Tag Archives: work from home

Getting Started with Freelance Writing

I often see people in writers’ groups asking how to get into freelance writing. I’m excited for them, because I know how awesome it is to make some money with your writing. I made the leap to full-time freelancing eight years ago. It was a big leap to let go of a steady job, but it’s been an absolutely amazing experience. I love making my own schedule and being available for my family when they need me. The thing is, I don’t think there’s any one set way to do this. Everyone has likely taken a slightly different path, but I’m happy to share mine.

  1. Decide what kind of freelancing you want to do: You need at least some sort of direction in which to head before you can start going anywhere. It may evolve a bit along the way, as it certainly did for me, but it’s good to have some goals to work toward. Do you want to be a ghostwriter? Fiction or non-fiction? Are you into editing? Copy writing? Or do you want to create blog posts and articles for magazines and websites? Stick with what you feel is your best strength to start with.
  2. Build your CV and portfolio: There’s no getting around this step! Clients need proof that you’re worth hiring, and unfortunately that means proving that someone else also thought you were worthy! How you build your CV will depend on your goals, but you can start by submitting stories and poetry to literary magazines or doing work for local businesses who need a little extra help. Another option would be to check with friends who own small businesses to see if they need content or proofreading. You can find more information about building your CV here.
  3. Brush up on your skills: It’s always a good idea to refresh your brain, especially when you’re trying to impress someone. There are TONS of books out there that will help with grammar and punctuation, formatting, and sentence structure, but there are also plenty about the art of writing itself. I find these to be particularly inspiring! Some of my favorites are Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.
  4. Find clients: It’s finally time to put yourself out there and make some money! There are lots of places to find clients, but you have to go out there and look for them! This is perhaps one of the hardest things for us writers, because we tend to be a little introverted and we don’t always like selling ourselves. You can check out this post about finding freelance clients for more detailed information. Make sure when you’re putting in a bid for a job that you follow all the submission guidelines.
  5. Stay Organized: Getting those freelancing gigs means keeping track of deadlines, notes, and client information. It means managing your time and staying focused. You’ll also need a place to work, which is often one of the biggest challenges for busy parents. How all of this comes together is going to be different for everyone. Digital planner or paper? Work from home or sneak off to the coffee shop? Freelance in your spare time or dive in with both feet? There are a lot of little decisions to be made, and you may have to try a few things to see what works best for you. Check out Tips for Starting a Freelance Business and Tips for a Successful Freelance Business.

I really didn’t know what I was doing when I first started freelancing. I never imagined it would lead to being a ghostwriter and supporting myself while working in sweatpants with a dog snoring at my feet. I hope that you find success in freelancing, whatever that looks like to you!

Be sure to check out my Writers’ Resources page for lots of great information on writing!


Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Filed under freelancing, On Writing

Let This Be a Lesson to Us

It’s difficult not to think about COVID-19 right now. Life is changing for us, and even though that change is only temporary it’s potentially huge. Kids are out of school, people are working from home (where they can), and we’re concerned about the supply chain. Since we don’t have a time machine to undo all this, I hope we at least use this crisis to learn a little.

1. Disaster Preparedness – I’ve heard plenty of PSA’s about disaster preparedness over the last few years. I always think it’s a great idea, but it leaves my mind soon afterwards. We can come up with all sorts of excuses (finances, time, storage space), but the reality is that we need to be ready in case something happens. Take this time to evaluate your emergency kit to make sure you and your family (and pets!) will be taken care of. No, you might not be able to stock up on much right now, but you can certainly make a list.

It’s not that bad, right?

2. Working from Home – There are far more companies who offer flexible schedules and work from home opportunities than there used to be, but I hope this time will show both employers and employees how much they can get done remotely. This could be extremely beneficial for all concerned, especially those with families. Which also brings to mind…

3. Corporate and School Sick Policy – All of a sudden it’s okay to call in at work, but we all know it wasn’t like that. You had to be on death’s door to call in. The company needed you, and they’d much rather you come in and spread your germs to customers and other employees than stay home in bed. Schools weren’t any better, offering perfect attendance contests and prizes that had ill children determined to get to school. Yes, there’s always a concern of people abusing the system, but we need to be a little smarter. Wash your hands and stay home when you’re sick, no matter if we’re worried about a pandemic or not!

4. Believing Everything You Read Online (and then sharing it!) – Right as the U.S. started to fear COVID-19, a Facebook post showing the back of a Lysol container began circulating. It had coronavirus circled on the back and claimed this disease was nothing new. When I saw it, I immediately went to the CDC’s website to check it out for myself. I think we all know the truth now (that COVID-19 is within a larger family of coronaviruses), but now misinformation in general continues to spread. This makes it impossible to know what to believe. I’m not just talking about social media here, either. If your news comes from a site that’s obviously slanted toward a religion or political party, then it’s biased.

5. We’re Not Superman – Here in the U.S., it’s easy to believe we aren’t vulnerable. We’ve been on top for a long time. We have good lives, especially compared to many other places in the world. But we’ve come to rely on those good times of abundance to such an extent that many people don’t know how to deal with the threat of it breaking down. I really think we need to evaluate our vulnerability and see what we could do to improve it.

I’m definitely not saying the pandemic is a good thing, but if we have to deal with it then we might as well learn. Some of these ‘extreme’ measures we’re putting into place might give us great benefits by becoming the norm, and if we don’t learn our lesson then we’re doomed to repeat it.

