Why AI is a Godsend for Freelance Writers (Friend NOT Foe)

By Liz Froment •  Updated: 01/23/23 •  8 min read

AI has arrived. 

Sure, it’s been around for a while. AI writing tools like Jasper, Grammarly, and Content at Scale are becoming more and more popular at a wildly fast pace.

But what’s the tool that completely changed the game? ChatGPT. When it dropped in late 2022, everyone was talking about AI. 

When it comes to AI for freelance writers – a lot of people are scared. People worry it’s going to replace writers and take their livelihoods. 

I get it. 

But here’s the deal: AI is here, and it’s not going anywhere. So you have two options:

So, instead of ignoring AI writing tools, let’s embrace them, use them to our advantage, and maximize our productivity. 

Here’s how to start. 

AI Will Change the Way We Write and Edit

AI writing assistants have been around for a while. One of my favorites is Grammarly

Grammarly is an AI tool for freelance writers.

Grammarly is a tool that helps your writing. It “combines rules, patterns, and artificial intelligence techniques like machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing” to spot errors while removing complexity and improving flow. 

Is it perfect? No. But I find it super helpful, and so do a lot of other people. 

That’s the ground floor of AI.

Then you have more complex tools like Content at Scale or Jasper. With these, you can ask the AI to write for you, developing headlines, outlines, and other ideas. You’ll get a rough draft you can edit and make your own. 

ChatGPT is very similar, with a few differences:

  1. It’s free (for now).
  2. It’s incredibly easy to use.
  3. The learning curve is zero.

Ask it to create (almost) anything, and you’ll get something back in seconds. 

The first time I used it, I was blown away. It wasn’t perfect. The writing was formal and elementary. But the output wasn’t nearly as bad as expected.

So after I got over my initial shock and fear, I realized it was an incredible writing assistant that could help freelance writers become more productive. 

But first…

Will AI Writing Assistants Replace Writers?

Short answer, no, I don’t think so.

Well, right now, at least. It’s still clunky and often wrong (though very confidently wrong at times). Sean shared some of his thoughts on the future of freelance writing here.

For brands that want writers with deep expertise on a topic or niche, it’s got a long way to go. This is another reason it’s a good idea to niche into an area of expertise. 

This episode from the Freelance Writer’s Coach Podcast covered the topic well, addressing fears while being realistic about these tools’ explosion. Give it a listen.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.

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How Freelance Writers Can Benefit from AI Tools

The first thing to realize is writing assistants aren’t the enemy. On the contrary, they are valuable tools to help us get over the blank page and generate ideas. 

Beat the Blank Page

I asked ChatGPT to create an outline for this post:

Example of ChatGPT creating an outline

As you’re reading, you can see I didn’t use everything suggested. But I liked some of the headers and decided to include them. 

A lot of people get paralyzed by the blank page. And because of that, they never start. I’ve seen many a budding freelancer give up because the fear of writing anything down was too much to overcome. 

For this, AI tools can be your best friend. 

I’ve asked it to generate outlines, intros, Tweets, sample LOIs, and more. Not to rip, copy, and paste, but to help me get started. To get over looking at a blank page and feeling stuck. 

Sometimes, just seeing something there on the page is all you need to get started. 

AI Can Help Freelance Writers Get Headline Ideas

When we were brainstorming for ideas about how to write about AI tools, ChatGPT helped:

Example of ChatGPT headlines

You might recognize the headline of this post tucked away in there — with a few tweaks. 

I’m usually not great at headlines. And yet, headlines are some of the most important things you write. If you aren’t catching eyeballs on that headline, then no one is clicking.

So ChatGPT has helped me stop overthinking my headlines to death. Instead, I ask it to generate some. I see what it creates, and then I tweak. 

I’ve gotten some awesome ideas in seconds I’m not sure I would have come up with on my own.

