Writing for a Living: How Badly Do You Want It?

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2009/06/writing-for-a-living-how-badly-do-you-want-it/

I often hear people say that they want to be writers or that they wish they could do what I do for a living. Some people ask whether I can “get them into writing.” I tell them where they can look for work and give them suggestions about preparing a resume and samples for prospective clients. Most of them decide that’s too much “like work” and abandon the idea of being a writer at that point.

It is work. Not only do you have the work of doing your writing assignments, but you are your own Marketing, Customer Service, and Accounting Departments. As one of my clients pointed out, when you are self-employed, you only work half days, as in 12 hours each.

There are definite advantages, though, to being your own boss. You get to make decisions about who you will work with and what assignments you will take. When I used to work in an office, my income was decided by someone else and I got paid the same amount no matter how hard I worked. Now I get to decide what income level I want to achieve and how much work I need to take on to get it.

If this is something you really want to do, you will be prepared to do the leg work involved in finding out about markets and how to get started. There are many people who are willing to share what they know to help someone who has questions. Just don’t ask them to do the work for you. If this is something you really want to do, it won’t feel like work anyway.

Comments

  1. lol So true! I started writing 3 years ago, never planning to bother with publishers, etc. It was simply my own self-prescribed therapy Now I can’t stop. I’m online, I’m on my keyboard, I’m scribbling vague ideas … AAAA But getting paid? That’s another question altogether. I have decided (and I have NO organization in my life – NONE) to dedicate one day per week to the business side of this. The rest of it is mine.

    Good luck to anyone out there who thinks this isn’t work!

  2. I’ve had many people ask me how to make money writing online. When I tell them and give them websites to approach, they tell me “Oh that’s too much work!” Did they think I sit home and wave a magic wand over the keyboard to produce income? Would that it were possible…

  3. Haha. Hahahahaha… I have had so many people ask me how I got into writing, and how they can get started. I point them to a few sites, explain a few things, and then tell them to let me know if they have more questions. No one ever gets back to me. When they realize that I don’t get handed money for playing around, they aren’t interested. People really have no idea what is involved. Sure, I’m doing good now, but I work hard.

    Even if it is usually in my pajamas. ;)

  4. Oh how true! I’ve been a writer on both sides of the fence. I have done a lot of article marketing over the years and am now freelance writing, and I am amazed at how much work is out there!

    But you’re right – it is hard work and you really do need to manage your time well. You also need to focus on the task at hand, otherwise you won’t get anywhere fast.

  5. Donielle says:

    I agree that you should not look for anyone to “get you into writing.” For me I think the person wants to know some of the beginning steps. I write all the time. I have a lot of thing I want to say to the world. My mind is filled with all types of stories that I want to get out. I am currently working on 2 books that I want to publish. My only problem is when I finish with the final product then what? Where do I start. Who do I go to? Do I have to copywrite my work before I start trying to market it? I don’t know any other writers. Hopefully this website will be a starting point.

  6. After finding out that my company is being closed permanently, I am hoping that the lack of comfort zone will aid me in launching into a full time writing career. But in the little research I can do while still sitting at work (doing nothing), I’m really beginning to get overwhelmed and nervous about what direction to take. Odesk at first seemed promising until I saw a slew of available jobs paying $2 per article. I thought my talent was worth more than that! The more I research, the more I realize that it is in fact worth more than that, but now what? I don’t have much of a portfolio, although it is probably larger than I think it is – I actually forget how much writing I have been doing. I am waiting for some books from Amazon, and then I’m just scared out of my mind! How do I get that FIRST job??

    This is all very scary, but at the same time, the NEED to be able to do this is pushing me towards it. I’m so tired of wasting my talent and time at jobs I don’t care for. I’m not looking to get rich, but I am looking to make a living while working from home. I know it will be work, and I have it in me to do the work, but where do I find the right help, and more importantly, the right work? The resources are so all over the place: I found this blog from a reference on whitepaper.org to Peter Bowerman’s blog, which I had already been reading but hadn’t seen the list that mentions your blog. It’s all so confusing, so what is the best roadmap to navigate this world of ideas, resources, and help without taking a thousand wrong turns down $1 Per Article Avenue?

  7. Finding work IS work. And I think many people get the wrong impression about being a paid writer. I’ve run across a lot of people who want to write whatever they want as frequently (or infrequently) as they want, and make enough to earn a living. It simply doesn’t work that way. Every working writer I know personally has started out writing things they had no intention of writing.

    Whenever someone asks me about finding a job as a writer, I send them links to sites like this. It can take a lot of time and patience to sort through all of the “bad” jobs to find the good ones.

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