Freelance Writing

Study freelance writing with professional writers, and learn how to write work that sells.

Course Code: BWR102
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to develop, pitch, and write pieces for freelance markets ranging from magazines and newspapers to online outlets and advertorials. 

In this course you'll cover everything from good grammar to planning and writing features, advertisements, books and more. This course focuses on creating a body of publishable work. Excellent for new and experienced writers alike.


Graduates of this course should:  

  • Have improved communication skills, particularly with respect to clarity, conciseness and correct grammar.
  • Be familiar with the "writing industry"; having a clear idea of where opportunities exist for obtaining work as a freelance writer.
  • Know how to approach potential clients to obtain work, know how to pitch
  • Have an understanding of the processes involved in publishing books, magazines and newspapers; from generating concepts to seeing the finished publication on sale.
  • Student Comments:
    "I found the course to be extremely helpful. It has given me the confidence and the skills to present my work to publishers."  D. Bond, Freelance Writing

    "I have never had the benefit of a writer give feedback on my work. That along with structure and content lessons have been beneficial.Many professional writers start out by freelancing. Learn how to write, what to write, and how publishers buy from freelance writers". Bradley Clark, Australia
    "(The course) has helped me focus on writing and increased my confidence. Provided me with valuable information and improved skills so that I can move forward in my ambitions".  Justine

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Categories of Freelance Writing
    • Steps to getting started
    • Necessary resources (including equipment)
    • Researching the market
    • Sources of information
    • How to develop yourself as a freelance writer
    • Publishing Options
    • Industry Terminology
    • Set Tasks
    • Assignment
  2. Basic Writing Skills
    • How to improve a piece of writing
    • Essential Writing Skills
    • Informative Language
    • Persuasive Language
    • Imaginative Language
    • Connotation and Denotation
    • Literal and Figurative Language
    • Formal and Informal Language
    • Clear Communication
    • Making meanings clear
    • Causes of confusion
    • Ambiguity
    • Concise wording
    • Condensing your writing
    • In-concise writing
    • Phrases linked in a wordy fashion
    • Tautologies
    • Abstract nouns
    • Using too many words
    • Ellipsis
    • Active and passive language
    • Grammatical rules
    • Grammatical Errors
    • Rules of Speech
    • Punctuation
    • Spelling
    • Sentence Structure
    • Types of sentences
    • Composing sentences
    • Building a paragraph
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  3. Planning What You Write
    • Conceptualisation
    • Developing a concept
    • Writing an outline synopsis
    • Planning your writing
    • Word budget
    • Writing structure
    • Research
    • The Writing process
    • Feature writing conventions
    • Feature article structure
    • Introduction, Billboard paragraph, Body, Ending and Closer
    • References
    • A writing routine
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  4. The Publishing World
    • Contacting publishers
    • Periodicals
    • Books
    • Sample Publishers Contract
    • Protecting the writers work
    • Copyright
    • Income from writing
    • Lending rights
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  5. Manuscripts
    • Preparing and presenting your manuscript
    • Editing
    • The Editing Process
    • Self Editing
    • Editing Articles and Manuscripts
    • Writing a Sales Package
    • Target Reader Synopsis
    • The Title
    • Statement of Objectives
    • The Publishing Process
    • Presentation Requirements
    • Submitting your work
    • Publishing processes for ebooks
    • Self publishing online
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  6. Newspaper Writing
    • News articles
    • Short features
    • Investigative article
    • Regular columns
    • Fillers
    • Human interest article
    • Local newspaper articles
    • Interviews
    • Conducting an interview
    • Planning the questions
    • Drawing out answers
    • Accuracy of notes
    • Set task
    • Assignments
  7. Magazine Writing
    • Magazine articles
    • What does a publisher or editor consider
    • Feature articles
    • Types of articles
    • Service articles
    • Travel writing
    • Interviews
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  8. Writing Books
    • Fiction books
    • Writing fiction –plot, viewpoint, characterisation. setting, dialogue, conflict, structure.
    • Target audience
    • Believability
    • Non Fiction books
    • Text books
    • Fact finding
    • Getting book contracts
    • Books in print
    • Assignment
  9. Writing Advertising
    • Writing for public relations
    • Media releases
    • Writing promotional campaigns
    • Messages
    • Selling
    • Effectiveness
    • Writing online advertising copy
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  10. Special Project
    • Reviewing your writing
    • Planning a small book
    • Writing the first chapter

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.


