What I Learned Freelance Writing

Let me tell you a story.

It’s been six months since I walked across the graduation stage. That day I was panicked, nervous, and moving to Texas.

The nervous, oh shit moment had been building all year knowing that on graduation day I would have to actually try to figure out my life. I didn’t feel ready. All I wanted to do was be a novelist but everyone knows that no one but J.K. Rowling and the select few actually make any money doing that.

So I made another plan. I would be a freelance writer. It fit all the objectives that I wanted to achieve. The problem with it was that no one could help me understand how to achieve as a freelance writer. It was a mystery to everyone I talked to.

I read books and blogs about how to get started and when people asked what I would be doing I still didn’t really have a grasp on the subject. All I knew was that Robert Bly said that even I could make money freelancing. (Robert Bly has written many books including Getting Started As A Freelance Writer. After reading the book, my take-away was that Bly likes to pay other people to mow his lawn, do his taxes, etc. because when your time is as precious as Bly’s you pay other people to do everything you find boring.)

I had the dream in my head. I would freelance. I spent my Spring Break working 40 hours at the Kentwood Front Desk with 10 books on the subject of freelance writing.

But at the end of it all I wasn’t really sure what to tell my relatives and my friends. I just knew that this was something I would have to figure out on my own.

That was a big part of my stress. What do I tell people? They want to know details and I have none. They looked at me skeptically, told me it wasn’t too late to apply for a job at Walmart, tried to shell out some semblance of advice but I really just knew it was up to me.

So I graduated, moved, took a weekend to breathe, and then on Monday I started.

By Tuesday I had two proofreading jobs. They were small but they were my symbolic foot in the door. To me they meant that I was starting. I was in this now.

By Thursday I was hired for a 20 article job writing travel articles.

That first week I was working for a woman in American, a man in Thailand, and another man in England. I felt connected to the world. I felt like I was really helping people, in my own way, through the power of words.

And I felt that I belonged in that moment, in that place. I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be in my life, whether anyone understood it or not.

Freelance writing hasn’t been as peachy as that first week. I’ve had rejection, those who said they would hire me and then didn’t return my emails or those who would hire me, say my work was great, and then change half of it.

I’ve learned about the ups and down, the highs of getting a job and the lows of waiting for another.

I learned that after six months it’s still hard to explain. The simpleness of it is that I look for jobs (through certain sites), I apply for these jobs, and then I work these jobs when I hired. I’ve written travel, finance, and acts of kindness. It’s my job.

I learned that some people will ask you to work for nothing. Avoid these people.

If you don’t ask questions, it won’t turn out well. Clear communication is the key.

I also learned that there’s this world world of people willing to pay others for all sorts of things. It’s a world that I wish I had discovered sooner. It’s amazing all the things that people will hire you to write. Most people don’t really understand the importance of studying creative writing or writing in general but what’s clear is that it’s important. Almost every business has an online presence. Their sites need words and people to write them. Roofers, lawyers, mothers, and doctors all need someone to write for them.

Six months later and I’ve learned the importance of writers in the workforce whether freelance or not.

I’ve learned that there is still much to learn.

So I’m back again with books from the library.

I’m in the process of trying to grow and trying to learn.

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4 Responses to What I Learned Freelance Writing

  1. Merrideth says:

    I loved reading this! I teach during the year, but I’m interested in freelance during the summer months. It sounds like you are figuring it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sclare92 says:

    You and I are birds of a feather, my friend. I’m struggling with my identity as a writer and just how well I’ll fit into a world where net income is of the utmost importance. Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Max Sumpter says:

    I will give you credit for one thing you did a great job of writing these simple words. You have a can do atitute and that is great and Im sure you will do good in what ever you put your mind at. Stay strong you will make it . Love Grand Pa Max

    Liked by 1 person

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