When I tell my penfriends or other people I meet - mostly non writers, that I am a freelancer writer, the reactions are quite funny. I think they assume I inhabit a world where every job is glamorous and exciting, where work just falls onto my lap, and where the pay is brilliant. The reality of a freelance lifestyle is a bit different, and while I love many things about it, it's far removed from a walk in the park.
Here are a few little snippets of my life as a freelancer :
- Much to my families disgust I have committed the ultimate sin of starting work in my PJ's - very glam - but it is practical - sitting here at my laptop I can feel the cold very easily - that's my justification anyway.
- A Freelancer doesn't just take time off whenever they feel like it, and swan around taking long lunches and popping to the shops when others are chained to the desk. Yes our flexible schedules do allow for both on occasion, but they are perks, and not always the norm. I could work later than normal, work weekends if a last minute request comes in, and sometimes my free time is spent sourcing more work, or taking a break from the computer. That said I don't feel guilty for taking a break - I deserve one just as much as a staff writer.
- Work requests have been up and down like a rollercoaster from day one. For various reasons I am a home based freelancer - and searching for remote projects can sometimes be a trial. Tag home based on to any of your Google based searches and you'll know what I mean. Sometimes I'll be turning down work, other times it'll be quiet, and I will be stepping up the efforts to source new clients.
- Even the 'boring tasks' can be fun - On and off I've been doing some outsourced work for a client, who wanted to outsource some basic article re-writing so she could more effectively plan her own time. I actually really enjoyed it, maybe it was partly a new client buzz, but the topic was also small business, so I was eagerly soaking up the content as I wrote. You can find interest in all sorts of things, equally, yes, there are projects that pay the bills above everything else.
- Rejection - a lot of people I know who would love to try out writing for size one day are scared of rejection - It was a mixture when I started writing. I was scared of being rejected - but partly because I feared silence above all else, and thought if I never had any feedback on my pitches or applications I wouldn't know if I was on the right lines, or if there was anything I could do or say better etc.
-Thinking Outside The Box - although I am reluctant to approach people completely and entirely cold, I do feel quite confident emailing my CV off on-spec when I have an outside the box reason for doing so. If I see a job ad for an editor, and commissioning freelancers is in the job description, I will email them, similarly if a freelance role is advertised, but it doesn't say in black and white office based, then I will email too.
This is just a few random ramblings about my life as a freelancer, it isn't easy, you are always learning about selling yourself and your ideas, not always attracting the salaried work offers your skills deserve, and always hunting for work. But for now it is me, my life, and it turns me into a little kid when I see my work in print!!
Have you got any writing ambitions, success stories or experiences to share? one of mine is to write a book of Children's short stories. Feel free to comment and share your freelance tales below.