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Freelance Writing – Write Your Own Definition

laptop-in-the-grassMy web buddy, fellow blogger and freelance writer Deb Ng tweaks my nose a bit in her post Is Freelance Writing Only a Work From Home Job? (How did she know I used to have slippers just like those? She’s magic is the only answer I can come up with.)

She and I both post jobs for freelance writers, but we have a difference. I try to post only jobs that can be done, as I usually say, at home in your pjs. Deb posts a wider variety of writing jobs, including some you can do from home, some that are temporary gigs in offices and some that are more or less as permanent as any job gets these days.

Deb also quotes a dictionary definition of freelance which includes, as she points out, writers and creative types who work in other places than at home. She fondly remembers a full time job where some freelancers came to the office for short, temporary stints.

It’s My Definition, Darn It

Okay, the term does have, officially, a wider definition than I give it. But not my freelancing. Sure I’ll meet with clients at their offices, or mine, or at the beach or in a restaurant. Yes, I occasionally travel for clients. And yes, I clean up nicely; I can costume for any occasion.

But I don’t want to get dressed in business clothes more than once and awhile, certainly not five days in a row! I don’t want to be told I can’t wear open toed shoes to an office (yes, that happened to me once in a non-writing, regular job I held briefly, and they tried to convince me it was for safety while we made phone calls!)

I also don’t want to fight traffic or sit in traffic or feel overwhelmed by traffic.


To me the free in freelancer refers to the freedom to work the way that works best for me. I’ve found that also means I do the best work for my clients.

I’m free to turn off my computer and go to the zoo (San Diego’s zoo is wonderful) or the beach or throw pots or garden. Heck I can even go to the super stores on a Tuesday morning when few people are their.

And yes, I do get out of the house and sometimes it’s about writing. I meet with my Mastermind writing group today at lunch – this time at a Korean restaurant. How cool is that?

If I were working in-house in someone’s office I couldn’t do any of these things, at least not on the schedule I want.

Is it always great? Well, yes, in many ways it is. Is it for everyone? Probably not.

What’s Your Definition?

As I think about this I realize my definition has changed over the years. I’ve done some temporary in-house writing jobs. I’ve done some part time work inside. I’ve commuted and gotten dressed up and even worn (gasp) high heels. (Why are high heels considered safer by some than open toed shoes? Sigh.)

I’ll bet your definition will change, if it hasn’t already.

But tell us, what’s your definition of freelance today?

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Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Before I started doing freelance work, I had a client contact once who commented on my not wearing socks. I told her, “It’s a concession on my part to wear the shoes.” She just laughed. Flip-flops are my winter boots, now. With Skype on board, I have to dress up a little. Well, from the waist up, anyway…
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

    • Anne

      lol Jorge, if G*d had meant us to wear shoes… well, I do clean up pretty well, but I sure love not having to very often.

  • To me freelance is being able to crawl out of bed, grab that cup of coffee, hair-ah all messed up, still in night clothes and sit down at my computer and begin writing!

    Now, THAT is the way to live!

    Instead of spending all that time and money on fancy clothes, stockings, gas and driving 50 miles one way to work (yes, did that for four years!) putting in all that time at the office, missing out on family affairs, missing out on fun….. and then still be laid off?

    Love freelancing and loved this article. Now, I’m ready to make the money those big time writers are making!!! LOL….

    Thanks!

    Deb Lamb 🙂
    PS….Anne, I’m working on that guest post for you. Thanks for your patience!
    .-= Deb Lamb´s last blog ..True and Compassionate Story about Drugs, Addiction and Disease—Yes, Good Kids Do Drugs Too! =-.

    • If your articles are always this hplfeul, “I’ll be back.”

  • Couldn’t agree with you more Anne, of course in my situation (living abroad) I couldn’t take those ‘office gigs’ even if I wanted to, which I emphatically don’t. I love the fact that I can work hard at a time of my choosing, and if the sun’s out take a walk to the castle and get an ice cream cone as my ‘break’ instead of sitting in a stuffy break room and listening to people whine. Yes, we sometimes have to work when other people don’t, but we DO get to go the zoo or the beach or NOT go out in the nasty weather. I think freelancers inherently love having the ability to choose! 🙂
    p.s. Anne, I think I worked in that same San Diego office, no open-toed shoes and no sleeveless tops or dresses! Oy!

    Paula Swenson’s last blog post..Without Reservations

  • Well, I’m with Deb. Words mean what they mean — as writers, we should respect that.

  • admin

    Ed, lifestyle is a good description… fits me.
    Deb – no bunny slippers? awwwww
    PJ – good definition
    Trish and Margie, love it when folks agree.

  • That’s with, not wish! LOL

    margiewrites’s last blog post..Networking and the Freelance Writer

  • I’m wish Trisha on this one. I won’t completely rule out an on-site freelance gig — but it would have to be a really great opportunity to get me away from my home office. I love being able to go out and exercise when everyone else is at work and then come back and resume if I need to. It’s the freedom to schedule my day anyhow I like it that I love about freelancing from home.

    margiewrites’s last blog post..Networking and the Freelance Writer

  • Yeah, I prefer to work from home. In fact, it would have to be a pretty sweet gig for it to drag me out of my house and into the office setting. I just like being my own boss a whole lot better.

  • I actually like a little of both. Working on site generally means more money and just when I’m sick of all the people in the office, the project is over. But I love the work from home part, too. (Or from the library. Or from Panera Bread.) I’m the only one in my social circle that gets to go to the movies in the middle of the day or just decided to hang out at the beach on a whim. Sometimes my husband or friends get jealous but I just remind them that I’m also the only one that works early Sunday mornings or sometimes works until all hours of the night. Freelancing is what you make of it. That’s my definition.

  • Well put, and nothing I can argue with. It’s indeed up to each freelancer to set his own terms and decide what his freelance career means.

    Mind you, I have no intention of returning to an office job, nor do I want to accept on-site contract positions. I do include jobs on my lists for the people who wish to take advantage of these opportunities, however.

    Oh …and I draw the line at bunny slippers too. I’m strictly a flip flop girl.

  • Ed

    For me, freelancing is just as much a lifestyle as it is a form of employment. After working in offices, I had the chance to work at home. Freelancing brought more freedom and the ability to connect more fully with family. Freelancing also means greater choice; you can be a work-a-holic, no matter where you call your office. For myself, the freelance choice meant I could pick what is important that day – beit a day with family or hunkered down banging out a feature due tomorrow. Essentially, freelancing is freedom on your terms.

    Ed’s last blog post..Chicago Sun-Times Files For Chapter 11

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