  • Discuss the nature and scope of freelance writing.
  • Evaluate your basic writing skills and identify deficiencies needing attention in order to be successful at freelance writing.
  • Develop a concept for freelance writing which has potential for selling.
  • Identify commercial opportunities to sell writing to publishers.
  • Describe the preparation of a manuscript for submission to a publisher
  • Write commercially viable items for publishing in a newspaper.
  • Write commercially viable items for publishing in a magazine.
  • Plan for production of a commercially viable book manuscript.
  • Write commercially viable advertising.
  • Apply all skills and knowledge so far developed to the production of a complete manuscript.

Success as a freelance writer depends upon finding publishers who will pay for your work.

Freelance writers are dependent on publishers to buy their work and get it into the marketplace, so it is important to get an overview of the world of publishing. Publishers are in the business of editing, designing, printing and marketing books, magazines, reports, newspapers and other written works. At one end of the spectrum is a desktop publishing business run by one person who does all the writing, editing, artwork, printing, promoting and distribution, and at the other end are the multi-national companies that publish thousands of books and magazines worldwide each year.

The people who work in publishing include editors, proof readers, designers, graphic artists, typesetters, printers, literary agents and marketing executives. Allied businesses include distributors, book sellers, newsagents, libraries and public relation companies. Depending on who you sell your work to, you may have dealings with these people.


As a freelance writer, always keep in mind that you have to sell your work to a publisher. This means that to some extent you will need to tailor your writing to meet their needs. Publishers only publish work they can easily sell, and until you are an established writer, they call the shots!

This course recognises the difficulty in making a start. No amount of training will ever guarantee success; but there are ways to improve your chances - and we believe it is important to get help from tutors who are not only qualified in writing, but also "street smart" about dealing with publishers.

Who will benefit from this course:

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

Editors wanting to offer writing services to existing clients and help attract new clients.

Fiction writers seeking a new perspective on their existing work, or to build a new skill set.

The material covered in this course can also help students looking to improve their general and essay writing skills.

At the end of this course you will:

  • Know the difference between different types of writing, including features and newspaper articles
  • Understand how to develop a concept, then set up a structure and begin research
  • Understand how to edit and revise your work

Next steps:

Want something more in depth? Learn about our certificates and higher qualifications in Journalism and Writing here.


  • FLEXIBILITY – Study in your own home and at your own pace.
  • TUTORS – Highly qualified tutors, all experienced in working with distance learning students.
  • STAFF – Our administrative and office support are accessible to ease your learning plan and support you all the way. Replying to our students is always top priority!
  • VALUE – Our courses offer excellent value – compare our cost per study hour.
  • HISTORY – Established in 1979. We are an independent, successful distance learning college. Our longevity says it all – we are an excellent and experienced distance learning college!
  • STUDY RESOURCES – All students have access to our online library, student room and other study resources.
  • LEARNING METHODS – We offer three methods of learning – e-learning, online and traditional correspondence. Choose the method that works best for you. 
  • GRADUATES -Tens of thousands of graduates from all around the world, have gone on to successful careers
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

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 affairs, and agriculture.
Her current role is Fashion Editor, features writer and features sub-editor with The Gold Coast Bulletin. She has co-authored a successful biography "Roma: From Prison to Paradise" about former prisoner-of-war turned yoga guru, Roma Blair, as well as freelanced as a writer, reviewer and researcher for Australian music and celebrity magazines such as WHO Weekly, Rave, Australasian Post and New Idea.
Rachel has a B.Journalism.

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.
John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

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 (Learning Disability Studies).

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