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My email inbox is a distraction. I try to stay out of it except for specific time blocks that I’ve set aside for that purpose. But there are certain emails that make me want to open them right away. I kid you not. My heart literally skips a beat when I get an email from one of these people. These are my online freelance writing mentors.
What is a mentor?
Traditionally, mentoring is a relationship between an older or more senior person and a less experienced person. The mentor provides guidance, advice, and feedback in their specific area of experience. This usually involves face-to-face interactions between the two persons involved.
But a mentor can simply be someone who inspires you. Someone who’s already traveled the road that you are now on and learned the lessons you want to avoid. You can have multiple mentors in specific areas of your life. You don’t have to know them personally. In fact, they don’t even have to know that you exist.
How to find an online writing mentor
The internet makes it easy to find online mentors and you have a variety of options from hiring a writing coach (check out my friend Safiya) to buying a book written by a successful writer you admire. Other ways to find a writing mentor include following the blog or YouTube channel of a successful writer, buying their online writing courses, joining their Facebook groups, or listening to their podcasts.
This is how I found my own online freelance writing mentors. Let me introduce you to them.
Chris Fox is a former iPhone app developer, who is now the author of over 20 novels. He’s also written a non-fiction series, Write Smarter, Write Faster to teach others how to become successful writers.
The first book in the Write Smarter, Write Faster series is 5000 Words per Hour which was one of the first writing books I read when I started blogging. It introduced me to writing sprints. Writing sprints are short five to thirty-minute bursts of writing. They help you find the time to write in between everything else.
This was extremely helpful to me because I was still working full time when I read this book. I used the writing sprint technique to create blog content during my five to fifteen-minute breaks. Another book in the series, Lifelong Writing Habit, has also become one of my favorites. It teaches you how to create a daily (and lifelong) writing habit.
A bonus about the books in this series is that the Kindle versions are always reasonably priced at 99c and come with a WhisperSync audio version for $1.99 (I love it when there is a WhisperSync version because I like to read and listen at the same time)
If you want though, you can download the pdf version of 5000 Words per Hour on Chris’ website for free (well, in exchange for your email address)
5000 Words Per Hour : Write Faster, Write Smarter
Lifelong Writing Habit : The Secret to Writing Every Day
Elna Cain is a professional online writer and is considered one of the leading writing experts in the industry. Her writing has been featured in a variety of popular publications including Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Freelance Writing, and Smart Blogger. her aim is to help others earn a living with a profitable freelance writing business while avoiding the pitfalls she encountered.
Elna also offers her own B2B freelance writing services at Innovative Ink, blogs at ElnaCain.com, TwinsMommy and manages the FreelancerFaqs. ElnaCain.com has been voted among the top 100 Best Sites for freelance writers for five years in a row. It provides valuable advice on how to become a successful professional writer based on her own freelance writing journey.
What I like about Elna is that she gives you practical information in bite-sized pieces to help you learn how to choose your writing niche(s), schedule your writing day, how to land your first freelance writing client, and even pitching examples.
The best part is that all of this info is available for free on her blogs, her YouTube channel, Elna Writes, and her free email writing course Get Paid to Write. If you want to go all-in and begin your journey as a freelance writer, I highly recommend her WriteTo1K course which can help you become a paid writer in a short space of time (I’m enrolled).
This course provides everything you need to set up your freelance writing business. You’ll get email swipe copy, templates, and tracking sheets. Elna also provides a list of the best job boards for finding clients and access to her pitch template archive (no content mill or $5 Fiverr stuff here).
When you’re done, or if you already have freelance writing experience but want to get paid more, check out her Freelance Blogging in a Weekend course.
FREE WRITING COURSES
PAID WRITING COURSES
WriteTo1K – become a well-paid writer in just a few short weeks
Freelance Blogging in a Weekend – learn how to write high-paying long-form blog posts
Yuwanda Black is an experienced freelance writer who blogs at InkwellEditorial . She earns her living writing for clients, blogging, self-publishing fiction, and non-fiction ebooks, and selling e-courses.
She’s also been featured in a number of traditional and online publications including Bee Your Own Boss ( Entrepreneur.com ’s small business magazine), Black Issues Book Review magazine, and The Chicago Tribune.
The author of several fiction and non-fiction books, Yuwanda also owns New Media Words, an SEO content writing company. Yuwanda is an American, but being a freelance writer allows her to live and work part-time from the Caribbean. She worked full time from Jamaica from 2013 to 2019.
At InkwellEditorial .com, Yuwanda writes about all things related to freelance writing including SEO, blogging, self-publishing, and affiliate marketing. She also offers free and paid courses on the same subjects. I’m also enrolled in her SEO Copywriter Training course (which is now open for enrollment until Aug 10)
The course not only teaches you the ins and outs of SEO copywriting but also how to set up your entire online freelance writing business. You’ll learn how to choose your writing niche, create and implement a marketing plan, and set your rates. You can view the entire syllabus here.
If you’re a non-fiction author and considering self-publishing your own books, check out her newest course How to Make Money Self Publishing Non-Fiction.
