3 Pros and Cons of Freelance Writing

by Anne Wayman

yes noIf you’re thinking about joining the ranks of successful freelance writers, or if you’re already writing as a freelancer and simply want to review how it’s going, here are some of the pros and cons, or cautions, about a freelance writing career.

Pros

The three major pros of freelance writing as far as I’m concerned are as follows:

Your time is your own

I love the fact that I can go to the market at 10 am on a Tuesday and not feel crowded, or that I can start work at 7:30 am after meditation, and that I don’t have to factor in commute time, or even getting dressed up to start writing.

Writing income potential is unlimited

In theory, there’s absolutely no limit on how much you can earn as a freelance writer. There’s little or no discrimination in who gets to write what. You could get rich, even seriously rich. Business Insider lists the top earning authors in October 2013 – they report the most earned is $95 million, and the least to be on this list is $12 million,

You’re in the writing business

If you plan on earning even a part time income you can treat your writing as a business. Depending where you are in the world and how much you actually earn, this may provide some tax deductions – check with a tax professional please. Fortunately, the business side of writing is a totally learnable skill. Being in business means taking our writing, income, marketing and yourself as a writer seriously. Which doesn’t have to be grim at all. Behaving like a responsible business person can actually open doors and expand your horizons.

Cautions

There are, of course, downsides to freelance writing. In fact the pluses can often turn into minuses in a hurry. Which is why this list of three is the same as the one above. I’m not at all sure these are cons (an argument against something) so much as cautions.

Your time is your own

Since there’s no one looking over your shoulder, it’s totally up to you to organize and discipline yourself to get the writing done. If you don’t sit down at your computer and write, the writing simply won’t get done. That seems obvious, but I find amazing ways to fool myself. That’s why I track my time.

Writing income potential is unlimited

Note the word¬†potential.¬†A hard truth about freelance writing is many struggle for years and never make a sale, particularly novel writers. Those who write web content and blogs for businesses, and who ghostwrite books for celebrities and lesser known people can make a nice yearly income. But it doesn’t happen all at once and writing is anything but a get rich quick scheme.

You’re in the writing business

I know. Some of you absolutely hate the idea of writing as a business. Some of you think it’s selling out; others just don’t want to be bothered. I can’t prove it, but I strongly suspect that those who aren’t willing to treat their writing in a business-like manner will eventually fail. It’s really a choice. Part of a business like approach is setting up your own schedule of writing fees.

Your turn… what’s the best and the worst of freelance writing for you?

annesig

 

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine James April 16, 2014 at 11:07 am

The best part of freelancing is the flexibility of time. I fit my work around my life, rather than my life around my work.

However, the worst part of freelancing is all the responsibility. You are no longer part of a work-place team and at times that can feel burden-some, (though you can alleviate some of that by hiring VAs).
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annew April 16, 2014 at 11:11 am

Katherine, I know what you mean. Right now I’m completing a blog for a client and I’ve gotten bored with it. So glad you dropped in when you did! ;)

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John Soares April 16, 2014 at 8:47 am

Anne, I think effectively managing time is perhaps the biggest challenge all freelancers face.
John Soares recently posted..How I Chose My Freelance Writing NichesMy Profile

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annew April 16, 2014 at 8:56 am

Could be… I suspect, however, the biggest challenge also depends on where you are in your freelance career… I may try a post on this… or maybe you should.

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Paula Hendrickson April 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Amen, Anne!
And piggybacking on Cathy’s comment: too many people seem to forget the “free” part of freelance refers to freedom, not the rates.

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annew April 16, 2014 at 7:05 am

Ah, just say ‘no’ to those folks, Paula…

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Cathy Miller April 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Love it, Anne. Had me smiling with the duplicate headings. :-)

The best I define in one word – freedom. The worst – inconsistency. You can be cruising along, then wham! But I wouldn’t trade it. ;-)
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annew April 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Yeah, freedom probably does sum it up best.

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