33 Places to Learn New Writing Skills for Free

What’s on the iPod: Late July by Shakey Graves

It’s been a productive week so far. I’ve managed to write five articles for one client (complete with interviews, so I had to be efficient about it) and two blog posts for another client. There’s one more feature article due to the first client, so that’s today’s focus. Plus I had to market for my upcoming conference.

I’ve had zero time to market for it, too. But I’ve managed two client meetings and a few I have yet to arrange. If I can meet with four new people in sit-down meetings at the conference, I’ll have reached my goal.

I was reading a LinkedIn group and I saw a freelancer asking about a particular type of project and what it pays. Right away, the sales people came out. “My course is here and costs just $600!” (I’m paraphrasing.) It’s the sort of response that serves one person — the sales person.

Mind you, if you’re selling something like that, more power to you. But when someone asks on a public forum for advice, it’s a little tacky to be shoving your course in front of them.

So why not offer free help? That’s what today’s post is about — free training and education to help you improve your freelance writing business. It’s not a comprehensive list, but I did try to include a little bit of everything.

Attracting Clients: From Freelance Writing Tips, probably the most comprehensive post on exactly where clients are and how you can reach them.

Business Foundations certificate course. When it comes to business, there’s nothing to compare to The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. And when you can get certification from the best program for free? Why wouldn’t you?

Business Leaflet writing: Sharon Hurley Hall has a lot of great information on her blog. This is one example.

Business Planning: Follow the “business plan” tag to get to my series on putting together a business plan.

Business Writing. Another free course, this one from UC/Irvine.

Case Study Writing. The most fun you’ll have writing about user experiences. Academic Help gives you a free guide on how to start.

Creating a Writing Portfolio: Sharon Hurley Hall does it again. This time, she tells us what goes into a winning portfolio.

Cleaning Your Copy: Thanks to a grant, this one is free from the Poynter Institute. Brush up on your grammar, style and more.

Competitive Decision Making & Negotiation: MIT teaches you how to negotiate and make decisions that help you be more competitive in business.

Digital Marketing. Great e-textbook that walks you through the digital marketing experience from concept to analytics.

Entrepreneurship 101: MIT teaches you – for free – how to identify your customer.

Ethics in Journalism: This course should be mandatory for anyone writing for a living. The Poynter Institute offers this one.

Free Reports. This course shows you how to build free reports into your marketing strategy. And yes, you should.

Freelance Site that Delivers Leads: From FreelanceLift, learn how to get more oomph from your site. Not totally free — this course costs $1.

Marketing 101: Right here. Just follow the Marketing Series tags and get going on a new approach today.

Online Business Building certification. Alison, a free certificate-based education source, helps you get your business online.

Online Media Law. Learn about copyright infringement, defamation and invasion of privacy. A must if you work online.

Power Writing. I love Udemy. Not only can you get low-cost courses, you can get free ones like this one, which teaches how to create business opportunities through power writing.

Press releases: A basic primer via PRWeb, and a good place to start.

Press Releases Made Easy. Jenn Mattern’s free e-book that explains the fundamentals.

Pricing your services. Thanks to Cathy Miller for pointing out the SCORE.org website, which is loaded with free training and advice. This webinar can help you understand how to price your services.

Query Writing: Easy approach I use. Adapt it to suit your own needs.

Resume Writing. Another great Udemy freebie, resume writing can give you a steady income stream.

Sales Page Writing. Great primer from Writer Mindset’s Simon Townley

Social Marketing. A great learning resource from OpenLearn.

Social Media Marketing diploma. From Alison, a free certificate-based education site, learn all about the web, files and affiliate marketing for increasing traffic.

SWOT Analysis Worksheet: If you’ve never conducted a SWOT analysis of your writing business, here’s an easy worksheet via All Indie Writers. In fact, check out all of Jenn Mattern’s free resources.

Technology for Professional Writers: A great offering by Utah State University.

Top Tips Series: Brought to you by some of the best writers I know, this is a great combination of ideas and strategies for writers at all career levels.

Trade Magazine Writing: Mark Lamendola does a great job explaining how to break in to this lucrative area.

Travel Blogging: Grab the free Travel Blogging 101 from Travel Blogger Academy.

Writer Website Building: Ruby Bayan has a sensible, easy plan for writers building their websites.

Writing White Papers. Jenn Mattern outlines the basics of white paper writing.

Writers, what free resources can you recommend?

About the author




  • Sharon Hurley Hall April 9, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Excellent list of resources, Lori, and thanks for including some of mine.

  • Cathy Miller April 9, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    A definite keeper. Thanks for the sources, Lori. πŸ˜‰

  • Lori Widmer April 9, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    You're welcome, Sharon! Thanks for writing it. πŸ™‚

    Cathy, thank you. You helped a lot!

  • KeriLynn Engel April 9, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Wow, great list, Lori! Thanks for putting this together. I'm definitely bookmarking this for future reference πŸ™‚

  • Lori Widmer April 9, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I'll add a permanent link over on the right, Keri. That should make it easier to find later on.

  • Paula April 9, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    What free resource would I recommend? A link to this post. That's where I'd suggest people start.

    Bookmarkable indeed, KeriLynn!

  • Lori Widmer April 9, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Thanks, Paula. Hey, I just gathered (with some help from Cathy and Jenn). The people who offer the freebies are to be commended for doing so.

    I've created a permanent link to this post over on the right side under "Resources for Writers."

  • Nichole Smith April 9, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Great list! I keep forgetting there's tons of free information out there (including my local library)! I just cancelled my 2nd payment for a freelance writing class I was taking (hoping I could brush up on some rusty skills) because A) I realized I really couldn't afford it right now and B) It took almost a month but I discovered this class wasn't the right one for me.

  • Ashley April 9, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Wow, thanks, Lori, for THIS great free resource. Your blog is always one of the first ones I look to for great ideas and tips on the writing life πŸ™‚

  • Lori Widmer April 10, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Nikki, that's the problem a lot of times. It's tough to know when a class will fit and when it's just way too basic or lacking enough info. I remember taking one about ten years ago that was so overly intense (and repetitive) that I just dropped it. I don't quit things, but this was one of those "write two seven-page essays for tomorrow" kind of thing. Not geared toward working writers at all!

    Ashley, thank you for helping make the list that much better. πŸ™‚

  • Yasmin Abdullah April 11, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Thank you so much for sharing such useful information. I have been so overwhelmed as to where I could receive
    affordable training modules that I could also fit into my busy schedule.
    I have found several within these resources that you provided.

    God Bless!

  • Jennifer Mattern April 15, 2015 at 12:42 pm


    I'm not sure how I didn't stop by sooner to comment, but I just wanted to thank you for including some of my resources. πŸ™‚

  • Lori Widmer April 15, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    You're welcome, Jen. And your resources belong on everyone's lists. πŸ™‚

  • Giselle Mazurat April 18, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you very much for sharing. I appreciate your generosity.

  • Giselle Mazurat April 18, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you very much for sharing. I really appreciate it.

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