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My most recent short story, Immunization, is available free for a limited time on Amazon!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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As Long as You’re Writing…A Note to Myself

It’s not always easy to write.  For me, lately, it’s been pretty hard.  I’m constantly distracted (thank you, Internet).  Or tired.  Or I have other things I feel I should be taking care of.  Or I’m just not feeling it.

It’s difficult to find a moment of silence when you have a full house and you work from home.  It’s sometimes impossible to drown out the sound of my kids fighting right behind me or playing around with various car crash sounds on the keyboard.

And I fully admit I get frustrated when I can’t find the time to write.  It seems like I shouldn’t have to fight so hard to get past the mom-and-wife stuff just to get a few words on the page.  You know what I mean.  You’ve felt it, too.

But that’s when you have to make a fresh cup of coffee, grab your headphones, blow the cat hair off your computer, and just go for it.  Even if it’s not what you were supposed to be writing.   Maybe you should be working on a freelance job or your next great novel, but you just aren’t feeling it at all.  It’s okay.  Even if it’s something that doesn’t turn out the way you wanted and you’ll erase it later (or the cat will).  As long as you’re writing, it’s okay.

Not even kidding about the cat hair thing…

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Building Your Writing CV

Just like any other job you’re applying for, your potential clients will want to see what you’ve already done and what you’re capable of doing.  While I don’t want to go into the differences of a resume versus a CV here, let’s just simplify it by saying that a CV focuses only on the writing work you’ve done and not every job you’ve held in your adult life.  Ideally, your CV will be part of a portfolio, but that’s another post.

If you’re new in the field, then you might not have a lot to put on your CV.  So how are you supposed to build it up if you don’t already have credits on there to show what you’re capable of?  Here are a few tips that may help.

Submissions:  Having your work in a publication is a great addition to any CV.  If you’re into fiction, set your short stories free in the world and start submitting them to literary magazines.  You may spend a bit of time doing this and tweaking your work before you get accepted, but it’s really worth it in the long run.  Keep in mind that smaller mags are often more likely to accept new writers, but the credits aren’t necessarily as prestigious.  Send out to any place you feel your writing would be a good fit.  Landing guest posts on blogs can be a similar way to show that your work has been accepted by others.

Local businesses:  It can be easier to get in touch with someone local than to find a client online who’s willing to hire you.  Reach out to businesses in your area and let them know just what you can do for them.  Are you great at social media marketing?  Many small companies don’t have the time for it.  See a pamphlet that needs proofreading?  Give them a call and offer your skills.

Trade deals:  When working with a local company, you may find that they’re unable to afford your services.  Consider offering them a trade deal, where you provide writing services for the business and they provide their services to you.  Be sure that the deal can benefit you; if you aren’t interested in what they can offer, then you’ll only be frustrated.  Also, it may be helpful to draw up a contract that denotes exactly what services are to be exchanged and how often to ensure that all parties are happy with the deal.  If you’re making programs for a theater but aren’t interested in free tickets, move along.

Local charities:  While you won’t get paid for doing work with charities, it’s still a great listing on your CV.  You might be able to write a newsletter for an animal rescue, type up flyers for a homeless shelter, or draft emails for a children’s hospital.

Keep in mind that it takes time to build up your CV.  You won’t hear back from magazines right away, and you may have to call numerous businesses and charities before you find someone willing to talk to you.  Be patient and persistent!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.


Interested in having your work featured here?  Contact me.




Filed under freelancing, Work-at-Home Mom

Top Tips for Writing

It’s difficult to get all my work done sometimes.  There are so many distractions.  I need to be on my computer a significant part of the day if I’m actually going to have a successful freelancing business, but somehow I find myself outside weeding the garden or playing a rousing round of Go Fish with the kids.  I’m getting a little better at focusing, though, so here are my


6. Rig up some sort of system that will send you some nasty electric shocks every time you wander off to Facebook.

5. Encourage your spouse to play video games.  Then you won’t feel guilty about not spending time with him/her. Plus he/she will lose track of just how much time you’ve spent on that computer today.

4. Wear a hoodie, so you can put snacks and candy in the pockets.

3.  Wear earbuds.  These will deter people who may try talking to you, as well as drown out the sound of the kids watching the same episode of Phineas and Ferb for the umpteenth time.  Also very effective for pretending you didn’t hear, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

2.  Get super comfortable.  My dad’s rule when I worked for him as a kid was to always get comfortable first, and I still abide by this.  The more comfortable you are, the less likely you’ll be to get up and run just one more load of laundry.

1.  Get a cat, and make sure it’s on your lap.  This kind of goes along with “get super comfortable”, because when you have a cat on your lap you can’t get up.  That’s the rule.  Really.  Just ask the cat.


And yes, I was supposed to be writing when I made this.


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Filed under Animals, Family, On Writing, Work

It’s Easy to Think it Could Always Be This Way…

As I’m sitting here working at my beautiful desk, jamming out the The Blue Man Group channel on Pandora (which is also playing a lot of Lindsey Stirling, and I don’t mind at all), I like to think it could always be like this.  That I could quit my day job, and be here at home.  The kids are in the other room playing on the Wii (and not fighting over it for once), and the boyfriend is in the garage working on one of the cars.  There’s a fire crackling in the fireplace, a cat on my lap, and a delicious glass of tea just to the left of my laptop.  Ah, paradise.


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