I’ve seen a number of web sites recently that suggest freelance writing as a survival job for people who are in between employment opportunities. While I admit that I do find the idea that anyone who can string a couple of words together can get paid to write until they find something better to do with their time a little insulting, this post isn’t about that particular topic. I want to talk about people already working as freelance writers who may be faced with having to work for less than they are used to making.
Many of us are familiar with the feast or famine cycle that goes along with working for yourself. There are times when you are tempted to pull out your own hair because you have so much to do and there are other times when you find it hard to round up even one client who has work for you. During these times, do you keep looking for new work or do you take a freelance writing job that pays a lower rate than you are used to getting?
My advice would be to do both. Not every gig that you take on is going to be your dream job. If your priority is to (A) keep body and soul together, the lights on and not have to think about sleeping under the stars unless you choose to go camping, and (B) to continue to develop your skills as a writer, then taking a survival job makes sense.
Set aside some time every day to send out queries, contact prospective clients, apply for advertised gigs or whatever job search strategies you have decided to use and complete the project you have in front of you. It may lead to something better down the pipe; if not, at least you are working.
The valleys in a freelance writing business don’t last forever, but neither do the peaks (unfortunately). I’m all for doing what you need to do to keep bills paid and the money coming in, even if it pays less than what you normally charge until you find your next great gig.