So many people have a misconception of what it's like to be a freelance writer. Though I wish my life was like Carrie's in Sex and the City, writing in bed, enjoying luxurious lunches out with friends, and being widely recognized for my talents, that's not always the case. I love writing and I have another job, so this in essence is my side hustle, a way for me to fulfill my other passions and in some small way, make a difference or an impact in a way that's therapeutic for me. However, there are some things that people just don't get.
1. You Spend a Lot of Time Writing....and not all of those hours are billable! I spend a lot of time writing articles, editing them as various editors see fit, and ensuring that the people I interview are represented accurately. Sometime, it's all for naught. Recently, I did $200 of work for a publication only to find out they're folding. Hopefully I can place the articles elsewhere or that the media company will make it right, but more than likely, I spent time that could have been spent elsewhere on a project that no one will ever see.
2. No one gets "working from home." The reality is that when I'm working at home, I'm working. People often assume when you're working at home that you have loads of free time. On days that I'm writing, I'm often searching for sources, conducting interviews, doing research, and editing. I also contribute to Tasteofhome.com, so sometimes, I'm even cooking!
3. You are your own Advocate. If I want my writing to be seen, I have to get it out there. I share my articles on social media, talk to others about them, etc. Though the publications themselves often share the content on their social media, it's not a given. You also have to check in on pub dates to ensure that the people you've interviewed are notified, etc.
4. You can't control what goes viral. I've seen some of my articles picked up by social media and be on the front page of MSN and Yahoo and it's never what I expected. Some of what I think is my best work has the least amount of views! But, all press is good press!
5. The Pay isn't What You Think. I recently met someone new to the freelancing world who expected to make $1000 per article. That's not realistic. Some publications pay $20 per article and some, pay in the hundreds. It depends on the need, etc. Of course, very well known authors pull in more for their pieces, but publications are paying staff writers a salary, so tend to rely on them as well for content.
6. People reach out to you a LOT to Promote their Products. I don't always mind this, particularly if I believe in the product. BUT, I have to try anything I promote. I wouldn't tell anyone about something that I didn't believe in and it can be frustrating to go through emails and answer phone calls from people who want you to pitch their new hotel or product without letting you try it first. (That's unethical in my book and I don't do it).
Though this may seem like a rant, it's not. At the end of the day, I love writing. I love sharing people's stories, and I love having the ability to earn a little extra money each month while still holding down the fort as a wife and mom and have another job I love. Freelance Writing is totally worth it, but you need to be realistic about your expectations!