Five More Freelance FictionsAugust 1st, 2008 by Michael Kwan
Despite what the above picture may lead you to believe, the following article has very little to do with our friend Will Ferrell. Instead, I am aiming to educate the general public a little more about the business of freelance writing, how it works, and why you may or may not want to pursue it.
Readers of this blog may remember a post last year where I described five myths about freelance writing. Today, we expand on that post with five more freelance fictions. What are some of the most common misconceptions about freelance writing?
1. You Need to be an Exceptional Writer
While I may be known as some sort of expert reviewer in certain circles, it is not actually necessary to be a terrific writer in order to be a successful freelance writer. It helps, to be sure, but in this online world, it’s almost more important to be able to write quickly and coherently. The articles that you will be producing on a daily basis are not meant to be Shakespeare; they just need to be easy (and enjoyable) to read. A quick surf around many of the technology blogs on the ‘net will reveal some rather mediocre writers, but they get the job done.
2. It’s a Very Lonely Experience
Working from home at my computer all day, it is true that I spend a lot of my time alone. In fact, I find that I do some of my best work when I am mostly distraction-free (a little music doesn’t hurt). However, through the amazing avenues of Twitter and other online resources, I have managed to make quite a free friends on the Internet. We get together regularly for lunch, as well as random outings like bailing on a Segway. You will only be lonely as a freelancer if you choose to be lonely. Network with like-minded individuals in your area. Heck, network with people who aren’t even like-minded for a change.
3. New Toys Make It All Worthwhile
It’s no secret that I get to play with a lot of new toys pretty well all the time. There are a few things that you have to realize about this experience, though. First, I don’t get to keep a lot of these items. They are either on loan from the company (in the case of all cell phones) or I have to give them back to the site editor (the person who hired me to write the review). Second, not all new toys are fun. I review a lot of bad products too. Third, new toys don’t pay the bills; money does. I definitely appreciate being able to check out the latest gadgets and it’s a great perk, but that’s not really what keeps me going.
4. There’s No Middle Ground for Income
You’ve surely seen the postings. Some random website is looking for bloggers who are willing to work for pennies on the post. Worse yet, there are some “opportunities” that only offer “exposure” in exchange for your original content. On the other end of the spectrum, you have highly successful writers and authors with published books and plenty of royalties. What about in between? Well, that’s where I fall. I’m not rich, by any stretch of the imagination, but I am making what I consider to be a fairly decent full-time wage. There is a middle ground for freelance income.
5. The Jobs Do/Don’t Come to You
Ironically, there are two equal, but opposite misconceptions about finding freelance writing jobs and they are both partly true (and false). If all you did was set up a website advertising your freelancing services, you probably shouldn’t be expecting a flood of offers to come pouring into your email inbox. By the same accord, if you put some effort into your search, you probably shouldn’t expect to get no response either. It will take a little time, but after you make a name for yourself, you will be able to leverage your reputation for more work. They’ll start coming to you. In the beginning, the onus will largely be on you to do the hunting. As your career progresses, you’ll still need to hunt. It just might not be as hard.
Is there anything that you would like to know about freelancing or what I do on a daily basis? Either pose the questions through the comment form below or catch me on Twitter and message me there.
Filed under Freelance Writing.