Friday, March 16, 2018

Getting Hired: What is a Freelance Writer?

This is the first installment of a series of posts for those looking to start a career as a freelance writer. For more posts in this series, please check out the Getting Hired as a Freelance Writer tab. 

What is a freelance writer?

This should be an easy question to answer, but for some, it's not. Do you have to write novels to be considered a writer? Do you have to be earning a good living to be a writer? Does a notable list of clients make you a writer?

The truth is the only thing that makes you a writer is that you write. Maybe not every day, but you write. And you find some joy in the writing process. Maybe it's a diary that no one in the world will ever see. Maybe you write epic poems and burn them in the fireplace once they are complete. I don't care what you write—you are a writer.

And when you add freelancing to the word writer, you are saying you want to earn a living from something you love doing. This is a concept we are all taught—do what you love! But as most of us figured out when adulthood smacked us in the face for the first time, it's not always the easiest choice. Sometimes you feel like you don't have a choice to work at doing something you love. All of those disgruntled miserable people who couldn't find their own happiness will tell you to keep it as a cute hobby, but you'll never make a dime from it. They are dream squashers. Avoid those wretches at all costs.

But enough unqualified psych-talk. Want to be a freelance writer? Tell someone you are a freelance writer. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Did you tell them? How did they react? Let me guess—they didn't know exactly what that meant. They equated it to artistic endeavors (which for most people that looks like: artistic = poor) such as acting or being an artist. Or they said, "That's cool. Can I pick your brain?"

WARNING: Some people you know will try to get you to do work for free. They will not appreciate the fact that you have skills worthy to meet a basic standard of living—but we will cover that topic in another post.

Again, their reactions don't matter. You want to be a freelance writer? —POOF!— you are a freelance writer. Give yourself permission to seek out all that comes with the territory. It's not easy, and not every part of it is fun, but as long as there is still a spark every time you sit down to write, you've found something you love to do.

Congrats—a lot of people never get that far.


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