Is Freelance Writing All About Unicorns and Rainbows?

independent writersUnfortunately, it is not. People unfamiliar with writing tend to believe that this is a kind of an easy job; indeed, what can be easier than thinking about something, and then expressing your thoughts on the subject in a written form? Well, if it was that simple, the world would be full of talented writers, brilliantly-written novels, and media content of the highest possible quality. The cruel reality is that working from home on a freelance writing job (and being a writer in general) can make you want to cry: it can be extremely challenging, difficult, and exhausting. Why?

The Problems Independent Writers Face

If these problems could talk, their first phrase would probably be the Biblical, “We are Legion.” Well, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but still, life of a regular person starting to pave their way to the freelance writing market can be harsh. Some of the difficulties you will probably face include:

  • The lack of knowledge. Especially in the very beginning, when you have just taken your first order, received a brief from your customer, and have already spent hours trying to figure out from which angle you should approach the task. To taste the feeling, ask yourself something relatively easy, like, “Five facts I know about wrist watches.” Now, try to write a 1500-words article about it. Most likely, you will feel like you cannot advance further than the first paragraph. And this is absolutely normal, considering that you are a beginner. Remember that it is okay to not know something, and it is obligatory that you learn this “something” ASAP. Otherwise, you will not make it as an independent writer.
  • Weird customer requests. For example, your customer can ask you to write an article about baby food, and sends you a list of keywords he or she wants you to use for better SEO. Okay, no problem: you open the list and see the keywords that are not even close to the subject. Surprised, you contact the customer for clarification, and they say, “Yep, we want you to write an article about baby food we produce, using the keywords “eleven,” “horse,” “chair,” “Robocop.” Well, after a while, if you already are an experienced copywriter, you will remember that Robocop was eating baby food and beat all the bad guys in the end, or come up with something like “eleven extremely useful microelements in our baby food”; usually, after you manage to find initial associations and figure out the general logic of your future text, the problem is 50% solved. But when you are a beginner, such requests can (and will) often lead you to a dead end.
  • Burning out. Imagine yourself having written hundreds of articles about baby food. Imagine yourself having to write three different unique articles about baby food every day, month by month. You already know everything about baby food, you know more than anyone in the industry, you hate baby food with your very soul. You dream to set all the baby food in the world on fire. And then you receive an email from your regular customer with a request, “Hey John! We loved your previous article. Can you write us another one, about how great our baby food is? The list of keywords is attached, as usual”. We love regular customers. Freelancing is all about regular customers. But sometimes, when you are out of emotional and psychic resources, they can make you feel like dying inside with all of their repetitive requests.
  • Writer’s block. This can be a part of the “burnt out” condition, but can also be a separate problems. Anyhow, this is a typical problem for many writers, all over the world. You wake up, start your laptop intending to work just as you usually do—and suddenly you realize you cannot write a single sentence. Or, whatever you write looks childish, unprofessional, or does not seem to make any sense. This is a morbid and debilitating state of mind, and you will eventually discover it yourself.
  • Payments. It is great if you work with an honest and responsible customer who always pays you on time (this is a perk of regular customers, by the way). But sometimes, you can run into a customer who wants you to do a one-time job, and when you do it, he or she disappears without paying you—or keeps feeding you with promises and excuses, unless you give up yourself. Such cases are not typical, thank God, but be prepared to have a customer like this at least once in your freelancing career.

Is This All?

No. As any job goes, freelance writing jobs have many undercurrents, nuances, and secrets. It is no more or less difficult than any other kind of independent contracting, and there are no problems in this sphere that you would not be able to overcome. Just work persistently, and you will be fine. Good luck.