To commemorate my first anniversary of being a Freelance writer, I guess it’s but fitting to look back on this journey and where it got me.
Just a warning, all opinions stated below are entirely my own. Thank you.
My grandfather called me up last night and asked how I was doing with my work and all that. I told him, I resigned from one client and the other ended our contract without paying me for the story I submitted. He was quick enough to say, “Oh don’t worry just go and find another one. It was on the news today. There’s this contractor who’s earning $750 a month.. blah blah blah’ I couldn’t even explain myself to him that employers like that comes once in a blue moon.
I signed up in odesk as a freelance writer and after a year, I’ve worked with different clients with different needs. I’ve written stories for children, romance novels, blog posts about fashion, beauty, etc. I can work for several clients long as I can handle their projects. There came a point when I didn’t know the concept of sleep because I was working for a good 20 hours a day. My brain is always in an overdrive with all the deadlines to meet.
There are so many things to love about the freelance lifestyle. I can work weird hours and rearrange my schedule on a whim to take advantage of nice weather or have the free time to do something with friends as long as I find the time to complete my client work. I like being able to work from a variety of places: my home office, a coffee shop, a friend’s office, my back porch, a park or almost any other location. I enjoy having the freedom to take on new clients (or not) based on whether the project is (or isn’t) interesting to me. I like having the ultimate level of control over my career.
However, it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Most employers there are offering a pittance of a wage and what can best be described as slave labour online. Some of the adverts are an insult to professional writers because they are asking ridiculous amounts of work for very small amounts of pay. I have seen ads wanting writers at $1 an hour or worse and stating that unless you are prepared to work for this amount don’t bother applying.
The next problem I encountered is that the employers often cannot write or speak very good English themselves, and yet they have the nerve to criticize what you have done and ask for rewrites and make suggestions even when they are only paying some small amount like $1 an hour. Some do not explain what they want properly either so it becomes a matter of guesswork.
At first, I was excited that I could turn things that I was passionate about and doing for fun as hobbies into something that people would pay me to do. I could do fun work and earn money! This worked for me for quite a while, and maybe it continues to work for some people over long periods of time. For me, those things that I used to do for fun all became work, and they became less fun as they started to feel like work. I also realized that I really didn’t have hobbies anymore, and I was just spending all of my time working, which left me burned out, tired and grouchy.
“This is the real talk about the hard knock freelance writing life. Where the hopes and dreams of aspiring writers meet the hard road of rejections and deadlines.”
I am now considering my friend’s offer to teach basic English to Korean students here in our place. I hope this goes well for me. But don’t get me wrong. I haven’t completely cut off my online writing gig …. yet. but through it all, I’m still proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. I’ve been published multiple times, I’ve received positive feedbacks from my clients saying how they love my writing style and I was able to buy a special gift for myself out of my hard earned money. Though there are times freelance writing can be devastating, I’m still thankful
P.S. If you have the time, come visit Freelancer Real Talk. It’s a hilarious site that covers everything that goes inside the head of a freelance writer and yes, I can relate to most of it. And I bet you guys too.