish the website I started quite a while ago and have a “reality check” as to how many writing samples need to be offered. Yes, it’s a bit more than I imagined, but not that many. It looks like I had better invest in a comfier chair for my desk!

    Thanks again and I am now thinking of other questions to ask about my fiction writing.



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