BOOKS AND EBOOKS
Anne Janzer is an award-winning author and speaker on a mission to help people communicate more effectively. Her books have won many awards, including the Independent Book Publishers IPPY award, the Foreword Indies Book of the Year, Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal, and the IndieReader Discovery Award.
After years of writing for technology companies, she wrote her first book about marketing for the subscription economy. Since then she’s written three more books about writing: The Writer’s Process, Writing to Be Understood, and The Workplace Writer’s Process.
The Writer’s Process was also among the first books that I read when I started blogging. It helped me to understand the writing process and how important it is to separate the muse and the scribe. I also learned about freewriting (basically a brain dump). In this book, she also provides her personal 7-step writing process to help you manage your time and get your writing done.
Anne blogs about writing at annejanzer.com, where you can sign up for her Writing Practices email list (she often gives away books) and her online writing courses. She also offers private virtual writing workshops.
The Writer’s Process : Getting Your Brain in Gear
Writing to Be Understood : What Works and Why
The Workplace Writer’s Process : A Guide to Getting Your Job Done
Getting Started on Your Nonfiction Book which is currently at a reduced price due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Revising Your Writing : To Become a Better Writer, Revise Wisely
Ashlyn is a creative copywriter and calligrapher whose aim is to help you learn how to create copy that converts (i.e make you money). After burning the candles at both ends, working in the fast-paced world of PR and marketing by day, and creating calligraphy orders for brides by night, Ashley ended up hospitalized for general anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder. She was only 27.
When she recovered, she ditched the corporate life and eventually started Ashlyn Writes – a place where creative women can go to learn email marketing hacks, copywriting techniques, and productivity tips so you’re working from a place of rest – instead of hustling.
What I like about Ashlyn is that she is building her business with a God-centric point of view and, like me, has a brain that wavers (almost equally) between being creative and analytical. This is what she says about herself:
“As a kid, I was most comfy when artsy freedom merged with classical technique. (Basically … I sat in AP Art feeling too bookish to go into a ballet company, and too creative to enjoy something like majoring in business. Maybe you can relate”.
I can definitely relate. I usually get something like 51% analytical and 49% creative on those quizzes and tests. I’m like “… but I like math AND art!”. Anyways, lol…
On Ashlyn Writes, she offers several free and paid resources like templates for creating your elevator pitch or professional bio. My favorite free resources are the Batch Theme Days Mini Training and the Website Copy template.
Free Resources including website copy templates and a schedule for batch theming your days.
Paid Resources : templates for creating your elevator pitch, professional bio and sales pages.
Ashley Gainer is an experienced freelance writer, digital marketer, and content strategist. On her website, you can find writing courses (free and paid) and blog content to help you take your writing to the next level. She also runs the Copy Chatter podcast and a free Facebook group called The Ink Well Guild where you can ask questions and get feedback about freelance writing.
On her blog, you can find content to help you learn the difference between content writing and copywriting, where to find freelance work, how to set your rates, and how to stay productive as a freelancer.
One of her most popular online writing courses is Clips Camp, which helps beginner writers get out of the learning phase (guilty) and build a freelance writing portfolio of sample work (clips) so they can start making money.
I haven’t bought this course (yet)… not because I don’t want to. I’m on a self-imposed ban from buying courses for a while because there’s a slight possibility (very slight 😌) I might have a problem with that 🙈
If you have the same (slight) problem you can satisfy yourself by downloading the free Freelance Writing Starter Pack. In it, you’ll find the five steps to starting out as a freelance writer, pitch examples and templates, and five places to find freelance work as a beginner.
Various paid courses
My most recent online freelance writing mentor is Henneke Duistermaat. She’s a marketer and copywriter with 15 year’s experience in sales and marketing and is a regular contributor to popular marketing blogs like Copyblogger and KISSmetrics.
I signed up for her free 16 part snackable writing course where she sends you 16 snacks (and a few freebies) via email and got hooked. I can’t tell you the excitement I felt over those 16 days when I saw her name in my inbox.
Enchanting marketing has become one of my favorite online writing websites. These days you can find me down the rabbit hole of content marketing and copywriting tips for small business owners that she dishes out over on her blog Enchanting Marketing.
I’ve bought both her books, but I haven’t read them as yet because I’m still captivated with all the free information on her blog that can help me improve my blogging and copywriting skills.
Seriously, if you want to get into copywriting or just want to liven up your blog posts, check her out.
BOOKS AND EBOOKS
A Pain Free Process for Writing Your “About” Page : How to boost your credibility and ooze personality.
How to Write Seductive Web Copy : An Easy Guide to Picking Up More Customers
Blog to Win Business : How to Enchant Readers and Woo Customers
Enchanting Copywriting : Learn how to write a persuasive sales page (without selling your soul)
Write It, Don’t Fight It : A step-by-step course to become a prolific and joyful writer
If you’re thinking of becoming a freelance writer (check out this list of useful resources), it’s not hard to find a mentor online who can help you on your journey. Buy their books or sign up for their courses or simply learn from the free content on their blogs and podcasts.
Do you have any online mentors (writing or otherwise)? Share them in the comments.