7 Terrible Reasons to Become a Freelance Writer

Frustrated freelance writer got into it for all the wrong reasons.I’ve got a question for you: Why do you want to be a freelance writer?

It’s worth taking a minute to ponder that. Because I’ve found that pursuing freelance writing for the wrong reasons can spell big problems.

Here are the seven most common reasons I hear from people for why they want to become a freelance writer — and why these wrongheaded motivations often doom those freelance-writing dreams. The items in quotes are all compiled directly from my email inbox:

1. Temporary panic. “I was laid off recently and haven’t been able to find another job, so I thought I’d try this while I keep looking.”

No one wants to hire a writer who is just on a temporary visa to the land of freelance writing.  Who’s sticking one toe in the freelance waters.

Editors and business owners want to hire stable freelancers who are dedicated to working in this mode. Also, dividing your energy between trying to land the next day job and freelancing doesn’t often bring a good outcome for either pursuit.

As Yoda said, there is no “try” in freelance writing. That implies half an effort — and that’s not going to make it happen. There is only making a wholehearted commitment to it, and doing it.

2. You think you’ve got no other options. “I have a disability/must stay home to care for my disabled child/spouse/parent, so I can’t do anything else.”

There are many work-from-home jobs that are easier to ramp up and do than freelance writing. Be a virtual assistant, for instance. Be a remote-based employee for a company — call centers hire lots of personnel that way now. Freelance writing is not your only option, and if you’re choosing it simply because it’s the only idea you’ve got, keep exploring.

Freelance writing is difficult to earn well at if you can never leave the house or take a phone call. Yes, you can build some business online, but eventually, good clients want to take meetings or hop on Skype. This may not be compatible with your situation.

3. You don’t like writing. “Writing isn’t something I’m that enthusiastic about, but I’ve researched the options and this seems like the only thing with the flexibility I need.”

You may laugh, but you’d be surprised how many people seem to choose freelance writing by throwing a dart at a board. It’s not a passion, they haven’t been writing compulsively all their lives. But they have weighed the freelance options and selected writing from a list of possibilities.

Unfortunately, I’ve never met a thriving freelance writer who dislikes writing. That’s because freelance writing isn’t like writing a novel or your journal. It involves working hard on writing craft, marketing, and pleasing clients.

If you don’t start with love of the core task you’ll be doing all day, you’re not going to stick with this. It’ll be agony.

4. You’re unrealistic. “I have five free hours a week and desperately need to quit my job, so I’m planning to quickly launch a freelance writing business in my free time.”

This is a fantasy. Launching a freelance writing business that will pay all your bills will take quite a while to ramp if you only have a few hours a week.

What will likely happen instead is you will hop on content mills and earn a few pennies, because you have no marketing time. You will be very overworked between you day job and this, but it will never add up to a situation where you’ll feel confident quitting your job.

5. You don’t understand the marketplace. “I’m hoping I can earn a living as a freelance writer with my poetry/short stories/opinions/essays/book reviews.”

My heart breaks for the many writers I encounter who are hoping this could work. But there is little reliable, well-paid writing in these areas. The bulk of paid freelance writing work is nonfiction, reported articles for magazines, and writing for businesses.

If you could pay the mortgage with poems, I’m sure I wouldn’t find poets serving as many publication editors to pay the bills. You’ll need to broaden your horizons and learn new writing forms if you want to make a steady living from writing.

6. You’re allergic to business. “I really hate everything to do with business, but I’m planning to suck it up and find some clients.”

OK, this one is a big, big problem. Business-haters need to understand that 1) you are going into business yourself here, so that makes you a self-hater and 2) businesses are a big source of great pay in freelance writing.

If you’re coming into it holding your nose, it’s doubtful you’re going to be able to do the marketing necessary or tolerate working for the clients who pay the big bucks.

7. You’re a full-time mom. “I want to be a freelance writer so that I can homeschool/unschool/stay home full time with my baby/preschooler(s).”

This one is the biggest myth in freelancing, that you will somehow magically find great clients and meet their deadlines while the howling baby who also kept you up all night sits on your hip. Or while you create from scratch and teach Liam with your custom-crafted, multi-sensory homeschool curriculum. Not. Going. To. Happen.

