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Why Do You Want to Work as a Freelance Writer?

If you want to know the benefits to and how to get started on working as a freelance writer, you won’t find it difficult to get your hands on the information you need. There are dozens of authority blogs out there with treasure troves of tips, tricks and advice that will really help you out if you’re really serious about pursuing freelance writing as your career.

However, there is one question about freelance writing that you and you alone can answer, and that question is this:

Why do you want to work as a freelance writer?

Many people seem to think that freelance writing is a really cushy job. One friend actually told me he thought all I did all day was to play Facebook games and World of WarCraft.

Carrie Bradshaw at work as a freelance writer

Freelance writers rarely look as glamorous as Carrie Bradshaw when at work.

And then there are the likes of Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw, who partied and drank cosmopolitans with her girlfriends in classy bars and indulged a love for high fashion and expensive designer footwear in between writing her column and her articles. I hate to sound dated, but Carrie is the best example I could think of a freelance writer who seems to have got it made and is living a glamorous lifestyle.

Except Carrie Bradshaw is not a real person.

Carrie Bradshaw is a TV character. And, as blogger Lucy Ledger said, Carrie gives freelance writers a bad name. A typical freelance writer simply can’t afford building a wardrobe full of Marc Jacobs or Vivienne Westwood designs, or spend night after night at chichi bars with a glass of cosmopolitan in hand.

Your run-of-the-mill freelance writer is usually scrabbling to make ends meet, squeezing as many projects as she can work on in her limited time. This is especially true when she’s just starting out. If she can make the rent and have enough money to pay her credit card bills for the month, then she can breathe. If not, well, she’ll just have to scrabble some more.

A freelance writer doesn’t have a fixed income. Working as a writer-for-hire will sometimes net you a couple of thousand dollars in a month. Sometimes you’d see ten grand or more in your bank account. If you hit a dry spell, you won’t see anything at all.

Irregular income is not the only challenge you will face as a freelance writer.

Working freelance can also be incredibly lonely. It came to a point that I’d talk to my friends only through email, texting and instant messaging. I’d go out only to buy groceries and claim my Western Union payments. Facebook, Twitter and Skype were still unheard of when I started freelance writing, and when they became popular they didn’t appeal to me much because they’re distracting. Until now, my use of social networks is still very limited.

Another thing about working from home as a freelance writer is if you don’t watch it, you will gain a lot of weight. You have to force yourself to work out when you can and not to eat when you’re bored. Before I started freelance work, I was a size six. Now, I am a size 16.

Freelance writing also challenges your knowledge of the writing craft as well. When you’re a writer-for-hire, it’s not enough that you know how to write well. You also need to learn about things like SEO. Additionally, you need to learn how to adapt your writing style to your audience. As a freelance writer, you don’t write for yourself anymore. This realization alone can be humbling and frustrating at the same time.

Working as a freelance writer can be numbing and tedious, too. There will be times when you won’t feel up to tackling your projects because the topic isn’t interesting for you. It could be because you’ve written about the same thing so many times that the topic has lost its sparkle for you and mere mention of it already makes you nauseous.

At the end of it all, the only thing that matters is your “why.”

By the time you’ve spent a year working as a freelance writer, you’d have done away with all the illusions of glamour that freelance writing may have held for you. When you finally realize that this job isn’t what you may have initially thought it to be, that is the time you should go back to why you wanted to pursue this line of work in the first place.

When you get bored out of your wits, when you get frustrated with your clients, when the money isn’t coming as quickly as you want it to, when you are feeling discouraged – you always go back to the “why” of it all. Why do you want to work as a freelance writer?

The freelance writing business is a tough business. But you’ll be able to weather it as long as you keep your eyes on your “why,” no matter what that “why” is.

So, why do you want to work as a freelance writer?

Image from Lucy Ledger Designs.

 

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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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5 comments

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  1. Gamin

    I was very excited when I started freelance writing. My excitement reached another level when I got to see how much I made in my first few months. However, the longer I wrote, the more burned out I felt. I did not like the topiccs I was writing about because I wanted something new. Then I realized I was no longer watching my favorite television shows. I haven’t even watched a movie in months. I no longer have the time to read a book each week.
    There were lots of times when I contemplated stopping and getting an office job. But then I always come back to the main reason I got in this career in the first place: my love for writing and the desire to have more control over my time so I can spend more of it with the people I care about.
    You’re right. Freelance writing has a lot of challenges. But if you are truly passionate about it, you’re going to see through all of them.
    Gamin recently posted..The Secret to Becoming a Better Freelance Writer is…My Profile

    1. annasibal.com/about-anna

      Hi, Gamin. First of all, thanks for visiting my blog. And I can relate with what you’ve said. I went through a long period of burnout too, and my work suffered for it. But it’s as you’ve said, passion is what gets us through this line of work.

      1. Gamin

        Right. As long as we stay passionate about something, everything else follows.
        Gamin recently posted..The Secret to Becoming a Better Freelance Writer is…My Profile

  2. Tara Lynne Groth

    This is all so true. Freelance writing is WORK, just like any other job, but like any job you should love what you do in order to be happy. I wanted to be a freelance writer because it had always been my dream to run my own business doing what I love: Writing. Next month will be my 2-year anniversary of resigning from a salaried job to run my writing business. Through my writing I love helping other business owners grow their organizations.
    Tara Lynne Groth recently posted..200 Words With Lyn Fairchild HawksMy Profile

    1. annasibal.com/about-anna

      Hi, Tara. I agree with you. Freelance writing is definitely work, but if you really love what you’re doing, you’d be happy with it, just like with any other job. Congrats on the second-year anniversary. 🙂

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