Freelance Writing as a Means to an End

We all want to be the next New York Times bestseller. Odds are those of you reading this blog already know that it’s not going to magically happen. You know that it takes years of hard work to become a writer good enough to publish, let alone to hit the bestseller list. You know that in order to become a great writer, you need to spend evenings and weekends working on your writing until you’re making enough money to quit your day job.

This information is probably less terrifying for those of you who already have a day job.

For me, about to move in with my boyfriend and sometime not long after that to graduate high school, having never worked on anything not writing related for more than a couple weeks, this information is almost paralyzing. I’m faced with the idea that I might not be able to fend for myself. I might not–in fact, I probably won’t–have the mental stamina to hold down one of those day jobs I hate that everybody else goes through when they’re my age. I’ve never figured out how to keep my mouth shut when I don’t like someone, and that will run me out of a lot of jobs. And it’s pretty much an impossible dream that I might be able to live off of my fiction the minute I’m finished high school.

There is an obvious solution to this problem. It’s something I’ve only recently decided is a viable option for me:

Freelance writing to pay the bills.

It’s kind of a frightening thought. I think about all the things written on the proverbial walls of the internet talking about how much money you should have saved up before you take the plunge because freelance writing will never be a stable income position. I think about crashing and burning and having nowhere to run when the money runs out and clients dry up.

But I can do it. There may only be a handful of topics I can write about with authority–depression, self-harm, writing, creativity, a couple other things I’ve forgotten at the moment–but I can write well. I can take a topic I’m assigned and spend however many hours I need to on research before I write the article. I can write and proofread letters, essays and articles about pretty much any topic if the person paying me gives me a starting point.

Freelance writing is a great way to make some extra bucks. It’s a hard way to earn a living, but it allows me to live off of my passion. It may never be steady money, but I’m ready to work as hard as I have to.

If you’re also looking for freelance jobs, check out these sites:

Online Writing Jobs–Lists a number of freelance jobs of all kinds posted to other websites.

Craigslist–As silly as this may sound, Craigslist lists writing and editing jobs all over the globe and might help you find something local. I’ve gotten more positive responses from Craigslist than I have anywhere else.

Freelancer.com–This is a site where you bid on jobs, it has hundreds of jobs but I’m not too fond of the configuration.

With these sites–and dozens more you can find if you search the interwebs long enough–you should be able to find some freelance writing jobs. Who knows, maybe you can even earn a living.

On the off chance you need a freelancer, I’d love to hear from you. I’m particularly interested in blogging jobs.

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About Dianna Gunn

I am a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. My first YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is available now through The Book Smugglers Publishing.

Posted on March 5, 2012, in Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Good post. I’ve wanted to get into freelance writing/editing myself, but with the state of the economy, it’s even more of a challenge. Yes, it’s risky, but to be able to write full-time (or close to it) and quit my day job would be nice.

    • Hi Maggie,

      It’s really a terrifying process. The worst part is the fact that people who don’t want your freelancing services don’t email you back. You don’t hear anything from them at all–it’s not like fiction where you collect your rejection slips like trophies. You just get nothing.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      ~Dianna

  2. Good advice. With something like 20% of the US workforce now freelance, it’s certainly doable!

    • Hi Westwood,

      It’s great to see you’re so optimistic. I’m pretty sure I can do it too–it’s just a little terrifying to think about sometimes.

      Thanks,
      ~Dianna

  3. Greetings:

    I thought this post was really interesting. One of the things that you inadvertently got me into was Squidoo – not for the revenue but for the practice of taking a very specific topic and writing about it, laying it out and then illustrating it.

    I agree that it is bar none best to write what you know and squidoo has taught me that I might know more than I think. I think this will be true of you, as well.

    Also – I think people who can research things well have a place in free-lancing. While the topics are best coming from a place (at least!) of interest or passing knowledge, expertise may not be as necessary if the research is a) focused and b) done really well.

    There is also a place – I think – for the interview. That is more a reporter style and knowing what readers want to know. This I think you do really well. While you stick to writers, imagine after a while that you will have expertise at asking questions of others and then reflecting the answers back to an interested reader.

    As ever – always loving your posts and rooting for your literary breakthrough! 😀

    Cheers!

  4. Hi RP,

    I’m glad that you enjoyed this post and that you’ve had fun on Squidoo. I quite enjoy their layout and template and it gives me an opportunity to write about things that don’t fit with my blog and are hard to market… like my Terry Pratchett obsession page.

    We all underestimate ourselves, this is true. I think my fear is largely because there aren’t as many markets for the non-fiction topics I’m most interested in–history and such–so I feel a bit out of place. It’s also discouraging when every other job is just as much about code as it is about writing–I know basic HTML, but that’s about it.

    Research and interviews are a great place to start, too, and there are actually a lot of places that will pay for interviews if you query in advance. I can definitely do articles on topics I’m not too familiar with, but I’m the kind of person who can’t do anything well unless I really, really want to, so I need to find topics that fit my limited interests.

    Anyway, it’s a challenge, but I’m sure I can do it. At the very least, I think it is time for my publishing journey to begin in terms of both non-fiction and fiction. I feel like I’m ready to be published and contracted in advance and have to deal with deadlines and all that jazz. I’ve always wanted to be published, but now I’m kind of glad I wasn’t earlier, because the idea of deadlines on a novel is kind of frightening.

    Thanks so much for all of your support and for having faith in me through all this time. When my big literary breakthrough does happen, I hope you’ll come celebrate with me.

    ~Dianna

  5. Dianna,

    You can do it! You’re already a step ahead of other writers–you have a blog, and a very well laid out one at that. The only way to get there is to put one foot in front of the other. Writing full-time can be done! Depends on what type of writing you want to specialize in. Now’s a good time to try as much as you can and figure out where your passion lies. Looking forward to hearing about your successes!

    -Tara Lynne

    • Hi Tara,

      Thanks so much for stopping in with your words of support. I’m lucky in a way because I’ve always known what I wanted to do when I grew up, so I’ve spent a lot of time building towards that dream, which not many people my age have. In a way I’m unlucky because I really don’t have a good backup plan.

      Either way, I’m lucky because of all my wonderful blogosphere friends and my other friends from online communities and writing groups are here to support me. It means a lot to me that everyone who comes to visit is so supportive of my dream, especially now when I’m taking my first uncertain steps from the world of aspiring writer to the world of professional writer.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      ~Dianna

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