They say being a mom is a full-time job because…it’s a full-time job. And so is freelance writing.

I know because I’ve been that mom. And because my Freelance Writers Den forums are full of posts from new moms who are having nervous breakdowns because they’re slowly going broke and can’t get any freelance traction and can’t figure out why. The answer is: You need childcare, hon.

Grandmas or babysitting swaps with other work-at-home moms can be a great solution for a while, but sooner or later, kids need to go to preschool or a nanny comes or there’s a child care center that becomes your friend. For at least a few reliable, half-day blocks of time.

Yes, you can write while they nap (for a couple years) and late at night/early in the morning (if you’re not too tired), and maybe cobble together a small income. But if you’re quitting your corporate job in hopes of replacing a $50,000 income with an occasional spot of writing work you dash off at naptime, that is a pipe dream.

Good reasons to be a freelance writer

Now that we’ve run this down — why should you get into freelance writing? What’s the scenario that tends to lead to success? Key factors:

  • You love writing with a passion.
  • You are willing to write about topics that aren’t your personal favorites.
  • You’re willing to aggressively market your services.
  • You’re game to learn new writing tools, types, and skills to keep up with market needs.
  • You are realistic about how much work it will take, how long it will take to launch this, and how tough the competition is.

My experience is these factors are the basis for building a successful freelance writing business. This isn’t a lark, or a fill-in project, or something you can do in 10 minutes a day.

It takes talent, dedication, and a commitment to seeing it through. If you’ve got that, you can build a freelance writing business that will give you the financial rewards you want, and the personal freedom we all seek.

What’s your reason for becoming a freelance writer? Leave a comment and let us know.

Freelance writing success

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53 comments on “7 Terrible Reasons to Become a Freelance Writer
  1. David Brown says:

    Carol,

    You seemed to have cornered the online market for freelance writing advice. Your site keeps coming up in Google searches, and your content is helpful. Congratulations to you. I have wanted to be a writer since I was nine. (I can’t say how many times I have restated that.) But the writing I have in mind is something altogether different. You said:

    “… freelance writing isn’t like writing a novel or your journal….”

    and

    “I think working as a freelance writer is ideal for writers pursuing fiction.”

    When I think of writing, the works of writers such as Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Dickens, Melville, Hemingway, or H.G. Wells come to mind. I think of crafting fine stories in literary fashion. Or I think of the great non-fiction writings of Winston Churchill, William James, or Carl Jung. What I don’t think of are business blogs or how-to articles. You will argue that this is also the stuff of great writing, but I wonder.

    When I read Leonard Woolley’s account of the Sumerians earlier this year, I was fascinated. I love the way he told about the uncovering of the temple of ancient Ur, and how he described the design of houses in the city. The subject matter fascinates me. But content marketing to improve a company’s financial position? Not so much.

    Here are some articles I recently submitted online (for which I received a pittance):

    “Branding Strategies for Software Providers”
    “Exploding IT Outsourcing Myths”
    “Is Big Data Definable?”

    I know that writing for content marketing or other freelance purposes gives a writer experience in writing economically as well as developing a solid writing work ethic. But what is the return on investment when our minds and souls are limited to such tedious and temporal topics? If it is about making money, I can think of much more interesting things to do that free me from the illusion that I am in the same realm as the timeless and influential authors that I love.

    Become a freelance writer? At what price?

    [I may feed these comments into one of my blog posts, now that I’ve written them. Hope you don’t mind.]
    David Brown recently posted…Writing as MysteryMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      David, I guess I think if writing copy was good enough for Salman Rushdie (former Ogilvy & Mather), and newspaper reporting was good enough for Mark Twain, it’s good enough for me.

      If you’re writing SEO junk, I’ll agree that it doesn’t do much for skill-building. But that’s not the kind of writing I encourage freelance writers to get into.

      Feel free to use your comments here elsewhere.

  2. Jason says:

    I’m only 15 years of age, I really want to be a freelance writer because it’s my dream. Writing isn’t just a passion, writing is like oxygen in my lungs. The pencils I use to write are an extension of my heart pouring onto a paper, whether or not I’m emotionally attached to what I’m writing. I believe that this world can benefit from me writing.