Here’s another example from Jasper Chat, that we prepared to help a new freelancer get ideas for writing samples:

Jasper Chat

They aren’t perfect, but you can easily tweak any of these headlines or continue the chat to have a virtually limitless number of ideas for samples or posts.

AI Helps Us to Write Better Content

This is where freelancers can get the most out of AI tools. 

For most of us, we can create content quickly. So while ChatGPT or Jasper or Content at Scale can spit out 1,000 words much faster than I can, it will be 1,000 ok words.

I still have to edit and add more context, personality, and so on to make it more than a mediocre post. 

No one (good at least) can take what these tools spit out and slap them on a blog. Google is checking for AI content. Auto-generated content is a big no-no from Google now:

Google's Spammy AI Content Rules

And if you want to create content that passes Google and the ever-growing list of AI content detection tools, you have to do more. 

Ben Goodey from What the Fxck recently timed how long it took to get an AI-generated post past content detection

The total? About 40 minutes. 

But the post was average at best. And that’s the rub with many AI writing assistants. It’s so easy anyone can do it. As a result, we’re about to see a tidal wave of generic, boring content. 

That means there’s a massive opportunity for freelance writers. 

Be better. 

Write better stuff. Be more engaging. Make people stop and read what you have to say. 

Where you stand out is your experience, your creativity, and your empathy. 

Those are your superpowers — learn to use them.

AI for Freelance Writers: It Helps Work More Efficiently

Freelance writing is a service business, and that means time = money. 

As a soloprenuer, you can create only so much content in a day before your brain turns to mush. So time is a finite resource you need to protect. 

So lean on AI to help. 

As Sam Woods says:

PS Get on his newsletter if you really want to see the potential of AI.

I’ve found myself keeping ChatGPT open all day long. When I’m stuck, I ask it to generate ideas. And almost every time, it gets me on the right track, and my brain fires up again. 

But, of course, ChatGPT isn’t the only tool writers can start using. Here are a few others we’ve been relying on at LRA to help boost productivity, get more organized, and more done in less time.

Grammarly

Full disclosure, I recently became a Grammarly Ambassador (aka Grambassador). So, it shows you how much I love this tool. Install the Chrome plugin, and stop worrying about making stupid spelling and grammar mistakes ever again. 

Check out my full Grammarly review here.

Content at Scale

Sean has been playing around with this AI writing tool for more long-form content, and he’s been pretty impressed. For him, it’s the only tool he recommends if you want to create long-form content. It still has some limitations, and it’s on the pricey side, but can get you going.

Canva

canva write to text example

Did you know Canva has all sorts of AI tools now? You don’t have to spend hours searching for images to go with your posts — especially if you need a photo of something unusual. Instead, use Text to Image and tell it what you’d like to see. 

Consensus

Consensus

If you have to gather a lot of research or data for your writing, you know how long it can take to find the info you need. Consensus is a tool that pulls from millions of scholarly journals. Ask a question, set the date, and see what results come up. It can save you a ton of time.

Otter AI

screenshot of otter ai writing tool

Another massive timesaving tool for me is Otter AI. It’s a fantastic tool for transcription. If I’m on a call with an SME, I turn on Otter to ensure the call is recorded and transcribed in real-time. If a client sends me a pre-recorded video to quote from, I use it to get the transcription automatically. And I’ve started using it on walks to take voice notes when ideas pop up.

Freelance Writing Isn’t Going Away, But It’s Time to Evolve

AI writing tools make it possible to build your content machine more efficiently and effectively. Use these tools to blast through fears of the blank page, spark ideas, and help you outline posts. 

The more you play around with AI assistants and learn how to use them, the better off you’ll be in the long-run. These tools aren’t going anywhere, and AI will improve by leaps and bounds in the coming years, so turn this moment into an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and do more with it.

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Liz Froment

Liz Froment is a full-time freelance writer and the one who keeps Location Rebel running like a well-oiled machine. If she's not writing something informative or witty for her clients, she can most likely be found reading a good book.
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