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Why Do Freelance Writers Write? Why Do You?

Why write?

People start freelance writing for all sorts of reasons. In every case it’s fair to say they start with one or more expectations. Here is a rundown of the reasons I run into here on this blog and in my writing life in general.

It looks like an easy way to make some money. Believe it or not a fair number of people take a stab at at freelance writing because it looks easy to them. These folks let the idea of becoming freelance writers fall away quickly unless they also fall into another category or two.

Driven to write. Freelance writers who claim to be driven always confuse me a bit. I can’t imagine not writing yet I don’t feel driven by it. Of course, I’m a pretty upbeat person and don’t feel driven by much. Maybe someone can explain this to me in comments.

By accident. Although I seem to have always wanted to write and actually had gotten a job editing a magazine, I fell into ghostwriting by accident as it were. Others have told me they too started writing professionally by accident. I think the message here is to say yes when writing opportunities occur. They can happen almost anywhere actually.

Make some money. I can’t count the number of people who write to make some money – small money or what my mother called pin money. Many wives have found they can supplement their husband’s income writing and I suppose at least some men have found writing can supplement their partner’s income. Or their partner’s. It is actually fairly easy to earn small amounts of money writing.

Make a living. Earning enough to live on, and even to support a family is the goal of many who begin freelance writing. Some actually succeed.

Work from home. This has been a huge one for me. I’ve had a few writing jobs where I had to show up in an office. Those are better than other things I might get paid for working in someone else’s space, but not much. The freedom of working at home is a big driver for me.

Work anywhere you want. I have to chuckle at this one because I did some writing from Fiji and Tonga years ago long before wireless. In fact I didn’t even take a computer with me, but used pen and paper. Today, of course, it’s pretty easy to write from anywhere and there are a significant number of freelancers who write on the go as it were. I might even try some of this myself.

Become recognized as an authority. Writing a book is a great way to enhance a career – books still say the author knows their stuff. The same thing can be true with blogging. Bloggers often become recognized experts provided the niche is specific. But a book is done once its written and many people don’t want to write beyond that, which is fine.

Why do you write?


Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by Editor B


{ 28 comments… add one }
  • I stumbled into writing 6 years ago, since I lost a job! I have been writing ever since. Now I love it and it’s become my habit?
    Ron – SEO Copy-e-Writing Blog recently posted..Shit! I Am Not An Expert. How Do I Write?My Profile

  • I write because I can’t ‘draw a straight line’ always wanted to become this well known great artist-now, I admire others who create with the power of a brush…admiring great art works quiets the yearning somewhatl…Writing affords me a few knick-knacks and feeds a need in me to create something! Love what I do:)
    Clara Freeman recently posted..Book Review: Nine Rubies By Mahru GhashghaeiMy Profile

    • Clara, I know the feeling until I discovered I could draw and preferred to write… I wasn’t very good at the drawing but I felt the drawing and recognized it as the same process as writing… I now do some hand building of pottery once in a while.

  • I consider myself more of a Blogger than an actual Freelance Writer although I also had some Professional Writing By Accident, besides writing a lot of emails to collegues, and business relations, or writing an occasional Press Release also Co-creating and actually Writing Promotional Materials.

    So I guess it’s a combination of reasons, I also just like Blogging,
    and (Pre) Selling Products with doing Affiliate Marketing. I also like having readers writing Comments, writing Comments back or writing Replies on Comments.

    For example I also have a Book Review Blog(s) where readers can Share their own Experiences and Write – Why – they enjoy reading Books they read.
    HP van Duuren recently posted..What Do You Think About My Book Review?My Profile

  • I’m on the “I’d be writing anyway” train too, nice seeing you here LOL
    Well, I was an introverted introvert introverting child who grew up reading, reading, and reading. Books were magical creations, and one becomes what (s)he admires most.
    I promised myself I would become a writer at the age of eight, when my third-grade teacher gave us the universal dissertation subject “What job will you do when you grow up?” It was the first time I was faced with the question, but I didn’t have to think it over.
    WritersWritingWords (Eleni) recently posted..“Grámmata” (Letters) Beach on Syros IslandMy Profile

    • My folks said I started talking about writing in the 6th grade.

