Are you thinking of being a freelance writer?
Here’s the secondary, but more important question: Why are you thinking of being a freelance writer?
In other words, what I am asking you is to think deep and hard about your reason to be a freelance writer, in case you are leaning in that direction.
If you haven’t really thought through clearly about why you would like to travel on the freelance writer road, then you should be ready to face quite a few bumps along the way. Yes sir, yes madam, you should be aware that the road looks great from a distance, but once you come closer to it and actually begin to walk on the road, then initially it is not so smooth.
Later on, once you have travelled a couple of hundred miles on the freelance writer road, then you get to enjoy the scenery. Till then, you have to walk on it step by step making the effort it demands, till you begin touching your personal milestones.
Personal? Yes indeed, personal, as there is nobody else to set out those targets and milestones for you. This sounds a bit harsh, I know. But it is better to be clear about what you are getting into, before you make any final decision.
For starters, here are five basic things you need, to be a freelance writer.
1. You need to write well: You have to be honest with yourself. If you write well, that is good. If you don’t write that well and your writing falls in the ‘OK’ category, then you have a problem. You might land a job in some company based on your ‘OK’ skill in writing. However, when you open yourself up and try to ease into the freelance writing market, then your writing is all you have on display. Nothing else counts. Every new client that you reach out to wants a particular kind of writing. If you can show that your good writing can do the job, he will give you the assignment and after a time you will get payment. So, you have to have writing that your client is willing to pay money for.
2. You need to have bank balance: You better have some kind of bank balance, or some financial support system that can give you a lift for about six months to 12 months when you start your freelancing journey. The kind of money you will earn in the initial months of freelancing may not be enough for your needs. It might just cover a small part of your most persistent bills. As you get more experience, things get better and calmer.
3. You need to be mentally strong: You need to be strong in the mind. Reason is, not many people you know among your friends and family circle are freelancing in any manner. Most of them are into jobs, which are traditionally acceptable and considered by many to be a hundred times better and safer option than a freelance writing career. There will be arguments about your decision, or you might start having some negative thoughts after walking just a couple of miles down the road. If you can’t handle this kind of environment, then you know what’s better for you.
4. You need to be disciplined: As a freelance writer, you have to be disciplined in your habits and work ethics. You cannot be laid-back and take it easy in the beginning. Once you start walking on this road, then you have to have halters on and your mind should remain fixed on the objective you have decided. Any wavering of any kind and before you know it, you will find yourself off the road and on to some side lane that has a dead end. Only disciplined guys and girls become good freelance writers.
5. You need to measure your time: Time is of the essence. As a freelance writer, you are giving your time to your client and doing his work to earn money. You have to be very careful how you spend your time every hour in the day. You have to almost measure how much time you are putting in your different client projects. The obvious reason is, if you don’t give time to your writing projects, then those projects don’t get done and you don’t get paid. This also leads to another big fall — you lose a client. Again, as you gain experience, you learn how to handle time and your clients. Then, you learn how to get work done and breathe easy too. But, till that happens, remember to smile often.
There are many more things you need to consider, before you dive into the field of being called a freelance writer. But these are fair starting points to let you understand the kind of journey you might be taking on with your decision.