The Reality of Freelance Writing – What Is It Like to Be a Freelance Writer?
Take an Instagram journey with the hashtag #freelancewriting, and you will meet all manner of freelance writing experiences. Users will tell you that freelance writing is an amazing job. That you can perfectly work from the beach and make hundreds of thousands of US dollars. They will back up their sentiments with images and phrases like “no more nine to five.”
Such a habit is not only found on Instagram but also other social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. From sales motivated Facebook group posts, to rich pins that are meant to trigger conversions, falling in love with the lifestyles of the freelancers behind these posts is almost guaranteed.
What you’re not aware of is that such people are usually trying to sell you something. It might be something that is meant to benefit them or both of you. Since, at the end of the day, when they sell, they will always achieve a portion of their goal.
At times, it’s not them who tell you of such a lifestyle. It is you who see such a lifestyle in them. A life with minimal or no rules. Working from home, mostly in their pajamas. Doing simple writing and editing projects at a higher pay. You might be fooled to see writers as people who are heftily paid to do almost nothing.
Coping Up with Irregular Work Schedules
The reality of freelance writing is way different. Take my case, for example, I started working on an urgent project on Sunday Evening. The project came from a long-term client and I chose to take it. Given that the client was from a different time zone, I was to submit the job by 3:00 AM (Monday) my time.
From experience and passion, I am a self-development writer. Although, this was a job on nutrition. All materials had been provided for me, but putting them together to produce a manuscript that entices the audience is where the real art of writing lies in.
I would have chosen to enjoy my weekend, but I opted to handle an urgent order from a client that had trusted my writing. On Monday, just after getting a light sleep, another client came up with some changes on a previous project. It was a busy day, working together with him to ensure that everything is in order before he publishes the work.
Working online doesn’t give you simplicity, but flexibility. For example, you can take on a project in the morning and visit the shops in midday and then resume your work later. You can structure your calendar depending on the weather. If you enjoy some outdoor experience like running, cycling, or walking your dog, you can do it when the traffic outside is minimal and the weather is appealing.
Forget What The Digital Marketers Are Trying to Tell You
And hey! You can’t really do it from the beach. Think about the glare and sand, and the presence of your electronics there! That only equals to a disaster. The next time you see a person posting on Instagram how they are making $1,000 a day working online from the beach, you will need to think twice. They are just selling you something.
When I am asked what I think of freelance writing, what comes to my mind is the cups of coffee. The countless drafts that don’t see themselves in the final project. The random night alarms that wake me up for scheduled Skype calls – with people from different time zones and with different projects. I think of the countless revisions, changes, and embarrassments from clients who can’t just manage to provide proper instructions up front. I think of the days I have had to blackout on my PC keyboard.
Why? Because such sleepless nights, caffeine, and revisions are the sacrifices I have endured to enjoy an afternoon at the beach. They are the foundation I had to make to earn the trust of my long-term clients. When I am able to hire a good car for a weekend retreat road trip, it is because I spent a night somewhere working to earn it.
Never Overlook The Sacrifices!
Most people, more so those who are working on a 9 – 5 job, see the fruit side of freelance writing. They see the joy that blinds them to overlook the sacrifices. That is why such people are fast in underestimating the input one has to make in order to succeed in the field. Ask how many of them would endure three nights of light sleep to focus on project. You won’t be shocked that they too fear sacrifices.
When it comes to money, freelance writing has all the freedom. You earn what you deserve. If you are mean to sacrifice a part of you, you will earn very little just to pay your basic bills. If you underestimate your ability to ask what you deserve, you will always get clients who are looking to exploit you. Someone might be earning $500 from a different time zone while you are earning $10 for the same project and with the same instructions.
Start By Focusing On Building Rather Than Large Money!
Most of the newbies getting into the freelance writing industry come with the money mindset. They are the people who are ready to ditch their regular jobs and focus on this “easy-to-handle” industry. Such people are motivated by easy money, which is just a mistaken illusion!
What I know from experience, anyone I’ve known who got into online business just for money has usually failed. Some failed terribly and had to start all over again in their regular jobs. Freelance writing is hard when you lack the passion. It is lonely if you aren’t ready to exploit your introversion personality or at least be ambiverted. And yes, there is never overnight success here!
By saying that I am a freelance writer, it means that I’m somewhere between an employee and an entrepreneur. At such a situation, I have to assume partial qualities of an employee and partial qualities of an entrepreneur. As an employee, I have to be honest, determined, persistent, willing to work, and with proper work ethics among others. As an entrepreneur, I have to be creative, confident, self-starter, and disciplined to mention but a few.
Lastly, Passion + Work = Double Success!
Before you ask for that freelance writing gig, ask yourself whether you are passionate enough to be creative when handling the project. Ask yourself whether you are disciplined enough to work with no supervision and meet deadlines. Ask yourself whether you are confident enough to handle cold pitching, tens of applications, and Skype calls when looking for a writing gig.
If you lack the passion, I would kindly advise you find something that you really love and you are good at. You can always learn how to monetize it. This is not meant to scare you away from freelance writing, but to prepare you for freelance writing.