Have you read a lot about freelance writing so far? I’m sure most experts tell you it’s the best thing you can ever do. I agree — to some extent.
The ugly truth is that freelance writing is not for everyone. It’s not easy and success doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to start a freelance career, you need to know what you’re really getting yourself into.
The rewards of being a freelance writer are great. The work, however, is greater. So before you think that freelance writing is a piece of cake, read this first.
It’s hard work
From an outsider, writing seems easy. If you’re a writer, you know it’s not true at all. You know the struggle of filling an empty screen with words that matter. Before I wrote full-time, I thought writing should come easy. What I didn’t know – and what I wish someone told me – is that some forms of writing take a lot of time and hard work.
Clients who want to promote their products through a blog post need a writer who knows about their products. As a hired writer with these types of clients, your job is to learn before you even get to write. You need to do research and even conduct interviews prior to writing a piece.
Even with little research required, writing in itself requires constant practice and discipline. Sitting down for an hour and writing is a challenge enough to most people (including me). Short attention spans, distractions and a cluttered mind all contribute to this thing disguised as ‘writer’s block’. It’s hard work to just sit down and write.
You’ll eat rejection for breakfast
When I first started out, I would pitch dozens of publications at night and eagerly expect a response the next day. Like most other writers – who don’t really bring this up often – I either get crickets or get rejected. I would eat my cereal in silence, mustering the courage to shake it off and go on with my day.
Most successful freelancers would tell you that rejection is part of the job. It’s easier to say this if you’re coming from a place of “I got more clients than I can handle.” But for the rest of us, even the word rejection brings so much pain. I guess that’s why no one talks about it enough.
Find a way to deal with this occupational hazard and move on with your day. No one tells you about this part of freelance writing because it’s ugly. It might even make you want to give up. You can either throw in the towel or eat your breakfast and write your next pitch.
You’re the boss, so act like one
One of the most common things people say about being a freelancer is that they don’t want to work for a boss. Instead, they want to become their own boss and grow their own business. You answer to no one.
Is that why I’m watching a Netflix movie at 3 in the afternoon when I have looming deadline?
Being your own boss doesn’t mean doing whatever it is you want. If you’re the boss, act like one. Like any other boss managing an employee, you need to watch what you’re doing and make sure you’re doing the right things at the right time. When tempted to do something fun, do something for work first and the fun thing later as a reward.
Most writers offer advice about productivity and how to get things done. You can install all the apps, do all the tricks, but the best way to being productive is wearing your boss hat when it’s time to work.
These are just some of the things freelancers don’t talk about as often as we’d like. There are lots more.
How about you? Have you discovered something about freelance writing that no one told you about? Share in the comments below!