Editor’s note: The Freelance Writers Den only opens for enrollment a few times each year. If you want to be notified when it opens, your best bet is to join the waiting list.
I’ll be honest: a huge part of the reason I became a writer was to avoid networking.
I’m an introvert and also one of those kids who, when tasked with group projects, made everyone else in the group give me their stuff so I could do it all myself. “Teamwork” and “collaboration” don’t have prominent places in my vocabulary.
But as I quickly learned (and as you know if you’ve spent more than two seconds trying to freelance), this is not a business where you can go it alone. Finding a writing community, or at least some reliable industry resources you can turn to, is a critical step to creating the kind of freelance career you’re dreaming of. And fortunately, there’s an option that doesn’t require leaving the house — or even putting on pants.
What is the Freelance Writers Den?
Taking place entirely online, the Freelance Writers Den is the perfect place to find a resource-packed writing community, especially for socio-phobes like me.
But since its 1,100+ members come from all over the world, it’s also helpful for bona fide extroverts, even if they do already have access to a real-life writing circle. Even the richest local writing community can’t compete with global!
The Den was founded in 2011 by Carol Tice, the “Den Mother” and mind behind the Make a Living Writing blog. She’s been a successful freelancer for more than 15 years and today earns six figures doing it. She wanted to help other freelancers find real financial success as efficiently as possible — and also to stop the influx of one-off how on earth do I do this? emails she had in her inbox.
Membership to the Freelance Writers Den comes with a host of useful tools, content, and learning opportunities, which we’ll dive into below. It costs $25 per month with no obligation — which isn’t crazy expensive, but isn’t nothing, either.
So what do you get for your price of entry?
What features do you get as a Writers Den member?
For most of us, freelancing isn’t exactly a get-rich-quick scheme — so when we pony up for a writing resource, we want to know we’re getting our money’s worth.
Here’s what the $25-per-month Freelance Writers Den Membership gets you.
Online community forums
Ever sit down to write a story (or pen a pitch, or start a blog, or — you get it) and wish you had a friendly fellow freelancer whose shoulder you could tap to ask for advice, or even just commiserate?
The Freelance Writers Den forums are the next-best thing: an active, affable group of writers convening to swap tips, ask and answer questions, and share both challenges and success stories.
Unlike even the most active real-life writers’ group, the Den’s forums are open for your musings 24/7, and they’re organized into helpful and relevant categories. Maybe you’re looking to amp up your marketing skills or ask a specific writing question — or maybe you’re just looking to meet more writers in your position. Either way, there’s a board for it, and a writer (or ten) on the other end waiting to connect.
Live and recorded resources
The Freelance Writers Den is first and foremost a community, and the ability to connect with other freelancers working to meet their goals is invaluable on a fundamental level.
But there’s also a whole lot of expertise to be mind from that community, and it’s available in the form of more than 300 hours of evergreen resources — as well as an actively-updated calendar of live events.
- Bootcamps are essentially four-week-long ecourses, and your Writers Den membership gives you instant access to almost two dozen of them. They’re designed to help you get to the next step in your writing career no matter where you are on your journey, from finding your first-ever paid gig to breaking into business writing or building a better writer website. Each bootcamp comes complete with videos and engaging homework assignments, and the ones offered live on a monthly basis feature real-time Q-and-A calls to help you make the most of the effort you’re putting into the course. They’re also augmented by discussions in the forums so you can connect with other writers diving into the same topics, and get feedback from the experts dishing the details. (In other words, it’s nothing like being yelled at by a Drill Instructor.)
- Webinars and Podcasts are also offered by industry influencers on a regular basis, including a helpful “Ask the Editor” series which gives you an insider view of what, exactly, editors are looking for. You’ll also learn to overcome fear, increase productivity, and figure out the business end… not to mention, of course, honing the craft itself.
- The Resource Library is where all this content lives once their livestream has passed, and it’s packed with over 300 hours of content. So even if you can’t make the scheduled events, you’ve still got plenty of helpful goodies to wade through.
Non-crappy job board
Finding gigs is one of the hardest parts of freelancing, hands down. Finding good gigs is even harder.
That fact is why I really appreciate the Den’s built-in job board, which is heavily moderated. You won’t find anything that pays less than $50 per post.
New listings are added twice weekly, on Mondays and Thursdays, so you’re not inundated — but there’s also no shortage of opportunities to scope out. You’ll find both remote and on-site listings for copywriters, editors, content marketers and more, and along with regular old freelance gigs, there are also part-time, contract, and retainer positions. The nature of the gig is made clear before you even click on the listing. Pretty darn cool.
That’s really just the start of what’s available; as the helpful Orientation Guide puts it, the Den has “a lot of nooks and crannies.” Fortunately, you can easily keep tabs of it all with once-weekly newsletters that come out every Monday, getting you ready to tackle your week with strength and success.
What do I like about the Freelance Writers Den?
I’ve been making a living as a freelancer for a while now, and only just learned about this resource. Which parts made me say, “Man, I wish I’d known about this earlier?”
Well, I’ll admit it: I’m not really the ecourse type. I’m midway through my third full year of freelancing, and I’ve yet to find one I’m willing to drop money on. (Of course, I was lucky enough to learn a lot of my freelancing skills through friendships with other writers, giving me a jump-start that not everyone gets. There’s that networking thing again!)
But I know plenty of writers adore ecourses — and I have to say, a Den membership seems like a great way to access them. It offers both an active, rotating calendar of live events as well as scores of pre-recorded bootcamps, podcasts, and webinars, and you get into all of it for just $25 per month. That’s way less than the fees I usually see advertised on private ecourses.
What I do love about the Freelance Writers Den: the job board and the forums.
- The gigs posted on the job board are authentic, high-quality, and easy to filter, and I saw a few that hadn’t already crossed my radar via the grapevine or my newsletters. It’s nice to know they’ve been pre-screened for non-crappiness, so I don’t have to be quite as critical as I usually am while I’m clicking through. No freelancer has time to work for peanuts, and we have even less time to scrounge around on the internet trying to figure out where the well-paid jobs are. So for me, the Den’s job board is easily worth the price of entry all on its own.
- The forums are an amazing way for a work-from-home writer to interface with other real, live people — who actually understand the unique challenges we face as freelancers and can help us find the resources, opportunities, and advice we need. I especially love the board dedicated to feedback and critiques, which allows you to get some gentle constructive criticism from other writers before you ship off your piece to an editor or potential client. Hey, better to hear it from a peer than a paying customer — or to have it derail your pitch!
What do I not-so-like about the Freelance Writers Den?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love about this community. The recorded content could keep you busy for months, and with a vibrant group of writers ready to chat in real time, you’ve got other minds to bounce those new tips and tricks off of.
But no platform is perfect — and if I had to pick a part of the Writers Den that could use improvement, I’d say the user interface could be a little bit more intuitive. Those “nooks and crannies” Tice mentions are well-described; it’s easy to get lost back here! And while the main parts of the site are helpfully listed as links in the site header, I constantly feel like I might be missing something as I click around.
Ready to sign up for the Freelance Writers Den?
So what’s the catch? Well, the Freelance Writers Den only opens its digital doors to the public twice a year.
If you want to be notified the next time it’s open for enrollment, your best bet is to join the waiting list.
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