Saturday, April 23, 2016

What You Probably Don’t Know About Freelance Writing

To many people, writing professionally is a dream that never seems to come true. Sure, they dream about quitting their day job and writing for a living. They perceive writing as an easy life, but it’s far from it.

Articles on freelance writing often present writing as a glamorous profession. While a few writers achieve celebrity status, most live with the day-to-day struggle of finding work and paying bills. Doesn’t sound very glamorous, does it?

Some people work just to make money and many don’t really enjoy what they do. And while writing can be a more fulfilling occupation than working in an office handling expense reports or working in a fast food restaurant, the writing life can be hard and stressful if you’re not prepared. You’ll have to constantly search for new markets, make deadlines, work through times of little or no work, and manage finances. This last item is what brings down most beginning freelance writers.

Were you good at math in school? At the time, you probably had no idea how math might play a role in your success or failure of your freelance business. As a freelance writer, you’ll have to keep track of your expenses, report taxes, and manage submissions. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll need a budget that allows you to keep a roof over your head, food on the table, and the Internet powered up. That means you’ll need accurate record keeping to stay ahead of your bills. And you’ll have to be able to predict income throughout the year and figure out percentages of income at year’s end.

If you’re imagining being able to do what you want and living the life of Reilly, think again. You’ll need to be organized and disciplined. Record keeping will become a big part of your life. After all, you’ll be in business for yourself. Too many writers don’t see the similarity between what they do and what their dry cleaner or auto mechanic do. Both are owners of small businesses.

You’ll also need to back up information. You never know when you’re computer will unexpectedly die and you’ll lose all your data. You have to plan for fires, floods, and other catastrophes. So you’ll need to keep excellent records that you save in multiple locations.

To be a successful freelancer, you have to take risks. Someone once said that freelance writers should be brave enough to jump off a bridge even though they can’t see the water beneath them. You’ll have to believe that you’ll continue to find work, even though you may only have a handful of projects assigned at any given moment. If you’re waiting for the perfect conditions to become a freelance writer, they’ll never come.

Ask any freelance writer if what they do is worth it, and just about all will tell you—without hesitation---that they wouldn’t do anything else.

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