  3. Annie Star says:

    I want to become a freelance writer to help people; to be known for something good and lasting:)

  4. Brandon Baer says:

    My bad, that was a response to Abby’s post, but it doesn’t seem that I can edit or delete that post.

  5. Brandon Baer says:

    While it’s a far more pragmatic move to focus what you’re doing now, it’s also important not to give up on creative pursuits however lofty they might seem. You certainly shouldn’t quit working for actual clients to write that novel in your head, but making a living as an author or screenwriter can still be a possible future for you.

  6. Very good read. I definitely agree with all of these reasons. I hate when people think we just sit on our butts and do nothing. I work just as much as I would at a full time job on my writing.

  7. Lyn says:

    Thank you so much Carol for posting this article. It made me realize I am in the right track 🙂 I became an online writer and blogger because I have this very strong passion to write and share my thoughts with other people. Earning some decent cash from the internet is somewhat coincidental because I just love to scribble every spare time I have away!

  8. Nadia McDonald says:

    This article is timely. Freelance writing is usually exploited by people who want something to do to earn a buck! Anybody can write, but it takes a passionate person to succeed long term with the craft. I am a passionate writer, and I have developed my writing skills learning many types of techniques. In addition to writing, I want to broaden my knowledge and strategies in marketing as well.

  9. Thank you for such a great post, and a reality check. I have writing ability and enjoy it, but I fall squarely in reason #7 with three kids (2 homeschooled) and one more due in July (and we have no family in town or budget room to afford childcare). This is a good reminder that it’s okay to not feel guilty if my full-time job right now is taking care of our kids. Still, I would like to work on my writing in the evenings when I have a chance.
    Jenni/Life from the Roof recently posted…The first year they sleep: Thoughts on perennials and making things by handMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Parent swaps…are awesome in these situations. I used to swap all the time with other work-at-home moms.

      And you certainly can work a bit in the evening if you’re not wiped out. It’s hard to build it into much of a regular income, but you could find an understanding client who loves what you do and is flexible on deadlines…that’s pretty much what you need as a mom with young kids.

  10. Mark says:

    Hi Carol!

    Kevin Carleton shared your post on Google Plus, and since I’m a big fan of his, I knew I had to looking into a new source for some creative ideas!

    Wow! Where to begin? All seven points are excellent!

    And it sounds like unfortunately, your inbox is filled with lots of totally unrealistic and totally unprepared potential freelancers!

    Hey, maybe you should start a “boot camp” just for freelancers! And teach them “How to” prepare to become a full (or at least) well paid freelance writer! (Especially if you’re extremely strapped for time!)

    Anyway, pardon my digression! Tips # 3, and 4 through 7, all make total sense! It’s obvious, from where you stand, you’ve simply seen and heard it all at least twice!

    Thank goodness, you’re there to add a dose of reality to their daydreams! Great post and thank you for sharing your extremely keen and entertaining insights!
    Mark recently posted…Strategic Alliances: How To Get Powerful Endorsements From Complete Strangers!Part TwoMy Profile

  11. I like writing because of the potential to support yourself from anywhere in the world. That idea is what motivates me the most.
    Timothy Torrents Writer recently posted…Link Party #2: Freelance LoveMy Profile

  12. Elke Feuer says:

    A thought provoking post! Freelancing dropped into my lap, and to be honest I saw is as an opportunity to get my name out there, and highlight my books and other authors in my community.

    I’m fortunate to have a full-time job that pays my bills so the income I make from writing covers my writing expenses.

    My ultimate goal is to make enough money to write full-time doing novels and freelancing, so I can help more authors in my community.

    It’s a juggling act I hope to handle as well as you do, Carol. 🙂

  13. Jeremy says:

    You have you make peace with the idea that you will be poor at first, you have to be able to power through the dips (e.g. writer’s block), and you have to love it in spite of all that. You’re right, it isn’t easy, but I can’t see myself doing anything else!
    Jeremy recently posted…The World’s Newest Language!My Profile

  14. Rachael says:

    Discovering that this is what I want to do has been a painful journey at times. I have explored many different careers in several fields (business, medicine, etc.) but nothing appealed to me like writing did and does. It’s almost not like a choice, but a compulsion. Even when I step away from me, it draws me back in. I just don’t think anything else would give me fulfillment like this does.

