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The Life of a Freelance Writer

by on October 5, 2014


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If you can call it work. I call itgetting paid to play.

freelance writer

Let us examine, for the moment, the life of a typical Freelance Writer.

Ok – it’s a myth. A typical day does not exist, and that’s part of the attraction. I am my own boss. I work when and if I want, and if I feel like doing something else, that’s my choice.

There are some things I do on a regular basis, though: finding work, entering into contracts, completing assignments. Getting paid.

Generally, a Freelance Writer must find their own work. Unless you are really well established or have some long-term contracts, the work does not come to you. I use Freelancer.com and other websites, as well as referrals, to find work. If I see a writing or photography gig I like, I bid on the contract.

Since there are so many areas available for a Freelancer (editing, proof-reading, web design, photo editing, photography, writing, Logo and t-shirt design, even legal services and financial planning) there are generally many opportunities to find work. It can be a long, very involved project, or something as simple as“Please make shure the Inglis is correct in this letter.”

Today a particular post has caught my eye:

 “Need someone to follow us around Paris and take some pictures. Budget: $280”.

 Heck, if they will send me a ticket, I’ll take the photos for free.

That’s probably not going to happen.

There are contracts which do include transportation to the site in question, however. It all depends. The very nice thing about being my own boss is that I can pick and choose my work.

If I don’t see anything I don’t like, I don’t bid.

Granted, I have the luxury of a spouse who works, so I do not have to worry about healthcare, or if I can pay the rent if I go through a dry spell. On the other hand, the long-term contracts I establish now will help put a little (or a lot) of extra money in our budget when my husband and I retire in a few years.

Since I really love writing and photography, and I seem to be quite good at both, it is rather magical to make a living doing something I truly enjoy.

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Of course, Freelancers with different areas of expertise will spend their days designing Logos or websites, programming computers or editing photos. They might be sitting at home in their jammies, or working in a quiet corner at a Starbucks.

A stay-at-home parent might sneak their work in when the babies are taking a nap, or at the end of the day when they finally have some quiet time. As for me, my main problem is convincing the cats that they can’t sit on the computer.

I wonder if I should bid on that Paris job…

Freelance writers who develop a reputation for being reasonable, professional and reliable can make a good living. Some really lucky and clever people have turned their love of travel into Freelance careers, accepting assignments to travel to a place (like…Paris) to take photos and write reviews for the tourist/hospitality industry.

That is my future goal, and the work I do now will give me a reputation and a body of work that will make me a perfect candidate for that kind of work.

Conversely, really a good Freelance writer with good reputations can have work come to them. Satisfied customers share information and, pretty soon, your inbox will be full of requests for assistance.

Of course, there are some drawbacks. The work is not always there, you do not get any benefits, and the hours can be crazy. But if you have a spouse who works (as I do) or access to inexpensive healthcare (as most people in the rest of the world do), then the freedom to do what you want, when you want to do it, far outweighs the negatives.

In addition, being a freelance writer, I receive a huge surge of satisfaction when I have helped someone with an article, fixed their language problems in their documents, or corrected some flaw in their photo.

That kind of a rush is better than money. It’s a feeling of accomplishment that most jobs just don’t offer.

Hmm. My passport is up to date. Maybe I will bid on the Paris job. My husband can do without me for a week. Who knows – they just might say “yes”.

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About the Author

Linda Fryant is a part-time writer for eOutsource.com. She holds a Certificate of Commercial Fiction Writing from the University of Washington. She has edited/critiqued over 150 manuscripts, and has taught writing classes at the University of Washington. She has had many non-fiction articles published, has done technical writing and has created training programs for State Agencies. She is an award-winning photographer and speaks several languages.