Freelance writing can be a perfect job for those who want to become a writer. However, the idea about regular meals and job security won’t be too attached to the kind of job that you’re picking. With the boom of the Internet and the self-publishing trend, it is now a lot more possible to exist at a meager level being a freelance writer. Yes! You can actually just sit at home writing the whole day and earn without ever leaving the house. But if you decide to become full-time in this career, you’ll need to know these survival tips for freelance writers.
Freelancers are modern day cowboys says Liz Lemon, patron saint of today’s workaholic writers. A cowboy knows how to juggle many writing tasks while sitting comfortably on a dusty horse. The dream of lounging in hotel bars with a handsome stranger sitting across your table trying to catch your eye while you are writing your piece in a notebook would basically need to be thrown away.
Most of the time, you’ll need to sit in front of your laptop wearing pajamas while trying to figure out a good introduction for an article about 90’s fashion. But everything is going to be worth it because you’re going to make a living as a Professional Writer. Yes! That is entirely possible and the tips below are going to help you achieve that!
1. Avoid Becoming a Vampire
Before going into the details of the perils that come with trying to get paid doing freelance writing job, remember that you’re going to be in charge of your own schedule. If you don’t give time for activities that you can do outside, you’ll never be able to go outside. If working at night works best for you then do your thing but never fall into the trap of underestimating the power of going outside and taking time to squint under the warm and bright sunlight. You can even try writing in that coffee shop selling some overpriced scones every once in a while. Be sure to make plans with friends or family because writing from your home can be lonely work at times.
2. Look for Clients and Seize Every Opportunity
You won’t have something to write unless you have a client giving you a steady stream of articles to work on. Even if you start on a new blog or website that you can fill-in with some articles every single day, it will still take time for it to earn. So be sure to look for clients and seize every opportunity that comes your way. Visit the sites that post writing jobs and use social media if possible even if it’s a big gross and can easily become a nightmare at times. Talk to friends, family or previous colleagues and ask if they have contacts who are looking for writers. You can also reach out to other writers and even publications that you like. Your next gig depends on you and you alone. Just be sure to make your desperation appear like a well-mannered competitiveness.
3. Saying No is OK
Being engaged with freelance writing can be a hustle but saying “Yes” to everything isn’t recommended. Once the ball gets rolling with a single writing job or two with one being full-time and the other part time, you will need to be more discerning. If your schedule is already full then be honest. If you don’t like writing adult content then be sure to say “No”. If a client wants you to write something that you’re not that comfortable with then it’s okay to decline in a polite manner.
4. Establish Clear Boundaries
The second part about saying NO is more on setting boundaries. Be sure to clarify things such as pay schedules, due dates, and many other work related stuff. Making a written contract is also a good idea as it can save everyone from problems later on. If a client is rude then drop him/her. Make your working hours known with employers, clients, friends, and even your family to avoid any confusion in any of these parties involved.
5. Be Sure to Get Yourself Paid
Don’t work just for exposure. Remember that exposure causes people to die. If there’s a project that pays bupkis but you’re passionate about it and it makes you happy then go for it. But remember that 99.99% of any job that you would take needs to be paid. There are people who would ask you to write for them for free but writing isn’t just your hobby, it is your job! Make sure to know where you’re going to be paid, how much they should pay you, and when payments should be sent. Negotiating your rate is also crucial to your survival so don’t be afraid to do it and stand firmly in case someone wants to back out of the agreed terms after you’ve done some work. The client needs to pay for every work you did even if the result doesn’t look that good to their eyes.
6. Don’t Forget to Stretch
All those bones, joints and muscles are meant to be moved, so do it! Do some stretching right now! Get off from your chair and take time to let those muscles and joints work. Sitting the whole day working for your clients then all night working on your own project can take a big toll on you. Have a break in between writing tasks.
7. Learn To Love Your Haters
If you do freelance writing, the pieces that you’ve written will surely be published. It will be on the Internet sooner or later. In case you commit a mistake on grammar or a subject matter, all the wrath of the Internet will be channeled towards you. Sometimes, the client may even confront you because your writing doesn’t seem to match his set specifications. These things do happen but it’s OK. Learn to shake it off and be ready for the next explosive thing for your next gig.
8. Manage Your Time
Time will come that it’s already past midnight and you’re still working on your fourth article for the day and you start thinking how in the world did you think that freelancing can actually save you time. It is important to manage your time by making lists, formulating schedules or even setting a timer. You can also choose to be with a writing group or write in a library or a coffee shop if doing such would help you stick with a more regular writing routine. Having flexible working hours isn’t always a good thing.
9. Defend Your Lifestyle From Strangers
There would be people who will admire your job as a professional writer while others would look at you with faint panic and bitter criticism because they don’t understand why you have chosen such an uncertain career. Other freelance writers would even attack you to eliminate competition. Shake all of these off and find workshops as well as a community of artistic support instead. Show them that you can emerge victorious no matter how hard they try to pull you down.
10. Don’t Spend Too Much On Food and Beverage
Find some ways and means to save on food and beverage. If you love buying a regular coffee and add a flavor shot on it, it’ll taste the same as a latte but it would cost less if you get the latter. If you master the method of photosynthesizing instead of eating then that would be better. Writing consumes a lot of brain power which can make you feel hungry. And with all the available fast food out there, you can easily gain weight if you don’t practice discipline with the food you consume.
11. Know Yourself
Be sure to build-up yourself and there’s no better way of doing this than knowing your strengths and showcasing them whenever there’s a chance. If you love writing tech then don’t spend all your energy trying to write humor. Find out your style and make sure that it sets you apart from others. Focus on building the things that you already have. Write stuff that only you can write!
12. Start Writing Now!
The Internet can be full of detours and distractions. Remember that you chose freelance writing because writing is your passion so go ahead and start writing. Reading about writing or talking about it will not get you anywhere except if you sit down and start writing.