***Updated 2/06/21 with additional resources***

When I first started freelancing, the internet wasn’t filled with the millions (billions?) of resources that are available today. You couldn’t just Google “writing coach” or “how to start a freelance business” and get pages of results to help you be successful. So when I started Virtually Yourz in 2003, there weren’t a lot of resources online to turn to. I had to rely on books, tips from other writers and business owners, conferences, workshops, personal research, and a lot of trial-and-error. You’ve heard the phrase “fake it till you make it”? That was me, starting out.

As my business grew, and I got involved with the Society of Professional Journalists, I was often asked to talk with other journalists and writers about how to get started or how to transition from their day job to a writing job. I taught countless workshops to college students, young professionals and mid-career professionals who wanted to take things to the next level. I even did some consulting work for people who wanted to give freelancing a try, but they wanted one-on-one coaching rather than attending a one-time workshop.

Times have changed, and we now have access to countless online resources and books. We can also join online communities on social media and other platforms that bring us together to share resources. There are so many resources available that you can tap into that you are only limited by your patience and your imagination. It can be overwhelming though, especially if you want to try writing as a side gig and are not sure where to begin.

I’ve reached out to some of my writing friends and have compiled this list of resources, based on my own experience and their recommendations. This is only a small sampling of resources available. I am limiting this post to books and online resources, and I’ve only scratched the surface. In a future post, I’ll add people to follow on social media and writing organizations. If you have suggestions or additions, please contact me at dana@virtuallyyourz.com.

Books for Writers and Editors*

Grammar and Style

The Associated Press Guide to Punctuation
Rene J. Cappon

The Associated Press Stylebook: 2020-2022
The Associated Press

The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications
Amy Einsohn and Marilyn Schwartz

Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity
Benjamin Dreyer, copy chief of Random House

The Elements of Style
William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White

Garner’s Modern American Usage: The Authority of Grammar, Usage and Style
Bryan A. Garner

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Mignon Fogarty, the Grammar Girl

The Subversive Copy Editing by Carol Fisher Saller
Senior Manuscript Editor at University of Chicago Press and
Editor of The Chicago Manual of Style Online’s Q&A

When you Catch an Adjective, Kill It
Ben Yagoda, author and educator

Writing for a Living

The Byline Bible: Get Published in Five Weeks
Susan Shapiro

The Business of Being a Writer
Jane Friedman

The Freelancer’s Bible
Sara Horowitz, founder of Freelancers Union

The Freelance Content Marketing Writer
Jennifer Goforth Gregory, professional B2B writer

Get a Freelance Life
Margit Feury Ragland for Media Bistro

Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content That Works
Janice (Ginny) Redish, author, instructor and consultant

The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing
Linda Formichelli & Diana Burrell

My So-Called Freelance Life
Michelle Goodman, freelance writer and author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide

Secrets of a Freelance Writer: How to Make $100,000 or More
Robert Bly

The Six-Figure Freelancer: Your Roadmap to Success in the Gig Economy
Laura Pennington Briggs

The Wealthy Freelancer
Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage and Ed Gandia

Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing
Kerrie Flanagan

Writer’s Market 2020 – 9th Annual Edition
Robert Lee Brewer, editor

The Writing Process

The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript
Elizabeth K. Kracht, literary agent

Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer: The Artistry, Joy, and Career of Storytelling
J. Michael Styraczynski

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Anne Lamott

Championship Writing: 50 Ways to Improve Your Writing
Paula LaRocque, writing coach

The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
Ralph Keyes, writer, author and writing teacher

Get the Word Out: Write a Book That Makes a Difference
Anne Janzer, award-winning author and nonfiction author coach

Help for Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces
Roy Peter Clark

On Writing
Stephen King, best-selling author

Telling True Stories
Edited by Mark Kramer and Wendy Call

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield

Wrede on Writing: Tips, Hints and Opinions on Writing
Patricia C. Wrede, best-selling author

A Writer’s Coach
Jack Hart

The Writer’s Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear
Anne Janzer, award-winning author and nonfiction author coach

Writing for Story
Jon Franklin

Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too)
Theo Pauline Nestor

Writing to be Understood: What Works and Why
Anne Janzer, award-winning author and nonfiction author coach

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
Roy Peter Clark

Zen in the Art of Writing
Ray Bradbury

*Note: If you purchase one of the books directly from one of the links above, I will earn a small commission from Amazon. I will reinvest that commission in my business and continue to feed my obsessive reading habit. Thank you for helping support the writing community.

Online Resources

Every Writer’s Resource

Freelancer FAQs

Freelance Writing

Jane Friedman

Grammar Girl

Media Bistro


Poets & Writers

SPJ Freelance Community

The Write Life

Write to Done

Writer’s Digest

Writer’s Weekly

Writer’s Write