freelance feature writing

Even established journalists can find it intimidating to start freelancing. But if you can consistently come up with new ideas and deliver to brief and on time then there are plenty of slots that need filling and features editors that need you.

Ellie Levenson has written features and comment across national newspapers and consumer magazines including the Guardian, the Independent, The Times, Daily Express, TES, THES, New Statesman, Cosmopolitan and Easy Living.

She is a lecturer in journalism at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and runs the course Out of Thin Air: How to come up with hundreds of new ideas every day. She is also the author of two non fiction books - The Noughtie Girl's Guide to Feminism and Fifty Campaigns to Shout About.

This correspondence course, by email, takes the student through the entire process of feature writing from coming up with original ideas to writing a pitch, researching the feature and writing the article.

It is ideal for anyone wanting help beginning their freelance feature writing career or anyone who has lost confidence and wants help returning to the market. Although Ellie's experience is in the UK market she is happy to work with journalists from all countries.

Session 1: Ideas

This week you will receive an email looking at ways of getting ideas for features and suggesting exercises you can do over the week to help you do so. You will send Ellie a list of your ideas from these exercises before the next session.

Session 2: Fine tuning your ideas

This week you will receive an email analysing your ideas and helping you to fine tune them into working ideas that commissioning editors will snap up. This includes finding a hook, writing a pitch and finding the right publication. The exercises you are given will enable you to write a pitch and research editors to whom you could send it by next week, and you will send these to Ellie before the next session.

Session 3: Seeking a commission

This week you will receive an email analysing your pitch and getting it to a stage where you are ready to send it to editors. It will also look at how you would go about researching your article and finding
expert sources.

The first three sessions of the course are consecutive weeks on the same day each week (Tuesday or Wednesday), unless agreed beforehand. The second three sessions can be any time over the next six months.

Sessions 4-6: Writing the article

Once you have received a commission, for the week 3 pitch or any other article, please let Ellie know. She will then have an email discussion with you before you write it, addressing any concerns you have, and send you detailed feedback on up to two drafts of your article before you send it to your editor.

Note that sessions 4-6 must take place within six months of starting the course.

Terms and conditions.

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Getting there

About Ellie Levenson

Ellie Levenson is a freelance journalist writing features and comment for a range of national newspapers and magazines.

Publications she has written for include the Guardian, The Times, the Independent, Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, New Statesman, TES, THES, Cosmopolitan, Mother & Baby, Easy Living, Sugar and Chat.

She is the former editor of Fabian Review at the Fabian Society and is a part-time lecturer in journalism at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Ellie is also the author of two non fiction books, The Noughtie Girl's Guide to Feminism (2009) and Fifty Campaigns to Shout About (2011), both published by Oneworld Publications.


"I really enjoyed the course, since I started I’ve had two commissions - amazing! Ellie definitely gave me the confidence to start pitching and was always available to help which was great. I would definitely recommend the course, I just wish it was longer! Now it’s all up to me!" - Anna Bartter, freelance journalist