Top Five Things I've Learned As A Freelance Writer
I recently had dinner with a new writer pal, who is fearlessly gearing up to make that uncertain leap from a traditional 9-5 to self-employment. As I recounted my story, now thirteen years in the making, it occurred to me that perhaps I did indeed have a couple of lessons under my belt. Or, probably more accurately, that glass o' riesling was making me believe. Regardless, behold:
The Top Five Things I've Learned as a Freelance Writer:
5. You know that beloved thing called pay day? That slice of financial heaven, that makes all of your hard work worth the effort? In the freelance world, some days, weeks or even months will pass before it appears. The reasons for this are unpredictable and varied, ranging from professional drought to working for organizations who clearly think you must be independently wealthy. Regardless, freelancing is sort of like putting your money in the stock market. You've gotta be in for the long haul for it to, literally, pay off.
4. Eventually, the money will come. And then it will go. And come. And go. Sense a pattern? I've learned that ebb and flow is all part of the game. And you've got to be comfortable with that. Mostly. But even when the funds have temporarily halted, the fun must go on. Sure, there will be times that you're feeling far less baller than you were, say two weeks ago. That's when its back to basics: free events, half-price appetizers, clearance racks, coupons and on-line sales. The trade-off? An incredible quality of life--which truly can't be bought. And no office politics. Horray!
3. In the end, it's still all just business. Sometimes freelance writing feels sorta like a major league baseball team. Your pitching? No doubt top-notch. You're reliable. Consistent. You've stepped up for the team in clutch situations. But if the management changes, your role is not guaranteed. In the blink of an eye, your veteran fast ball has been replaced by a rookie knuckleballer, called up from the minors. Same game. Different styles. Nothing personal.
2. Know that while you're busting your hump every single day, there will be peeps who think that freelance is code for serial loafer. Ditch 'em. Embrace the people who support you. There's no need to explain yourself. Ever.
1. Never give up. Be the little engine that could--with a pen. It's not called the creative PROCESS for nothin'. Stick with it. Learn from your journey. Uncover your professional strengths. Hone your voice, then make it stronger. And above everything else, write on!