The Friday Five: Five Things to Love About Freelance Writing

Writers certainly haven't cornered the market on freelancing, and like any other profession there are good points and bad points to being a freelancer. If you are aspiring to do some independent online writing work, you may already be scouring the Internet looking for people who will hire you. In the process, you may also be coming across all kinds of horror stories about the downside of working from home as a writer or online freelancing in general.

In the interest of balancing the scales a bit and perhaps giving you some insight into some of the things you can expect from a freelance career, I offer you five things about freelance writing and working online in general that you may not have considered. I love these aspects of my work, and if you want to work as a freelance writer, you'll need to love them too.

Getting More Disciplined and Motivated
You need to be able to motivate yourself every day regardless of what might be going on around you, or within you. Much like an employer, your clients will expect you to deliver results within your promised time frame. There are always exceptions, and most clients are understanding regarding things like childcare issues or family trauma, but if you make a habit of stretching your word with your clients, you won't garner their respect or for that matter, future business either. As a freelancer, those references mean everything. That doesn't mean that you have to allow people to walk all over you, but keep your word or don't make the promise to begin with. Start small and work your way into longer writing periods, but make writing your at-home-job and commit to a certain amount of writing time each day to ensure you stay motivated and develop your discipline.

Fine Tuning Your Budget
Making the move from a weekly paycheck to more periodic payment dates can be daunting. Before you transition into this kind of financial situation, be sure that you have an adequate savings account balance to tide you over in the between times until you get yourself on a workable budget with your new payments. You have to keep an account balance that will be enough to maintain your household in between payments from clients, but that will also allow for emergency funds if a payment fails to materialize. At first this was a difficult transition for me, but the added responsibility of maintaining my budget so closely actually gave me more freedom financially and a keener understanding of what value means to me personally.

Having Time For Your Family and Friends
Setting aside time to be with your family will be difficult in any at-home venture. Now that you can write at any time of the day, you have the perfect opportunity to use the most convenient times throughout your day for spending time with your family or friends. If you want, you can write at 2AM  while everyone else is sleeping. This leave you open to say yes to a lot more quality time with your loved ones. This may be the biggest lure for people who want to do freelance writing work. It is certainly one of the biggest rewards.

Working With Clients
I have always worked with clients, so this wasn't a huge jump for me. As a Paralegal, I was often thrown into situations with people who were severely distraught or emotional (not too many people visit their attorney when they're happy after all), and part of my job was communicating throughout their legal process, while having to initiate difficult conversations for responses to legal documents. Although my communication skills are exemplary, dealing with writing clients still required an adjustment. If you like working with people you will love this aspect of freelancing. You have the ability to converse directly with a client and determine exactly how they would like a project written. If you do not like working with people however, and are moving into freelancing for more of the solitude aspect, you will have to be very selective about the kinds of clients you seek out. Most of my clients work back and forth with me on content and public relations projects through email. We send edits between us until we get the right feel for the piece, and we rarely use the telephone now that I have made my preference for email communication obvious. There was some adjustment naturally, but overall our system works very well for us and it has been a rewarding experience.

Continuing Education in Your Niche
This applies equally to anyone who plans to write on a particular single topic or many topics. You must have either a substantial background in the area in which you'd like to write, or the willingness and ability to do research accurately and efficiently. Eventually, you may find yourself drawn to one topic or another. And although that topic may change throughout your writing career you will always need to be able to speak from the voice of authority when writing about it.

If you would like to work independently as a freelance writer, The Market List is always looking for fresh articles on writing topics of all kinds. Visit the home page for more information.

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