Thoughts on Freelance Writing?

13 Apr

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to make money writing. Now that I actually am–albeit from articles rather than novels–I can safely say that this is what I’d like to do, and what I think I’d be successful doing. Not right away, of course. And I know there isn’t a lot of money in it. But let’s say Cal gets a full-time job and monetary worries are low. Could I really get into freelance writing?

What appeals to me most is that it’s work-from-home. No dress code, no one breathing down your neck, no coworkers you might not like. I know a lot of people want to work from home and not everyone is very good at the reality of it. They prefer to have people around, they lack motivation, work ends up getting done at midnight right before the deadline…

I think I’ve got the organization, to-do lists, time management, and deadline-keeping down pat. I mean, look at senior year’s two-theses-and-a-300levelPfeifferclass. Look at NaNo. Really, the idea that I’d never have to wear grown-up clothes and uncomfortable shoes every day is the key here. Also the being-my-own-boss. I’m a big fan of “Don’t tell me what to do!” 

I guess in regards to all this I worry that I’d start off pretty strong, making sure I started writing at 9 every morning to get things done or whatever, and then slowly degenerating over time to get to the point where I’m cramming things in at midnight right before they’re due. What if I just sit here on Facebook all day?

My other worry is that I’d struggle with the actual writing of things. Would creativity be the right word here? I know I’m creative, but coming up with topics is pretty rough for me. Given, say, “a blog about fish,” I’m not sure how many articles I could come up with. Well, maybe fish is a bad example–fish can be pretty interesting. But something like “cleaning supplies” or “refrigerators” would be a struggle. What I like about Today I Found Out, where I’m now writing regularly, is that they have a giant list of specific topics to choose from. I just have to pick something that interests me and write about it. But this isn’t the norm for most freelance writing jobs, from what I’ve gathered.

The other thing is, what if I get too burned out writing for other people to write for myself? Another appealing theoretical aspect of this is that if I finish the projects scheduled for the day, I could spend the rest of the day attempting to finish/polish a novel and send it out. Is that something that only happens in dream-land?

Pretty much, I’m looking at my weekly articles for TIFO and thinking, “Look at me, I’m making money while sitting on the couch. Wouldn’t it be great if I could do more of this? I’d set up my own study and wear my pajamas to work! Wait, this sounds too good to be true. Am I glorifying this in my head? There are so many things that could go wrong…”

I’d love to hear your responses! If anyone reading this has done/is doing freelance writing, what advice can you give in regards to the above questions? What do you like/dislike about freelancing? What advice would you give to someone with basically no experience who’s interested in starting?


5 Responses to “Thoughts on Freelance Writing?”

  1. Ellespeth April 13, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    My advice would be to get up at 9AM. Make the bed. Get dressed. (Writing is a job.) Have a coffee and breakfast. Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t text or post to any blog or internet anything. Write for several hours. Have a lunch. Always have chilled champagne available.

    • inkhearted April 13, 2013 at 8:40 am #

      Thanks!! That’s the plan if I can get into this (husband needs to get a job first!). Hopefully I can stick to it.

  2. PD April 13, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    As Ellespeth said, in this context it’s a job. I think the biggest challenge with doing creative work for money is remembering that, like any other job, you’re going to get assignments you don’t love and you’re going to not have control over the work at all times. The only real example I have is writing for school (and maybe a little technical writing for work)–I found it worked best if I compartmentalized and didn’t really think of them as being creative endeavors.

    Anyway, good luck!

    • inkhearted April 13, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

      Thanks! “School” is a good way to think about it. I have been thinking of my current articles as short versions of papers I might as well be writing for university. 🙂

      • PD April 13, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

        Nice 😀

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