The Cold, Hard Truth About Getting Started Freelance Writing

Many freelance writers enter the business imagining writing in their pajamas, happily typing away while they sip on their morning coffee. The lure of easy writing jobs, a flexible schedule, and not having a traditional boss hovering over your shoulder is often enough to get many people committed to moving forward with this job. However, as freelance writers get more involved in this job and their career picks up, they are often faced with a whole slew of other issues that are largely overlooked. Before you jump head first into the wonderful world of freelance writing, here’s the cold, hard truth about the job.

Low Pay (Initially). Freelance writing is just like many other jobs regarding pay. The more experience you have in the field, the higher pay you can command. But as a new writer just getting started, you often have to take the jobs you can get while you build up experience. This holds true for freelance writers building up a client base of business clients as well as freelance writers shopping around articles for print publications. However, after you pay your dues by taking some of the lower paying gigs, you will find that higher paying gigs are just around the corner.

Long Hours. Initially, you won’t be too busy with projects, but you will need to put in some serious time to establish yourself in the industry. You will want to write as many articles as you can to shop around to magazines and newspapers. You will want to develop a portfolio of your work to send to publications and potential clients. You may want to pick up a few jobs on the internet to help cover expenses until more money starts rolling in. When you are getting paid off of how much excellent content you can churn out, you will want to work long hours when you get started in the business even though you aren’t making much money yet. Working many hours a day without seeing any (or much) financial gain from your efforts can be very difficult for some people. It does take some persistence and determination to stick with this job until you can get established.

Isolation. It takes quite a bit of quiet time shared between you and your computer to get started in the business, and this is largely time spent isolated from the world. If you are used to spending days working in an office environment or in any other type of social setting interacting with others, it can take quite some adjustment to get used to staying at home and keeping to yourself for long hours on end. For a change of pace, you can grab your laptop and head to one of the coffee shop or bookstores near your house, but make sure it offers free WiFi if you need that to work. You may find that over time you get used to being alone for longer periods of time. However, it’s also good to try to plan your work hours with some scheduled breaks. Some freelance writers have been known to get up early, work a few hours, run some errands, work a few more hours, run to the gym, and work a few more hours – essentially working throughout the day but not for the entire day straight. You can work with your schedule to find the right structure of your day that works for you. But even with scheduled breaks, you should be prepared to spend long hours by yourself.

There are thousands upon thousands of freelance writers working around the world, so it’s clear that many people have found a way to overcome these initial challenges to enjoy the many benefits the job offers.


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