  • I just can’t not write. It’s who I am. And like Wade said, it’s always been something I do.

    Why I freelance is an entirely different matter. I loved working on a magazine staff until the new boss arrived and made life living hell. I had blinders on to the politics — until he showed up, I thought working around creatives was this beautiful Valhalla where everyone understood the moodiness, the creativity, the joy of filling a blank page. What a putz I was! LOL

    When I lost that job, I had my chance to make a go of a freelance career. I wasn’t sure I would stick with it at first, but things went well the first year, so I gave it more of my energy.
    Lori recently posted..What They Don’t Teach You in J SchoolMy Profile

    • Interesting, even in my few best jobs I hankered to work at home… maybe freelancing is really in my blood as it were.

  • (Because I can) Not to sound arrogant, but it has always been something I do. My second grade teacher said I was a good writer and I believed her.

    • If you’re arrogant Wade so am I. For a long time I thought writing was easy for everyone…

  • I’m “driven” to write because I was born with a pen in one hand and a pencil in the other.

    I write and draw, draw and write. The two activities are conjoint twins in my heart and mind and they both define myself as the person everybody knows. 🙂

    There are things that are difficult to explain. Money just makes everything better; in fact, every time I get paid for a new article I go hugging my mom and dad with tears of joy in my eyes and a smile that could break my cheeks: “Mom! Dad! My article was published and paid!”.


    ~ Luana S.
    Luana Spinetti @ Writer’s Mind recently posted..5 Stress-Free Ways To Continue Writing Even When You’re SickMy Profile

    • I’d say you’re hooked indeed, Luana. Which is a good thing.

  • Kathleen Kline

    I started writing to help explain the work my family did, it worked as effective advertising and saved us money on advertising, then, this work from home mom was bitten by the family writing bug. –I think my grandfather is looking down smiling as one of us followed him and his passion. — And over the years I have been able to earn money at it. I too know, like Jane R stated above, I love deadlines, they keep me honest.

    But now I write, and it seems, as I look back, I have always written, because it is my way of helping others. And truth be known… myself.

    • Kathleen, what kind of business was your family in? I love the image of your grandfather smiling.

  • I started freelancing when my first child was born… you can decide the amount you want to work and when you put in the time, which is perfect for moms who are at home. Of course, as my kids got older, it freed me up to take on writing jobs that took me out of the house/office, which was nice, too. I write because, selfishly, it’s the thing I get the most enjoyment out of. I guess I could do something else, but why? ; )
    Anne Woodman recently posted..Extroverts AnonymousMy Profile

    • Anne, I’m not sure that’s even remotely selfish.

  • This is a great read. Personally, I write for the love of writing, the money and the fact that I work from home.

    Thank you
    wally recently posted..How to Withdraw Online Cash in KenyaMy Profile

    • Seems like we have much the same motivation, Wally.

  • Because I can and I want to. 😉
    Cathy Miller recently posted..What Footprint Does Your Business Writing Leave Behind?My Profile

    • Chuckling… so true. Because I can and I want to… great slogan Cathy.

  • I’m a freelance writer because I make a good income doing it and I have the freedom to set my own hours and travel when and where I want.
    John Soares recently posted..How to Eat Your Way to Freelance SuccessMy Profile

  • Just because I love to write. I wouldn’t say I’m driven, but I can’t imagine doing anything else. That I get paid to write is just the icing on the cake. 🙂
    Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..A Year’s Worth of Writer Marketing InspirationMy Profile

  • I’d be writing anyway, so I figured I might as well get paid to cover the Internet bill (and more). I never thought writing would be easy. It’s one of the hardest things I do. Writing despite not feeling like it, because I have a deadline and I need to get things done. I don’t think I would ever go back though. Not now.
    Jane Rutherford recently posted..What you can learn about writing dialogue from Spartacus VengeanceMy Profile

    • Yeah, “I’d be writing anyway” sort of says it all doesn’t it.

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