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  • diem@dmstephenson.com

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer

I wish I had better news for anyone who’s thinking about becoming a freelance writer, but I don’t.  In this industry, there’s a fine line between being self-employed and unemployed.  There’s really no way to know how business will pan out for you from day to day.  All you can do is keep writing, keep sharing your work, keep building a list of satisfied clients, and keep gaining more experience.  Keep on, keeping on!  Eventually, all your hard work will pay off when you land a great job.  Or, when you end up on the New York Times Bestselling List.

My Biggest Challenge as a Freelance Writer

As a freelance writer, you’ll learn to accept any and every project offer that comes your way.  You don’t have a lot of room to be picky.  You can negotiate your price, but be sure not to talk yourself right out of a job.

The biggest challenge I had to face in the beginning is marketing myself as a brand.  I like to promote other people more than myself.  I don’t like to boast about myself, so I talk about other people.

Check out my creative blog: Lyrical Gypsy

But, needless to say, I had to get over that hurdle quickly.

You have to do whatever is necessary to promote your brand, which is YOU.  You have to pitch your clients and win your writing projects.  Your motivation and drive will determine whether you can make it as a freelance writer.

Why Working for a Content Mill is Great Writing Experience

Even if you prefer just writing poetry, sometimes you might have to market yourself as both a creative AND business writer.  A content mill is a great place to get experience writing in a variety of styles.  Yes – at first, you may have to write articles about stuff you really don’t care about, but know that you’re also gaining valuable experience.

For over 25 years, I’ve written poetry, music lyrics, novellas, niche articles, corporate mission statements, legal correspondence, and everything in between.  But in 2012, I joined a content mill and started writing professionally, while still working a fulltime job.

I applied for every single writing job I could find, and at first, I received a lot of rejection.  But rightfully so.  I knew I didn’t have the experience or credentials I needed to vouch for my writing abilities.

So, I decided to prove myself in another way.  I staA Day in the Life of a Freelance Writerrted by building a writing portfolio and sharing my work with the world.

I started my first creative blog, Lyrical Gypsy, and I used all the rejection I received to keep me motivated and learning.

Eventually, I taught myself HTML, SEO, WordPress and social media marketing.  Then I read countless blogs and articles about grammar and punctuation, even though English is my native language.  I still struggle, but I’m much better at writing than when I first started.

Why I Say No to Ghostwriting!

The only thing I don’t like about being a freelance writer is ghostwriting on contract.  I have dozens of articles and content online, which I can’t claim because most freelance clients require the writer to sign a non-disclosure agreement, or something like it.  The NDA bars the writer from keeping any rights to the material, sharing the content, or collecting any future royalties.

However,  everything I write serves a purpose in my portfolio to either showcase my writing style or help improve my writing abilities.  Writing a full-length book, screenplay, or a long research article takes time.  Not receiving any credit feels like self-sabotage.  And watching someone put their own name on my work – sucks!

Hiring ghostwriters is standard practice for many of the big-name publishing companies.  Ghostwriting allows the company to produce mass amounts of content, which they relabel and sale for profit.  There’s good money is ghostwriting, but I say, “No thanks!” to these offers.

Taking a Leap of Faith as a Writer

While working as a freelance writer through a content mill, I received a job offer from a college professor, which I wrote an opinionated article for an e-magazine.  I can’t explain how intimidating it felt to write for a college professor, but I did it!  And once I received her positive feedback, I felt over the moon.  I haven’t stopped writing since.

My favorite writing job was poetic and spiritual article for an online fashion magazine called, Lone Wolf.  I wrote an article for magazine Vol. 6 called, “The Science Behind Dream Interpretation”.  It took a lot of hard work and research to complete, but I love the finished product, and so did my client.

“Where fashion meets the philosophy of life.” ~ Lone Wolf Magazine

What Am I Working on Now?

Unfortunately, as a freelance writer, there’s no way to guarantee a basic wage, not even while working through a content mill.

>> Read my blog about receiving my first rejection letter here <<

Currently, I’m working on a few romance novellas and short erotic stories for a popular romance publisher.  But, unfortunately, while I’m writing these full-length books, I’m not making any money doing freelance work.  Thankfully, I have a great support system of family members and friends who helped me eat, so I haven’t become a starving artist yet!  Occasionally, I do have to stop working on these books, which is my passion, and go back to doing more freelance work.  Some writing projects pay great, while others are merely stepping stones.  But I don’t mind adding more experience to my writing portfolio.

I don’t like being creative for pay nearly as much as being creative because I’m creative.

Today, I write all day – literally all day.  Even when I’m out on the road driving for rideshare Lyft or working as a spiritual life coach, I’m still writing, studying or jotting down notes.

My best advice for anyone thinking about becoming a freelance writer is NEVER stop writing.  Gather inspiration from everywhere and write down everything.  Even if your idea doesn’t make sense at the time, it might in the future.  Keep writing, even after you make it to the New York Times Bestselling List.  Good luck!

Featured photo:  Pixabay, Stockvault freebie

D. M. Stephenson

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