When I first started writing it was a hobby that I absolutely loved. It sounds a cliche, but I didn’t think for a second that it would become my career. It was just something I did because I enjoyed doing it.
I didn’t write for other people to read my work. I wrote for myself and myself only. That’s the mentality you have to carry with you into the world of freelance writing because trust me, it’s not easy.
Taking that leap from writing part-time to writing full-time is a big risk. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I was sure that I wanted to write for a living, so I convinced myself that that was enough. There’s a misconception that being a writer is quite simple: You write. How easy is that? I’ll be the first to admit that’s exactly what I assumed. I envied successful bloggers because I thought it must be one of the easiest careers in the world, but now I’m eating my words. It’s so much more than writing. It’s sending emails, it’s replying to emails, it’s skipping lunch because you really need to finish that article you’ve spent far too long editing (guilty), it’s promoting yourself on social media, it’s looking on writing job boards almost every day to make extra income that month. And breathe.
Before I became a full-time freelance writer I knew nothing about formatting, WordPress, or promoting myself. That’s something that I had to learn through experience. In fact, there’s still so much I don’t understand and perhaps it will take me a long time to grasp everything, but I’m still learning. The main thing I stick by is consistency. As long as I’m regularly producing content, researching, and learning new skills then I know that I’ll be able to improve as a freelance writer and hopefully increase my income.
Despite all of that, the most important thing is to write things that I enjoy writing. I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve written a post about something I had no interest in just because the pay was great. And sure, sometimes that’s what you have to do. It’s a job. But I don’t feel myself when I write about topics that I have no experience in. The words feel forced. I read it back and the tone doesn’t seem right and I wonder if any of the readers can pick up on my false enthusiasm. I never want to lose sight of the reason why I started writing in the first place.
Honestly, I’ve never once said that I hated my job. There are some days when the words aren’t flowing or the ideas aren’t forming and I convince myself that maybe, just maybe, writing isn’t for me. But then I’ll have an amazing day or week or month when I feel like this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s something that I’ve just had to accept. The highs are high and the lows are low.
Of course, I’m going to complain sometimes. That’s what happens when you make the transition of writing as a hobby to writing for a living. It’s a business, which means that I’m responsible for how much I get paid each month. That can be scary. I’ve discovered that it’s trial and error with this type of work. I prefer working 9 – 5 because it’s the only way for me to stay focused. I prefer writing in silence because music is the worst kind of distraction. I prefer a few consistent writing jobs rather than a long stream of one-off writing gigs because it’s easier for me to keep on top of it.
To put it simply, no two freelance writers are the same. That’s what I’ve discovered so far.