Friday, September 11, 2015

5 Reasons Freelance Writing Will Change the Way You Think About Everything

Tomorrow, September 12, I will turn 37 years old...or, as I like to refer to it: it is the fifth anniversary of my 32nd birthday. :) Actually, it doesn't bother me at all to turn 37. I just think every woman needs a good joke about her age. I've written in one capacity or another since I was about 8 years old. My first creative writing exercise that I can remember was in third grade. I wrote a story about a dog. By seventh grade, I was called the next Stephen King by my peers. I do have a bit of an evil streak that is found in my fiction writing. In eighth grade and on through high school, various people would pay me small sums to write poetry, apology letters, and other small written things. That was my first introduction to writing for money. Fast forward to now, I've been a professional writer for the 18 months or so. It's not because I'm in between jobs. It's because I love writing (even when it annoys me), and, even more, I love getting paid to do it. Here are the top 8 reasons freelance writing will change the way you think about everything.

You Learn That What You Offer to the World Has Value

As a freelance writer, you learn that what you offer to the world is a valuable commodity. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone will value what you do in the same way. So, instead of relying on other people to determine the value of your services, I encourage you to define it for yourself. Do I sometimes adjust my prices for people? Sometimes. I don't do it for everyone. I'm of the opinion that if you've determined that you need a professional writer that you should properly budget for one.

Once you work with a few amazing people, it won't bother you when people don't see the same value that you know that you offer. Let's face it: if writing were so easy and not worth the money that a professional writer should be paid, then folks wouldn't be looking for a freelance writer. They would just do it on their own, right?

Seeing your value as a freelance writer will begin to affect other areas of your life. You'll start to see that you are a valuable person and that you deserve to be treated with respect.

You Learn How to Manage Your Time

If you learn one thing by becoming a freelance writer, it is how to manage your time. This is particularly true if you work from home. I work from home. My husband and I have three children. One is 17. One is almost 15. One just turned six. The almost 15 year old plays football. The six year old has multiple appointments during the week on top of school. We rely on one vehicle. For myself, there are days when I'll be in the truck for three or four hours per day. So, you take that and add in my professional responsibilities and the things that I do around the house (and yes, people, my husband does help despite the fact that he works 12 hour days).

If I didn't know how to manage my time, I couldn't work as a freelance writer. I'm really not working extremely odd hours (although there was a time or 12 when I've done that). It just becomes a matter of determining a schedule to write and edit for my clients around the needs of my family.

Note that in my last sentence I said 'needs.' I'm not going out of my way to do errands for others or watching the children of someone else simply because I work from home. When you work from home, you must enforce your boundaries or you will never be successful. You'll be far too busy doing everything for everyone instead of focusing on your business.

You Have the Ability to Learn Anything

Freelance writing has a bit of a learning curve to it. Then again, I'm sure that most professions have some sort of learning curve. I know of very few people who come out of college or high school or tech school (or whatever) and gone straight into a job knowing exactly what they should do (unless perhaps they worked in the industry as an intern). As a freelance writer, you get new things thrown at you on a regular basis. You realize, after your daily panic attack, that you have the ability to learn anything. This transfers over and gives you more confidence in other areas of your life.

You Can Never Have Enough Knowledge

There's a big debate in marketing and sales in general that tends to infect the freelance writing profession. That is the idea of information overload. What people fail to realize is that information overload is subjective. It depends on the person receiving the information. We do our clients and our target market a grave injustice when we assume that too much information will overwhelm them. It's all about the way that information is presented.

Think about it: when you learn something new, consider how you like to receive your information. When you want to make a decision, don't you want all of the available information? It's not about how much information is thrown at you. It's about how that information is presented to you.

It's the same with freelance writing. You can never have enough knowledge. You will become an expert or a professional, but that doesn't mean that you know it all. It doesn't mean that you have all of the answers. You may be like me and write great nonfiction work for your clients. I don't write a lot of fiction for clients although I have in the past. It takes me longer to do fiction than it does for nonfiction...even though my nonfiction is quite amusing and creative. Although I write a lot of nonfiction, I don't do a lot of sales based writing (although this is now changing). So, although I know a lot about how to present great information, I have a lot to learn when it comes to writing with sales in mind. You can never have enough knowledge as a freelance writer.

It Is Okay to Have Fun

As a freelance writer, I've found that it's easy for me to lose myself in my work. You might think that's not such a bad thing. Well, when you get a bruise on your ass from sitting too much you will think otherwise. Honestly, I can go weeks and sometimes months without contact with others (in person) aside from my family. Frankly, that aspect doesn't really bother me. Yet, when I walk outside and wonder what the giant fireball in the sky is for, then it is time for me to make some arrangements to get out of the house. I'm getting better at doing this on a regular basis. For instance, this week my husband and I had lunch together during his lunch break. I also went to the bookstore. Monday is our anniversary. So, we will either have lunch or dinner (after our boy's football game). It is okay to have fun and go against the grain and buck your schedule once in a while.

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