Tools for Organizing Your Freelance Writing Business

by Suzanne Lieurance

The better organized you are as a freelance writer, the better able you’ll be to run a successful business.

Part of being organized means having the proper forms, templates, and other items on hand.

Here’s a partial list of the kinds of items you need to run your freelance writing business:

Professional Resume – You’ll need this when applying for writing jobs. Your writer’s resume is a bit different from a traditional resume. Potential clients need to be able to tell, at a glance, if you’re the person for the assignment they have to offer.

Short Professional Bio – Many times publishers will ask for a short bio to run with your articles or to put on the back cover of your books. There are all sorts of other uses for your bio, so it’s good to have this on hand, although you may customize it just a bit each time it’s used. And remember, the bio you send to clients and publishers should be written in 3rd person.

Weekly Marketing Plan & Work Schedule – With a plan and schedule in place each week, come Monday morning (or whenever your work week starts) all you need to do is follow the plan and stick to the schedule.

Contract and/or Letter of Agreement – A letter of agreement is needed for speaking engagements and author visits; a contract is needed for all sorts of freelance assignments (sometimes the client will provide the contract, but many times you will need to provide it). The more detailed your letter of agreement is for speaking engagements and author visits, the smoother those events will go and the easier (and quicker) it will be for you to receive payment.

Proposal or Estimate Form or Template – When you have a regular form or template to use, it’s easy to write up a proposal or give a potential client an estimate for a project.

Invoice Template – A template makes it simple to invoice clients. It doesn’t need to be complicated. It just needs to spell out your assignment and the terms of this assignment, including how much you will be paid for it and the date payment is due.

Client List – You need to keep track of clients & their contact information, plus other important details that will help you serve them better. Include editors, publishers, business clients, etc.

Query & Submissions List - This is a MUST for keeping track of all the publications you send queries or manuscripts to. You can keep this list in an online file or in a looseleaf notebook—whichever works best for you. I prefer a notebook because I can look through it without using my computer.

Sample Confidentiality Agreement – Some clients may want this, and a template will make it easy to personalize the agreement for different clients. When potential clients ask about your services, let them know you’ll send them a confidentiality agreement for their review before you start working together.

These are just some of the most basic forms, templates, and other tools you’ll need to run your freelance business. Make sure you have these items on hand to keep your business well organized and running smoothly and efficiently. 

Many of these tools are available (free) in our Private Resource Library for Writers when you join the mailing list at

As a subscriber, you'll also receive The Morning Nudge.

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over 40 published books and a writing coach. 



Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, thanks for this list of forms every freelance writer should have. I hadn't thought of a Proposal template.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

thank you, Suzanne! I have a little trick I use to simplify. That Is, I use a general media kit for the several aspects of my my writing (genres, consulting, etc.) and then, delete and tailor when I have a need to send to send it to someone so they get exactly what I think they would actually need for the project we are working on. I also use it pick up bios of different sizes as copy-and-pastes as well as segments from it as needed. It's my double/triple/quadruple workhorse! My The Frugal Book Promoter has a section in it for a media kits and it does it blow-by-blow right down to font suggestions and what sections that media folk tend to need. Don't forget to add your kit to a media kit on author websites, too! See mine in the media room on my website.

Terry Whalin said...


Thank you for this great article about the various forms and templates we need for freelance writing. I've had to create most of these myself but it's a wonderful shortcut to get them from someone else.


deborah lyn said...

Thank you,Suzanne, for this wonderful article outlining the tools necessary for organizing our writing business! And our files!
Thanks too for mentioning where we can find them -
"Many of these tools are available (free) in our Private Resource Library for Writers when you join the mailing list at "
I can add that - Your "Private Resource Library for Writers" is fantastic!

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