Why I Freelance
It’s not romantic, but it is a job that I love.
I guess it probably sounds impressive to some people when I say, “I’m a freelance writer and photographer.” I’m sure they have visions of me, wearing my photographer’s vest, chasing stories all over the world – hanging over the edges of cliffs to get the perfect picture, or interviewing important people.
It’s not like that.
I take pictures of barns, and fruit, and of people riding bicycles in local races.
I take assignments to write articles, re-write letters, edit books, proof-read documents, and ghost-write proposals.
My time is my own, I choose my assignments, and I work as much or as little as I want.
My particular lifestyle does not always allow me to find “regular” employment. My husband works for a large, multi-national company that transfers him all over the United States. Sometimes we are in one place for a long time, sometimes not.
Most employers are not that excited about hiring someone who says, “I might be here through the end of the year. Maybe….” But since he has a more-than-full-time job, with health care and benefits, I find myself in the wonderful position of doing what I love: writing and taking pictures. AND I get paid for it. Can there be anything better?
I find my “assignments” on websites like “Freelancer.com“. I choose the job I want to do and bid on it. Each job has a description and a timeline. Some have a flat rate, but most are open for bids.
A person with a good reputation for quality work and timeliness (such as M’self) will have work come to them.
It is a grand way to make money while doing something that I really enjoy.
Sometimes it’s editing a photo, other times I am proofreading a novel or correcting a letter for someone who knows what they want to say, but just can’t manage to say it properly.
There is a great deal of satisfaction in this line of work. I have edited and critiqued over 150 books, many of them by first-time writers or people for whom English is not their native language.
“It is very fulfilling to be able to assist a struggling author who just can’t put the words in the right order, or who cannot understand the vagrancies of English punctuation”
As I have always edited the office memos and e-mails of my best friend, who is Vietnamese and has a brilliant mind but a creative way with the English language. I understand how hard it can be to try to convert an idea into proper syntax. People like Mai need my help, and I have the talent and abilities to help them.
The great thing about being a Freelancer is that, despite the “romance” and “mystery” attached to the calling, anyone can do it.
It’s not just writing and taking photos: it’s web design, blogging, e-mailing, writing posts for e-bay, creating presentations, even editing those “how-to-put-together -the-thing-you-just-bought” instructions. (Seriously – have you ever tried to read them? Those folks are in desperate need of a good editor).
Besides the monetary reward, which is nice, there is a tremendous satisfaction when I hear back from my clients that “their” proposal has been accepted, that the boss finally listened to them, or an editor is now talking to them about their manuscript.
Granted, my name is never on the byline, but that is not why I do what I do.
If can pick up a magazine and see my photo, or go to a website and read one of my articles, it’s pretty rewarding. In addition, even when I have been asked to take a photo or write an article, I can often re-sell those products to other magazines, or other websites.
So, one assignment can pay off many times over.
Though I have a Commercial Fiction Writing certificate from the University of Washington, was the Teacher Assistant for the class (and even taught the class on occasion) have been a judge for the PNWA’s Literary Contest for over a decade and have taught at writer’s conferences, it seemed that no one was interested in paying me to write.
Until I discovered Freelancing. Now people are clamoring for my talents and paying me to help them.
It does not have to be a full-time job. It can just be a hobby or a part-time gig if you have something you love to do or a talent you want to share.
For me, it’s the best job ever: to do what I love, to be able to help people, and get paid for it! What more could you want in life?