Advanced Freelance Writing

Learn to be a professional writer by distance learning. Study writing, media studies or journalism. Improve your writing skills, for careers in publishing or as a freelance writer.

Course CodeBWR201
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Improve your chances to sell your work

  • Seek employment with publishers; or elsewhere as a freelance writer
  • Sharpen your writing skills, under guidance from a professional, published writer, as your tutor and mentor.
  • Learn different writing techniques, conduct research and interviews, and plan projects.

Freelance writing is a highly competitive field. Successful freelance writers not only have good writing skills, they have a ‘nose’ for a good story, a mastery of their chosen area of writing, the ability to write quickly and succinctly, good interpersonal skills, and a wide range of useful contacts.

While all these career-building skills are important, they obviously take time to develop. This course builds on skills and experience you might already have. It assumes that you have a solid understanding of writing. You may already have had something published. If you want to build on your past experience and skill though; this is exactly what this course is designed for.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction.
    • Writing Themes, Sentence Structure, Summary Skills, Theme Development (eg. Deductive, Inductive, Classic, Chronological, Descriptive, Analogy, Cause & Effect, Classification, Definition Analysis, Comparison & Contrast, Flashback etc)
  2. Writing a Regular Column
    • Newsletters, News Columns, Criticism Journalism (eg Theatre Critics, Book Reviews, Film Reviews, etc)
  3. Educational Writing
    • Interviewing Skills, Illustrating an article, Putting it all together
  4. Scientific Writing
    • Technical Writing, Statistics
  5. Writing a Biographical Story
    • Developing a draft plan, Research, Writing the final manuscript
  6. Writing a News Article
    • Analysing a news article; writing and illustrating a sporting event
  7. Fiction Writing
    • Category Writing; Mainstream Writing; Characteristics of good fiction (ie. A strong plot;. A hero or heroine; Obvious motivation; Plenty of action; A colourful background), Forming and developing an idea.
  8. Other Writing
    • TV & Radio Scripts, Science Fiction, Conducting a Survey; Developing a Story.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Review basic writing skills and discuss theme development
  • Develop skills in writing a regular magazine or newspaper column.
  • Describe the key elements of educational writing.
  • Describe the key elements of technical writing.
  • Develop skills in interviewing and preparing a biographical story.
  • Develop skills in writing news articles.
  • Develop skills in writing fiction.
  • Describe other writing styles including script writing.

The Heading is Critical

Headlines are the most important part of newsletters or news columns. They will be the first thing read by the reader and, if they do not gain the reader's attention, the reader will not read any further. They must be succinct and have high impact, and they must be relevant to the main text and use appropriate language that can be readily understood by readers.
There are two types of headlines:
  • The label, which is usually only one or two words indicating the topic, but not giving any message or information, e.g. "TREASURER’S REPORT", "What's On", "HISTORICAL NOTES", "Elderly Citizens Club".
    Labels are used as headings in regular columns, where they act as signposts, directing those readers who want to find out more about the topic. Labels do not have sufficient impact or information to be used as news headlines.
  • The sentence, which actually communicates some information, e.g. "Magpies Win Premiership", "PRESIDENT RETIRES", "$4 Million Grant", "Bus Trip to the Snow".
  • The purpose of the sentence headline is to grab the reader’s attention; therefore it is used to communicate newsworthy items. Generally, the best and most effective sentence headlines are short and succinct.

Effective headlines satisfy the following criteria:

  • The headline should contain both a verb and a subject (i.e. either a noun or pronoun).
  • Information in the headline should be included and expanded upon in the main part of the article.
  • News headlines should be based on the central thought within the news.
  • The headline should not be repeated using exactly the same words in the article below.
  • The headline should make sense by itself (it must have its own entity).
  • Use active verbs, not passive verbs. 
  • Use the present tense to create the impression that action is being taken.

If you are involved in the actual production of a newsletter or news publication, you will need to consider how the headlines are to be laid out. Some points to consider:

  • The most important articles have the biggest headlines. 
  • The biggest headlines should be placed towards the top of the page to avoid an unbalanced, bottom-heavy layout.
  • Avoid hyphens in headlines and subheadings by using short words.

Who can benefit from taking this course?

Writers looking to break into freelance markets such as magazines and newspapers.

Freelance writers seeking to access new markets or improve their knowledge of relevant frameworks and writing concepts.

Editors wanting to offer specialised writing services to existing clients and help attract new clients. Specialised services include interviews, scientific writing, and educational writing.

Fiction writers seeking to break into a new market with their work, such as transitioning from fiction to biography, memoir, or creative non-fiction.

At the end of this course you will:

  • Understand how to develop a concept, then set up a structure and begin research
  • Understand how to write a compelling headline
  • Understand how to write a strong introduction or lead for your work
  • Improve your existing writing skills, and discover potential specialisations (such as technical writing)
  • Move on from basic revision strategies to advanced polishing of your manuscript

Next steps

You can start this Advanced Freelance Writing course at any time.

If you have any questions or want to know more - get in touch with us on (in Australia) 07 5562 1088 or (International) +61 7 5562 1088.

You can submit questions to our specialist Writing And Journalism tutors - they will be please to help you with your questions and in choosing a course to suit your career aspirations.

Want something more in depth?

Learn about our certificates and higher qualifications in Journalism and Writing here.

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John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. J
Rachel Syers

Rachel has worked as a newspaper journalist for the past 15 years in a range of roles from sub-editor and social columnist to news reporter, covering rounds such as education, health, council, music, television, court, police, Aboriginal and Islander affa
Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Lear
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