3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Freelance Writing

myths of freelance writing
Don’t fall for the myths of freelance writing

I started freelance writing in 2011. Well, I signed up to some revenue share accounts in 2010, realised I enjoyed them but didn’t make any money. In 2011 it was time to take it seriously and I officially became a writer for hire.

It took a while to get started and in April 2012 I took time out for maternity. I took the full amount of time between April 2012 and January 2013 to have my baby and help her during the first few months. During that time I read a few writing blogs and delved more into the world of making a living writing.

You know what? Within that nine month period, I learnt so much about my freelance writing career. I learnt things I really wish I knew back when I started freelance writing.

Freelance Writing Doesn’t Mean Slaving Away at the Computer!

The major thing that I’d learnt that part of my knew was that I didn’t have to slave away at the computer for pennies. I didn’t have to make a pittance in the content mills and I didn’t have to accept the low rates.

I knew that, really. I’d stopped accepting the stupidly low offers after a few months of freelance writing. What I didn’t realise was that I was still accepting lower rates compared to the rest of the freelancers out there.

My $20-$30 per post that I was getting was still low! I should be aiming for $50, $100 and even $300 per post (with experience of course!).

I read more and more while I was off on maternity and used some of my ‘keeping in touch days’ to start putting some of the things I’d learnt into practise. I was ready for my return in January 2013.

I quickly picked up all the tips and am now in a position to start offering advice!

I Don’t Need a Journalism Degree

To be honest, I’ve never really wanted to be a journalist. Journalism and news reporting in the traditional sense just doesn’t appeal to me. I like blogging and writing eBooks.

However, I always thought that to get those higher paying clients, I’d need some sort of degree in writing. I always thought I’d scrape the bottom without taking the courses.

This really isn’t true and there are plenty of writers out there proving that. There are times that degrees are asked for and I simply bypass those.

Actually, I ended up finding a website that would take the degree that I did have—in computer science!

I Can Take Time to Really Think About Offers

With technology being so instant today, I have always had the view that I had to reply to someone right away. In fact, I have clients who expect me to be on various chat programs just so they can get hold of my right away.

I’ve since found that I don’t need to do that and I really wish someone would have told me that sooner.

I can take a little time to think about the freelance writing job offer to determine if it is worthwhile. I can take the time to ask questions and get a better understand of the scope. I can negotiate the pay! And I can say no if something doesn’t seem quite right or it doesn’t work out for me.

In fact, it’s really important to take this time. Rushing into a project just leads to mistiming it and making mistakes. The client doesn’t get everything expected and wants a revision, eating into your time. By clarifying everything, I can get a better idea and make sure all my doubts are clarified before moving on.

I can also have a day off!

Okay, this isn’t that big of a problem for me but there are times on an evening that I’ll feel the need to reply to an email right away. I’ve stopped doing that now and sometimes reply with an answer that I’ve gotten the email but I can’t give a full response until I’m back at the computer whenever that will be.

What have you learnt about freelance writing that you wish you knew at the start? There are so many myths and horror stories surrounding this job but it doesn’t have to be that way. Share your experiences below in the comments.

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6 thoughts on “3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Freelance Writing

  1. I have never done freelance writing but the things you learned could also be applied to just keeping up with blog writing! Sometimes I feel over whelmed trying to make sure that I post so many days a week, etc. But I learned that if people like my blog then they like it! So I just try to be me and relax. 🙂

    1. That is so true about if people like your blog then they like it. There’s nothing you can do differently since it’s so important to stay true to yourself.

  2. Hi Alexandria..thanks for posting this. Like you I felt I had to give my writing some credibility and studied for a journalism diploma four years ago. But now I’ve learnt, life gives us the credibility to be writer. It’s the old adage, write about what you know. I’ve regretted not pursuing my dream when I graduated 27 years ago, but maybe I wasnt ready. I hadnt lived. And look where we are now? Blogging along over the world with eachother!! Now is a wonderful time to be a writer…

    1. There are many writers, bloggers and internet marketers who advocate the ‘write what you know’ approach and I’ve definitely become one of them. At least you’re doing what you wanted to now–better late than never…

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