Writing Contract

Freelance Writing Contract Example

Freelance writer or client? Our "Freelance Writing Contract Example" protects both parties and avoids misunderstandings.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding a freelance writing contract, then consult a lawyer or other legal professional.

It doesn’t matter if you're a freelance writer or a business hiring one - a freelance writing contract is an essential part of a successful working relationship. Not only does it help you avoid misunderstandings by clarifying the terms and conditions of your agreement, but it protects the interests of both parties throughout the project.

At least, when it’s done correctly.

If a freelance writing contract is going to be effective, then it needs to use the right language and have the right elements for your unique situation. That’s why we’ve put together a list of freelance writing contract examples to help you find the one that best suits your needs.

But before we get into those, it’s important to clarify a few things about these types of agreements. After all, you should know exactly what you’re looking for here!

What Is a Freelance Writing Contract?

A freelance writing contract is a legally binding document that establishes the terms and conditions of a working relationship. It covers everything from the scope of work to payment information to ownership rights, and any other relevant details about the work in question.

Basically, a freelance contract helps to ensure that the freelancer and hiring company are both on the same page. And, perhaps more importantly, it can also prevent either party from dealing with potential legal issues down the road.

What Should You Include in a Freelance Writing Contract?

What you include in your freelance contract depends, to an extent, on the project and the relationship between both parties. For example, if you’re the hiring party and you’re not really concerned about confidentiality or the writer working with competitors, then you may not need to include these clauses in your contract.

On the other hand, if you’re a freelance writer working for a business or individual that you trust, then you may be fine with a simpler contract.

As you’ll see in our list of freelance writing contract examples shortly, this type of agreement can take many forms. But they typically include some mix of the following elements:

  • Scope of work: Including the project’s details, deadlines, deliverables, and expectations regarding revisions

  • AI policy: The grounds under which AI use is acceptable (if any), and if an AI detector will be used to to ensure originality

  • Payment terms: The rate, frequency, and method of payment

  • Copyright: Who owns the final product

  • Termination: Under what grounds can either party terminate the contract, and any associated penalties or expenses

  • Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure: Prevents the writer from revealing sensitive information or trade secrets from the hiring company

  • Non-compete: Prevents the writer from working with the hiring company’s competition

  • Independent contractor: Specifies that the writer is an independent contractor, and not an employee of the hiring company

  • Signatures: Both parties need to sign the contract for it to be valid

Of course, there are other key terms that you may see in a freelance writing contract. These are just some of the most common.

Freelance Writing Contract Examples

Ready to get started on your writing contract? Here are some templates and examples that you can use to set the stage for a successful working relationship:

1. Freelance Writing and Editing Contract from Dan Mattia

Looking for an example freelance writing contract written from a freelancer’s perspective? Then check out Dan Mattia’s Freelance Writing and Editing Contract

It may not be the most comprehensive, but it includes important details that freelancers should consider including in their own contracts, especially in terms of project scope and payment.

2. Freelance Writer Agreement from Politico

On the other side of things, this Freelance Writer Agreement from Politico was created for those writing for The Daily Caller. This example shows exactly what the company expects from their freelance writers, and includes details that may be helpful to hiring managers.

3. Freelance Writer Contract from RocketLawyer

Once you have a good idea of what you’d like to include in your contract, especially in terms of scope and payment, then a template can help you make sure you’re covering everything. Amending a contract after it has been signed isn’t always easy, so it’s important to get everything right the first time.

As of this writing, freelancers and hiring companies have customized RocketLawyer’s Freelance Writer Contract over 30,000 times, and it’s easy to see why. It’s not only comprehensive, legally binding, and enforceable, but you also have the option to ask a lawyer questions about the contract, and even sign it online for free.

4. Freelance Contract Template from PandaDoc

PandaDoc’s Freelance Contract Template is another popular option with almost 14,000 downloads. This one includes just about everything you may need and more, like warranties, limitation of liability, and insurance.

There’s just one thing: you’ll need to sign up for an account to take advantage of this template. But it’s not all bad. The account is free, and doesn’t require a credit card.

5. Freelance Contract Template from Legal Templates

If you’re reluctant to sign up for an account to access the template, then this Freelance Contract Template from Legal Templates may be a better fit. Their step-by-step document builder is straightforward and user-friendly, and you’ll only need to sign up for an account if you want to save your progress.

Can’t I Just Use AI to Create a Freelance Writing Contract?

With artificial intelligence (AI) making its way into just about every industry on the planet, you may be wondering if it can help you create a freelance writing contract too. The short answer is yes, you can use AI to generate a writing contract. But you need to do so carefully - and ChatGPT agrees.

When I asked ChatGPT 3.5 to “write me a freelance writing contract”, it provided me with a very basic template. Sure, it included most of the the main elements like scope of work, compensation, ownership, confidentiality, term and termination, and even a governing law and miscellaneous section, but it ended with this:

“Please ensure to customize this template with specific details relevant to your freelance writing project and consult with a legal professional to ensure it meets your needs and complies with applicable laws in your jurisdiction.”

Even ChatGPT knows that you shouldn’t use an AI-generated contract as-is. It’s better as a jumping off point than anything. In fact, if you receive a contract from a writer or client, it may even be worth running it through an AI content detector to check its origins before distributing or signing it.

If you find that there’s a high likelihood that the contract is AI-generated, then you’ll know to check it over carefully.

Final Thoughts

Freelance writing contracts and examples can be a great starting point for your written agreement, but it’s important to customize them accordingly. What works for one freelance writer or hiring company may not work for another, so make sure any contract you end up with includes all of the elements and details that are essential to your project and business.

And remember, if you really want to cover all of your bases, then hire a lawyer to look over your contract before adding your signature. You may need to pay a fee, sure, but there’s a good chance it will be a lot cheaper than dealing with any potential legal trouble in the future.

Jess Sawyer

Jess Sawyer is a seasoned writer and content marketing expert with a passion for crafting engaging and SEO-optimized content. With several years of experience in the digital marketing, Jess has honed her skills in creating content that not only captivates audiences but also ranks high on search engine results.

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