Friday, June 13, 2014

Things I hate as a freelance writer

Okay, so technically...I'm living the dream.  I am able to do what so many other aspiring writers would love to do.  I have enough consistent freelance work that, if I wanted, I could stay  home and write on a full time basis.  I keep my outside contracts as a paralegal because it's important I stay up to date in the legal field...and it helps me combat isolation.
Every career has its ups and downs...including freelance writing.  I was inspired by a list I read on Tumblr about what a person shouldn't say to a freelance writer.
  •  I hate when people assume that because I am a freelance writer and work from home that I don't have a "real job."
Yes, my job is nontraditional.  Yes, I can work anywhere that I want as long as I have access to the Internet (including using my Windows phone because it has Word).  However, that doesn't mean that what I do isn't work.  Think about your favorite witty website.  Think about ads that you read for your favorite products.  Think about the content you read on professional websites.  Someone has to come up with those words that pull you in...from brain candy to brain caviar, it is still work.  Those words don't string themselves together in a key word dense and interesting format.  It takes talent, knowledge, and time to please you, the consumer.  Also, most freelance writers (including myself) often work more than those with a standard job.  A lot of contracts pay less than you would be willing to accept.  There are days children in a sneaker factory in a third world country make more than I do.  There are days that I make more than most of my friends.
  • I hate when people think I can just drop everything and do something for them.
Sure, my schedule is flexible.  If you think about it, the schedule of a traditional worker is flexible IF they have paid time off in the form of sick leave, flex time, or vacation.  Guess what?  If I take off, I'm not getting paid.  If I need to take someone to the doctor or run an errand, that's time I'm not getting paid.  Traditional workers have the option to use paid leave.  Freelancers don't have that option.
We have deadlines just like anyone else.  One client wants her novel finished by February.  I have another client that requests a certain number of professional industry articles...and no matter the amount, they are all due by Sunday.  I get the occasional client that needs something turned around right away.  I have a schedule for a reason.  Working under pressure is nice, but I need time to research, write, and edit.
So, unless I gave  birth to you or I am married to you...I can't just drop things 'whenever' to do something for you.  If I need a break, I'm probably going to say yes and help you.  Primarily speaking, freelancers can't just NOT work.
  • I hate when people need a content writer offer slave wages.
Sure, I might not spend as much in gas as someone with a traditional job.  I might not need new clothes quite as often.  I still have electricity, rent, natural gas, car payment, groceries, Internet, and the same basic expenses as those with a traditional job.  I am also highly educated and a professional.  I am not someone who just aspires to be a freelance writer and looks for gigs because I'm laid off (and there's nothing wrong with doing that, by the way).  I am a bonafide professional industry freelance writer.  I can't write 24/7.  Right now, I write about 12/6.  I live in a developed country.  I have to pay my bills and take care of my family.  It is absolutely offensive to be offered contracts of just $1 (yes, you read that right) for 1,000 words.  Depending on the subject, that could take more than hour to produce a well written product.  I cannot afford to accept $1 per hour.

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Play nice...the hand that feeds you can also choke you.