Top Ten Reasons to be a Freelance Writer

Posted by: Birgitte  :  Category: General Help Topics, Inspiration

Or “How I Learned to Boss my Cat.”

Working as a freelance writer has its good and bad side. The good has a lot to do with coffee shop Wi-Fi and casual “every days.” The bad has to do with utility bills and checking your email for the 254th time in 60 minutes.

Here are the top 10 reasons why I keep working as a Freelance Writer. (Even after my kids have started asking the dog “What’s for dinner?”)

1) My Brain is like the “Energizer Bunny”
Even when I’m not sitting in front of my computer, my brain is busy filtering experiences and thinking of ways to use them in articles or stories. This happens to me most often when I’m driving. And no, I don’t have a tape recorder, but I keep meaning to get one….

Whoa, the guy that just flipped me off as he was zooming past in his dinged up Chevy with the Nearly Nude nylon “gonads” hanging off his trailer hitch, has to be in my next scene. Or maybe in an article entitled: Can Rednecks Ever Have Too Much Pantyhose?

2) It’s All Up to me
No one is going to hand me a nice list of prospects to call. Heck no one hands me anything but homework papers to sign. Still I think I have the  chutzpah to make my own lists, my own calls, my own “foot-in-my-mouth” mistakes, and even my own successes. It’s been rightly said that a great writer isn’t someone who writes well, it’s someone who never gives up. This is my dream, so I’m not giving up.

3) Show me the Money
Or not. We all know that as a freelance writer we don’t get a nice even paycheck each month. If you aren’t good at budgeting and marketing, this little problem might have you looking in the mirror and questioning your job choice. Yes, I admit that sometimes I look longingly at the pimply-faced McDonald’s night shift manager and wonder how he got so lucky. Patience and Persistence. It’s the only tried and true get-rich scheme. In the meantime, I have to remind myself that I don’t need that fancy all-in-one mouse pad/calculator/coffee warmer with the picture of Stephen King on it. I just need get back to writing.

4) Benefits? What Benefits?
This is really one of the worst things about being self employed. Health insurance is expensive. I’ve found good rates (for health and dental) through the National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) but do check around. Unfortunately comparing health insurance plans, one to another, isn’t like comparing apples to apples. It isn’t even like comparing fruit. Every one of them is different. It’s almost enough to make me ask for an employment application along with my triple latte at Starbucks. Almost.

5) Alone again, naturally….
My husband is convinced I’m having an illicit affair with my laptop. He’s right about the affair, wrong about the illicit part. I spend more time with “Lappie” than I do with any other member of my family. Heck, even more than I spend with all of them combined! The truth is writing can be a lonely job. The good news is that I use Google so often that when I type in my search terms it greets me by name.

6) I’m the Boss
This is my favorite part of freelance writing. I sit at home and write, and when I feel like bossing someone I yell, “Take a number!” at the cat for complaining about her empty food bowl.

Sometimes I overstep my managerial bounds and boss my kids when they come home from school. “Do your homework!” Fortunately they’re protected under the “Freedom to Ignore Your Parents Act” and regularly exert their rights.

Otherwise I really don’t have anyone to boss around. Maybe one day if I hire someone to help me write— but then I’d probably be so thrilled to have the company I’d let them boss me around.

7) Set My Own Schedule
Over and over again, every time Outlook crashes. Which it does often. Luckily, the last time it deserted me and I was left not knowing if I was supposed to index a book on Popular Culture or clean my house, I discovered that my good friend Google has an online calendar that can sync with Outlook. Take that you big orange clock thing! Now I can schedule my writing day and rely on Google to keep me on task.

8) I Work Wherever I Want
In the age of laptop computers and wireless internet, my virtual office can be my local coffeehouse, under the down covers with my cat, or on a spaceship to the moon as soon as they get Wi-Fi out there. I’ve worked during my son’s flute lessons in the kitchen of his music teacher’s house while he plays in the front room. I’ve also hacked her wireless which is not so good because it’s ruined the whole “unplugged” gestalt of her abode. Be careful about that. Especially if you’re an IM addict. Not that I am. BRB.

9) I Can Learn About Stuff and Pretend I’m an Expert
Freelancing is ideal for curious people and those with short attention spans. As a writer, I have learned about business, health, fashion, music, sports, global events, cultural peculiarities and how to cure toe fungus with tea tree oil. When I go OCD on a particular topic, I could just start a blog and find about 355,533 people who are dying to Tweet about it. I could set myself up as a veritable toe fungus expert and maybe even get recognized by the FDA. Or I could obsess myself into a corner and go broke. That’s the great part.

10) The biggest advantage of being a freelance writer is that I get to live my  passion. Even if that results in an illicit affair with my laptop. It also means that I occasionally have those feel good moments where I realize “OMG I get paid to do this!”

The main point if you’re still reading this—is that I know I’d work the night shift at Trader Joe’s if it meant I could keep writing. And you know this about yourself too.

It’s not easy to live a dream. You know it makes paying the bills uncertain at times. But you also know that you are luckier than that night shift manager at McDonald’s. You get to punch your own time clock.

So I dedicate this post to all of us living our dreams. My measure of success isn’t if I’ve arrived, it’s if I’m having fun along the journey. Are you having fun yet? Excellent!

Let’s keep making those little words fly up on the screen.

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8 Responses to “Top Ten Reasons to be a Freelance Writer”

  1. Claudine Says:

    This is just great, Birgitte! Lol funny. And very wise. I love that you “get” that you’re living the dream right now, and don’t have to wait until your rich and globally famous.
    Go, Writers! Thanks.

  2. Birgitte Says:

    Twitter: necessarywriter
    If I waited until I was rich and globally famous to live my dream, I’d risk waking up!! Who wants that? :)

  3. Knowlton Thomas Says:

    Love being my own boss, amongst other things. Ace post Birgitte.

  4. Birgitte Says:

    Twitter: necessarywriter
    Me too! (Most times) Thank you for your support. :)

  5. Deirdra Hanson Says:

    I have been working on this same story for years
    It does not seem to what to flow on the paper but
    flows just fine in my head. any suggets why this might be occuring after all these years.Any advice from at all that will help me,from a fulltime author my nickname is Dee.I case you don’t want to use my full name.

  6. Birgitte Necessary Says:

    Twitter: necessarywriter
    Hi Dee,

    When I have trouble getting words from my head to the page, I have to ask myself, “Self? What are you afraid of?” Usually it’s just the blank page. I’m afraid I’ll write crap. And worse, I’m afraid I might write something really good and then never be able to match it with anything else.

    The cure for that is to give yourself permission to write crap. You can edit crap. You can’t fix what isn’t there.

    Also, if writing complete sentences and perfect scenes paralyzes you, write what’s in your head in short sentences, or in note format. Just start the process of getting things out of your head.

    Carry a notebook. Jot things down. The act of transferring little things, may just bust the dam on the bigger things. And let me know how it goes!

    Good luck to you! :)

  7. Maryanna Says:

    Good blog. Great job. Best dream.

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