    I know I have a long road ahead of me, but if it means I can do what I absolutely love, it’s worth it.

  15. Tanya says:

    I chose freelance writing, because I have always loved to write and everything else you entered under the “Good Reasons” headline. I’m a little slow in the marketing department of my own writing. (Funny, I have no problem doing that for others.) But, I’m working on it. #1 seems to be the reason I hear some people get into freelance writing. I guess that would be an okay way to go IF you have a second income (spouse, sugar daddy/mama, etc). I’ve had #1 happen to me, so now the goal is to find a job in lieu of a sugar daddy to support me so I can grow my freelance business and eventually dump the day job.

  16. Carol, I am surprised to see some of the reasons people decide on freelance writing as an income stream. I had no idea.

    Before reading this I would not be able to believe that some people can so nonchalantly choose to do freelance writing. Wow! Let me throw another dart at the dartboard – to choose my niche’ – lol!

    At the same, I am glad you are able to point out alternatives to people who need to work from home for various reasons. Without a passion for writing, freelance writing will not work.

    However, I can understand people who come to freelance writing intending to write “poetry – short stories -opinions -essays – book reviews”.

    And yes, as a mentor I am sure it is difficult to break the news to them. However, it is still possible to develop these things on the side – and I think it can only enhance one’s creativity to do so.

    Also, I am thinking of a blog post you wrote about paying the bills with freelance writing while pursuing literary goals – but can’t find the link at this time.

    My main reason for deciding on freelance writing as a career is because I love to write – or another way of putting it – I have been compulsively writing all my life (it’s so good to see someone actually put that in print – yes, the secret is out).

    Secondly, the idea of marketing my writing is totally fascinating.

    Third, I can adapt my writing to any subject or market simply because it is writing and it’s what I like to do (maybe even who I am).

    Fourth, when researching and writing on a topic, I become wholeheartedly engaged with that topic – I am inside the world produced by the research and writing on that topic.

    Fifth, hopefully my #4 makes sense.

    • Carol Tice says:

      It’s always eye-opening to take a cruise through my email, isn’t it? You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff writers tell me.

      I’m definitely not here to tell anyone to stop writing poetry or short stories. I just worry if they believe they will find a way to pay all their bills as an unknown writer in those kind of niches, in time for this month’s mortgage. The slog to success is very long and may not ever happen, while writing web content for businesses, blogging for them, writing national magazine articles, are proven, reliable ways to earn well.

  17. jamie says:

    Hi Carol
    Those are some crazy reasons people seem to have to get into freelance writing.
    I started out writing fiction and essays but am considering freelancing because I enjoy the process of researching, writing and editing a piece of work.
    I work full time and have a small side business which helps with bills – but is not my passion. Even with my business I find I’m incapable of sending an email to customers without correct grammar and punctuation.

    Writing is a habit that will be with me for life and I’m getting angry at myself for letting it go to waste. Once you wake up and open your eyes (You being the Morpheus of this analogy Carol) to the sheer amount of writing opportunities out there, it makes you realize that if you do make a go of it, and a living at it – then you will be able to write your novels or poetry or whatever your passions is – from a position of experience, authority and connectedness that comes from running a business. Far more powerful than waiting until the inspiration strikes…

    Go freelance because you have a passion for writing and see the money as a motivational tool to increase your productivity and ability.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Wow, I’d so love to be the Morpheus of the story…awesome.

      Working full time and having a side business, both of which don’t involve writing, is a lot of work away from your passion. Hope you’re able to shift the balance soon!

  18. Williesha says:

    I just can’t walk away from writing. It’s my strongest skill, and where I always excel. It’s different than a passion. It’s just part of who I am. Is that weird? LOL

    I think it is easier to find work as a VA but not at the right rates. That side of my business has been tough lately.

    But, in general, you can’t succeed staying at home without a business mindset.
    Williesha recently posted…Why I Dumped the Free ConsultMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I think most successful freelance writers feel the same way, Willi. My joke has always been that I’m a writer because I have no other marketable skills. 😉

      That’s not technically true — I worked as an executive secretary for years. But I’m unable to imagine doing anything else on an ongoing basis, for a career, than write.

