10 Best Freelance Writing Opportunities

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Don’t let your manuscripts collect virtual dust on your computer; send those babies out into the world of freelance to be read as they’re intended to be. Parting with your words can be intimidating or even heart-wrenching, but these 10 publications are itching for freelance pieces to make viral.

Some constructive criticism, recognition and cash money (prioritize those as you will) are coming your way with these 10 ways to freelance in college.

1. Buzzfeed Community

  • Website: www.buzzfeed.com/community
  • Genre: Humorous nonfiction
  • Who to Contact: Contact form on website
  • Submission Guidelines: Make an account on the site, write anything you want and suggest your post to the Community editors.
  • Cool Perks: Huge readership and shareability

Your mom has probably shared “15 TV Moms that Make Your Mom Look Cool.” Your The Office-obsessed friend has probably sent you the link to about 20 Jim and Pam appreciation posts. You always swipe up on Buzzfeed’s Snapchat Discover story when you see “13 Reasons You Can’t Live Without Pugs.” Posts by members of Buzzfeed Community have taken over your social media for their short, readable format and witty and #relatable content. You too can litter the newsfeeds of your Facebook friends with cleverly-captioned Gossip Girl gifs. All you have to do to freelance for this site is sign up to be a member of the community, post your content and suggest your post to a Community editor. Before long, you could go viral.

2. Allegheny Review

  • Website: www.alleghenyreview.wordpress.com
  • Genre: Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and artwork
  • Who to Contact: [email protected]
  • Submission Guidelines: Fiction–not to exceed 20 pages, double-spaced; Poetry–up to five poems; Creative nonfiction–not to exceed 20 pages, double-spaced; $5 entry fee per genre.
  • Cool Perks: Winners receive a $250 prize.

This East Coast-based review accepts freelance undergraduate poetry, fiction and nonfiction from all over the country. Scrape together just $5 per genre (as a college student, this may be the hardest part of submitting) for the chance to win the poetry and prose grand prize of $250. Think of all the burritos $250 could buy. Extra guac? Yes please.

3. arXiv

  • Website: www.arxiv.org
  • Genre: Electronic preprints, known as e-prints, of scientific papers in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, computer science, quantitative biology, statistics and quantitative finance
  • Who to Contact: [email protected]
  • Submission Guidelines: Sign up for an account and submit your academic paper.
  • Cool Perks: A lot of scholars will vet your work for you.

If the dreaded red pen (or the online comment equivalent of track changes) wasn’t enough commentary on your latest research paper, arXiv is the online publishing tool that will help get your original research out to millions of critics. Test your limits to how you handle constructive criticism without crying by signing up for an account with arXiv, and upload work you’re proud enough of to defend. The site is broad in genre, and you can moderate other scholars’ work too. Nerd out any way your right brain desires.

4. Journal of Student Research

  • Website: www.jofsr.com
  • Genre: Research articles
  • Who to Contact: [email protected]
  • Submission Guidelines: Word Document
  • Cool Perks: The journal is entirely undergraduate research.

Have future employers drooling over your academic work by submitting research articles to the Journal of Student Research. There’s no reason to be intimidated when all the research submitted is by your undergrad peers trying to make it work too. Become a freelance writer for the science community to put your work out there for your readers to critique and most of all improve.

5. Local newspapers

  • Website: Varies
  • Genre: Varies
  • Who to Contact: Varies
  • Submission Guidelines: Be professional and include a cover letter.
  • Cool Perks: Writing for a local audience with similar interests, and become a low-key local celeb.

Throughout high school, you always bragged about that one time your grade school basketball team had a quarter page in your local paper, but that impresses no one in college. Aim to write your own quarter-page articles with your own personal byline and brag about your new freelance career. Local papers, especially in college towns, could benefit from your fresh perspective. Just make sure your work is up to par and that you’re professional in your communication with editors (that’s right, include a cover letter). You want the editors to know you’re serious about your own work and their publication. Go to your local publication’s website for submission guidelines and contact information.

6. Your school newspaper

  • Website: Varies
  • Genre: Varies
  • Who to Contact: Varies
  • Submission Guidelines: Be professional and include a cover letter.
  • Cool Perks: Writing for the school paper is a good resume and experience builder.

Joining a newspaper staff takes on slightly more weight now that you’re in college. This isn’t the tiny room with three ancient computers and a Cheetos-cluttered folding table that your high school allotted to your news team. College newspapers have more recognition, funding and supplies than high school and can be serious stepping stones to careers in journalism. If you’re not ready to make the commitment of joining the staff, see if your school newspaper will publish work by freelance writers or contributing authors.

7. The Blue Route

  • Website: www.widenerblueroute.org
  • Genre: Short fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction written
  • Who to Contact: [email protected]
  • Submission Guidelines: Prose–submit one to three pieces of fiction or creative nonfiction totaling no more than 3,000 words. Poetry–submit up to three poems. No pornography, racism or sexism and little-to-no profanity
  • Cool Perks: You will receive $25 upon publication.

Here’s a novel concept: getting paid to write. The Blue Route pays writers $25 upon publication of short fiction, poetry or creative nonfiction. You can submit up to three works of prose or three poems. All The Blue Route asks is to keep it kosher: Do not include racism, sexism or excessive profanity. This might be good practice in your everyday lives too, folks.

8. Tin House

  • Website: www.tinhouse.com
  • Genre: Fiction and poetry
  • Who to Contact: [email protected]
  • Submission Guidelines: Send manuscripts between September and May. Write up to 10,000 words for fiction or up to five poems.
  • Cool Perks: Stephen King endorsed it.

You have two chances to get your unsolicited manuscript into this magazine–once in September and once in March–so make it count. The next upcoming theme is Rehab. Put on some Amy Winehouse and let your creative spirit run wild before sending your work to the rehab that is the editor’s office.

9. Travelwise

  • Website: www.travel-wise.com
  • Genre: Articles, tips, advice and ideas
  • Who to Contact: [email protected]
  • Submission Guidelines: Not listed
  • Cool Perks: A great publication for travel junkies.

Wanderlust and writing go hand-in-hand all over the world. Combine your love for sticking pins in a map with your love for sticking words on a page and get your travel writing published on TravelWise as a freelance writer. TravelWise accepts articles from tips to essays. Whatever you have to say about your wanderings has a chance to reach readers across the nations.

10. Writerscafe

  • Website: www.writerscafe.org
  • Genre: Any
  • Who to Contact: Contact form on website
  • Submission Guidelines: Make an account and post your content.
  • Cool Perks: Receive comments from other readers, enter contests and sign up for workshops and courses.

Writerscafe is the all-in-one package to grant your wish of becoming a better writer. You can publish, get comments, comment on other writers’ work and sign up for workshops and courses. You’re only one signup away from literary greatness, or at least finding great new way to productively procrastinate schoolwork.

Marin is a pizza snob from Chicago (deep dish only) who loves writing, baking, and wasting the day away watching videos of baby animals. She is a Journalism major at the University of Iowa and she hopes to be the editor of a magazine one day.

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