As a freelance writer, I know how frustrating it can be to go through dry spells. The first time I hit one, I thought it was great—it happened around Christmas, so I saw it as an extended holiday vacation. But then January hit and there were still no opportunities for me to write. I spent the time working on a novel, but I was so worried about not having a steady income that I couldn't concentrate. Luckily the dry spell ended after about five weeks. And it could happen again at any time.
There are ways for freelance writers to make up for dry spells. If you have no work between lucrative projects, you can work for some of these sites and earn a decent income in the meantime. Here they are (in no particular order):
Textbroker: Textbroker is an easy way to find clients looking for quick articles. Clients post the length and keyword requirements they are looking for and writers take what they need whenever they want. Textbroker also provides a writer rating system to provide writers with good grammar and organization higher paying articles.
Average price per article: $1-$3
Pros: Writers can pick what they want to write; no penalty for not writing every week
Cons: Very low price for what some clients expect; rating can easily be lost if not writing quality articles
Demand Studios: Demand Studios is a freelance site that provides many opportunities for writing as well as editing and filmmaking. Many articles produced for the site are for eHow.com. DS also provides the option to write revenue share articles where no payment is provided upfront, but payments based on page views are paid out monthly.
Average price per article: $5-15
Pros: Get a byline for the articles you write; no penalty for not writing; supportive community
Cons: Only one chance to rewrite an article; inconsistent editing practices
Helium: Helium is a website where people can write opinions, informative articles, and fiction. The website also features an area where writers can compete for additional payment from clients looking for specific articles.
Average price per article: most articles are paid on a per-view/popularity basis (Cashout: $25)
Pros: write and publish what you want; earn for poetry/fiction
Cons: In order to get paid, a writer must also consistently provide article ratings for other articles on the site
eHow: eHow is a website that provides practical articles on how to do something. Writers can also provide pictures and video to their articles to make them stand out.
Average price per article: Payments based on page views/popularity of the article (Cashout: $10)
Pros: Write what you want, when you want; no specific word count
Cons: Pay is low unless you choose a popular topic
Associated Content: Associated Content is a website that lets writers write articles on a wide variety of topics. Most articles are accepted, depending on the level of rights you grant AC. Levels include exclusive, non-exclusive, and display-only. AC also provides payment choices. You can choose to have your article review for up-front payment or choose performance payments only.
Average price per article: $1-$10 for up-front payments; performance payments at $1.50 after 1000 page views.
Pros: Write on any topic; many payment and publishing options; suggested articles are provided
Cons: Unless publishing with a display-only license, articles cannot be removed; articles should have a minimum word count of 400 unless otherwise specified.
Triond: Triond is a website that publishes almost anything from poetry and fiction to long articles on the economy, history, and social issues. Triond also publishes audio, video, and photography.
Average price per article: Payments based on page views/popularity; Payout is monthly if a minimum of $0.50 is earned.
Pros: Publish anything you want; view statistics for your popular keywords/page views/comments
Cons: affiliate links are not allowed to be embedded in articles; articles that are blatant advertisements are not accepted
Not all of these websites will be profitable out of the gate, but these sites can help you work on your writing skills, build a residual income, and keep you writing when work is scarce.