  19. Kerry says:

    I became a freelance writer after I became a mum, BUT I had 12 years agency and in-house writing experience behind me and a handful of great (and patient) clients to get me started. Even so, three years on and every working day has been a childcare v’s work challenge. I was sensible enough to plan on working part-time for the first five years at least… but that hasn’t always stopped me from over committing myself!

    I think the keys to being a parent and a freelance writer are smart/strict planning, a bucketload of patience and understanding that until you reach that tipping point of work paying enough to justify the cost of childcare, or your children start school, that you’ll never be able to work full-time. Cake and wine help too!

    • Carol Tice says:

      Ha! Love these tips.

      My mom used to come twice a week and take my first baby, and I would work like a demon for 4 hours. But yeah, often it’s just not going to be the 40-50 hour week a lot of freelancers who earn well put in.

  20. I really appreciate the honesty of your posting. I am currently a full-time, home schooling mother, BUT I am looking as free-lancing as getting another job. It is not something I plan to do while changing nothing else about our family situation.

    I see my full-time mom job as a job, and like those who ramp up part-time while they keep their day job, I will ramp up part-time. As my husband’s career becomes more certain we fully expect to send our kids to school and use outside childcare. I’m most encouraged by those people who kept day jobs while they began free-lancing – because that is what I see myself as doing. Fortunately my husband has flexible hours for now, so we can set our schedules in such a way as to minimize child care costs.

    But I do confess to sometimes slipping towards a #7 mindset – it’s good to have a jolt to keep me realistic. We’re setting our summer schedule next week when the semester ends.

    • Carol Tice says:

      I personally expect every dad who is supporting mom doing freelance writing to take the kids all day Saturday or Sunday, or whatever their day off is, so mom can use that as a marketing or writing day. 😉

      I think many mom-writers make the mistake of being unrealistic about how fast they can ramp this and then they feel like failures. If you recognize that it will take a while to get going on top of mommying preschoolers, you won’t get discouraged.

      • I’m reading this right now before working while my husband has the kids at the library and the park. 😉

        I know the website is “Make a Living Writing,” but all your fabulous tips, etc. still apply to those of us who strive to make half a living from writing, too. Writing freelance half-time doesn’t mean you don’t need to consider your writing as a business, get childcare that you need, market yourself effectively, etc. It doesn’t mean you don’t act like a professional or that you aren’t a writer if it isn’t your exclusive domain.

        I think that it’s okay to make the #5 mistake if you do it consciously: you know that you are only going to make the equivalent of a part-time salary out of these inferior-paying genres OR you combine writing with other, related work, such as translating, editing, teaching (writing or literature, for example), and proofreading. The money definitely isn’t in the fiction, essays, etc., but you don’t necessarily have to write the formats you rightfully list as better-paying to make up the remaining income you need.

        Sometimes being savvy about the marketplace means that you are conscious of what will happen if you are writing for markets that don’t pay well but are willing to accept those costs. That’s very different than writing exclusively personal essays at (when you are lucky) $50-$200/pop, publishing a couple times a month, and complaining you can’t pay the rent.
        Rebecca Klempner recently posted…What you got cooking? Making dessert firstMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          Certainly many freelancers make it work with a combination of teaching, editing, or proofreading. And many writers are looking to freelance write part-time, for a variety of reasons.

          I think the focus of this blog on earning well for freelance gigs is even *more* important for those writers. When your time is so limited, it’s more important than ever that you get paid well for the few gigs you have time for. Otherwise, you’re just getting exhausted, and the income isn’t really making a difference in your life.

    • I am one of “those” freelancers as well, both because I am an at-home mom and because I combine it with editing and proofreading. Actually, it’s 90% editing and proofreading at the moment, because that’s where my background is, but adding writing to it is on the horizon hopefully very soon! I struggle with #7 because taking care of small children is a full-time job in itself.

      I have the same sort of attitude toward it as you, Rachel. I see being a mom as my full-time job and freelancing as my part-time evening job, in the same way as a lot of freelancers build their business in the after hours of full-time employment. I jumped into freelancing not because I needed something to do while at home with my baby, but because freelancing was going to be my next career step anyway. I found that I had to start seeing my baby as my full-time 9-5 because I tried being available to clients all day, and all it did was stress me out, cause me to neglect my baby and the quality of my work to drop, and make my business look like an afterthought to full-time mommyhood.

