Digital Nomads

Becoming a Freelance Writer: Is It Worth It?

By on October 3, 2014

I started freelance writing almost 7 years ago, to stave off the boredom of my ‘normal’ job and to hone my skills. I went in blind to the freelance world. I earned my stripes, so to speak, and I am still able to finance my life with writing.

A very common question people ask: how? If you’d asked me a few years ago, when I was struggling, I would have told you by tenacity alone. Now I can honestly say: I’ve learned as I’ve gone.

The biggest part of freelance writing (freelance anything, for that matter) is keeping up with the latest. Trends, social media, small business needs, the list goes on. Without having a finger on the pulse of the Now, you’re lost before you’ve even found a writing voice.

Rather Gargantuan Expectations of Something for Nothing

Next to Checkpoint Charlie, BerlinI have several pet peeves of online writers.

The ability of convincing themselves (and charging others) for copy-paste pieces that add to the kerfluffle of Internet noise; the single-mindedness of ‘native speakers’ that think because they wrote an essay in the 8th grade and managed a B+ are now ready to conquer the online written word; and the inevitable ‘writers who make $10,000 monthly, just writing what they feel. And you can too, after…’

Crikey. My language is being abused enough by people- Americans included- that think they can write because they speak a language.

Simply put: if you have to write, no matter if it’s yours or theirs or for a parrot diaper shop- you will write. Because you have no choice. Your words- no matter the copy or the format- belong to you and need to be put down. No matter what. That’s what a writer is.

Most people forget that James Joyce was an English teacher for Berlitz while he wrote Ulysses. Day jobs are day jobs. Writing as a job takes a certain amount of patience, tolerance and constant movement forward. If you aren’t willing to work whilst writing, then freelance writing is most definitely not the scene for you.

I’m Still Interested Despite Your Words. How Do I Start?

You will need some sort of writing resume. Nothing to panic over and nothing to lie through- something you concoct that reflects the direction of writing you want to go into.

I created a site with tips for newbie writers a while back, because I was so frustrated with how acerbic and intolerant old hacks were with dewy-eyed newbies. We all began somewhere. The link to the site is here: Freelance Writers: Expertise for Newbies.

Yes, it’s a bit over the top as far as me being an expert, but after having seen at least 20 seasoned writers shoot down someone interested in writing I got a little irritated. The site is certainly my response, in some way.

Other sites that I adore, that are supportive and give you tons of valid and real info are here:

Make a Living Writing: Carol Tyce I believe this woman should have top spot on any freelance writer’s list. She is not only inspiring, she’s practical and witty. Always great to read her.

Traffic Generation Café: Anna Hoffman Inevitably, as an online writer, you’ll be required to understand social media; pr; and writing for websites. This is a gem of updates that are relevant.

The Guild on Linked In: Michael O’Dwyer I’m a little cynical about Linked In pages, because many of them seem to be designed to let everyone post their recent posts and criticize anyone else. This one is different. Writers who care, who think, and who- most importantly- find the laughter between the lines.

That’s it for my suggestions and advice for the moment, although please ask anything you like about the freelance writing world. I promise I’ll answer. Grin. I’d also love to hear about you and your forays into the freelancing world- what do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Mel.

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