      My husband gets home early enough that I can start an evening “shift” while he puts our son to bed, but it is exhausting. I am not as efficient as I was in my full-time job, and I’m certainly not the dedicated SAHM I would be if I wasn’t putting in the hours freelancing.

      • Carol Tice says:

        I always felt like someone had a hand on each side of my head and was trying to pull my brain apart, if I was trying to write or talk to clients and deal with my baby. I learned to block time out for each exclusively, and not pretend I was available for my baby when really I was working, and vice versa.

        Now that my kids are older, of course, if they see me on the computer, they just want me to help them build their own blogs…which is another level of distraction altogether!

        • That’s exactly what I do, Carol. My whole day is scheduled out, to make sure I get quality time with my son, keep his appointments, and get all the housework done and dinner cooked before handing him off to my husband and hitting the laptop! My husband once said I was compromising my freelancing by not being available to clients during the day because I’m at home and supposedly I can, but I think it’s better to keep them separate. The stress isn’t worth it, and I think it actually feels unprofessional as well as unfair to my son trying to split my attention between him and clients. That question that people ask of at-home moms, “What do you do all day?” – doesn’t it make you want to slap people? 🙂

          I think it’s awesome that you’ve inspired your kids to want to start their own blogs.

  21. peachfront says:

    This is the best post I’ve ever read on this site. By far. I wish everyone would read it. The grass is always greener but people who are looking to quit their jobs because they don’t want to work will never make any kind of living as a freelance writer.
    peachfront recently posted…What I’ve Been Doing in 2014My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well…if they’re quitting because they don’t want to work for a boss, they might be good candidates. But definitely, people who think it’s some sort of magical lifestyle where they sleep in and don’t have to log many hours are not acquainted with the realities of launching a freelance business!

      • Kim says:

        I really loved this post also! It helped confirm for my that my reasons for wanting to freelance are legit, and may even lead to full-time business someday. Carol, can you comment on how much writing training would a successful freelancer need/should have under their belt? My education is based in the sciences, so I have no formal writing training. Where would I start? Thanks!

        • Carol Tice says:

          I don’t know, Kim. I had almost no formal writing training, except filing stories for alternative papers. That’s where I learned to be a reporter.

          It’s certainly a shortcut to get some training if you have a particular area you want to focus on — writing articles, case studies, press releases, or whatever it is. But it’s also possible to learn as you go.

          Science is certainly a great background to have, as so many writers know nothing about it! Plenty of colleges in the sciences need writing, there are science museums, research foundations, and more.

        • Karen J says:

          Kim ~ It seems to me that you already know a lot more about “writing” than you think you do! “Sciences” is a writing-heavy discipline, and just about any kind of business writing (either your business or the clients’) involves mostly the same “parts” as a science paper: Introduction (lead – “Lede”; premise; purpose of the piece); Body (support for the lead; the who-s, why-s and /or how-s, bullet points maybe); and Conclusion (summary or recap; call for action; What’s Next? info).
          The style and voice may vary widely, depending on the intended target, but the basic parts are the same.

          Best of luck to you – just keep writing!
          Karen J recently posted…Yesterday, I was in mourning…My Profile

  22. Sara says:

    I agree whole-heartedly with what Carol says here — becoming a freelance writer is starting a business and it’s a huge commitment, and not one to be taken lightly. For a while I thought of it as a job where I get to be the boss and set my own hours, but now I treat it as a business, thanks in part to Carol’s Freelance Business Bootcamp.

    However, as I was reading this I paused when I got to “You love writing with a passion.” That statement didn’t entirely resonate with me. This confused and worried me, especially since I am quite certain I am now fully committed to this business. After a few moments of thought, I realized that what I am truly passionate about is the process of creation. Creating something from nothing. Taking a story idea and executing on it so that it touches people and moves them to take action. Taking a business idea and implementing it in order to improve people’s lives.

    For me, creation is what I’m passionate about, and writing is one of the tools with which I can powerfully create. I like writing, I’m good at it, and I’m committed to getting better at it, but the real underlying passion that drives me is the desire to create something that moves people. And I can do that in stories, in business writing, in blogs — wherever I choose to focus.

    Thank you for helping me come to this realization, this is huge for me!!!!!!!!!! (I know, the extra exclamation points aren’t professional, but this moment warrants them!)
    Sara recently posted…Is This the End of the World as We Know It?My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Sara —

      I think that creative drive can work in freelancing, too. It IS creating something from nothing. And the sense of accomplishment you get from that can be huge.

  23. Mai Bantog says:

    I’m so glad I did not fall into any of the seven wrong reasons. In fact, I ticked off almost all the right reasons, except for the marketing part, since I’m just starting to do it after finally leaving bidding sites. In fact, I just sent my first query letter last night, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some good news soon!

    I got into freelance writing because I am passionate about writing. I must admit, my first love is literary writing, but I’ve never had any illusions of making a full time living out of it. It thrilled me when I first discovered that I could actually make money out of writing, and that is through freelance writing. So now I do freelance writing full time and a little bit of poetry and fiction on the side.

    I think it’s awesome because I love both kinds of writing. Literary writing makes me feel happy and fulfilled, while freelance writing makes me learn lots of new things while paying my bills at the same time. Sure, there are times when I get burned out. But this doesn’t last for long because at the end of the day, there is no other job I’d rather have than writing.

    • Carol Tice says:

      The alternative is that you’re doing some straight day job where you don’t write, and then you’re not honing your craft nearly so much. I think working as a freelance writer is ideal for writers pursuing fiction.

      Congrats on sending that query!

  24. Julie says:

    It’s possible for some people to have started out for one of these “wrong” reasons and then realize they really do love to write and want to make a go of it. At that point, they can then find a babysitter, get a part-time virtual assistant job, or work as a social media poster to bring in extra money and still write. I myself am in a position where I don’t feel I have much to lose because I never had much anyway, so in my case, why not? Besides janitorial work, writing is one of the only things I ever had much potential in doing. We have to be realistic, but we only live once and have to make the most of the life we have.

    • Carol Tice says:

      I agree — I have seen many writers get into it for the wrong reasons initially, but quickly figure out the realities of this career, and decide they’ve got what it takes to tough it out and make it work.

  25. I think more people need to hear #6. While it’s great to be passionate about writing (or any other pursuit someone’s thinking about pursuing on a freelance basis), it’s important for people to realize that they’re going to spend a good chunk of their time handling the business side of things.

  26. Abby says:

    I found this blog by literally googling “how to make a living writing.”

    I studied playwriting in school but need a way to actually support myself with my writing. I mostly write nonfiction now, as I’m working on finding clients, getting clips in good blogs and magazines, and building a blog full of useable samples. I miss writing fiction, but you’re right, there is not really a way to make money off of it.

    Though I’m getting into the business out of an obsession with writing, the more I learn about the business, the more i find it jibes with my personality. I like the variety of the work and the fact that my future is in my own hands rather than an employer. I’ve had a few dozen jobs and internships in my short life, and this is the first one I’ve had that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.

  27. Hi Carol

    I’m not actually surprised at all how many people seem to choose freelance writing by throwing a dart at a board.

    That’s because this is how loads of people seem to choose their careers full stop.

    The only difference is that, in freelance writing, there’s simply no hiding place.

    You might get away with it in most other types of work. But in freelance writing you most certainly ain’t.
    Kevin Carlton recently posted…Trade secrets: How to craft bullet points like a superstar copywriterMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Good point, Kevin! You meet so many people who’re unhappy in their day jobs and seem to have gotten into that field for all the wrong reasons: “I heard there was lots of job opportunity,” or “my family wanted me to go into law.”

  28. I became a freelance writer because I love to write.

    It took nearly 3 years before I made the leap into freelancing full-time, preferring to take the part-time route for a while until I found my footing (and some regular clients).
    Katherine James recently posted…5 Lessons Stephen King Has Taught Me About Freelance WritingMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, that is the low-risk way to do it, Katherine!

      I know many writers who didn’t have the opportunity to slowly build their freelance side…including me, on my second go-round into it. But if you can, it can be a way to remove a lot of the money worry from making the transition.