Since I’ve plucked the courage to finally start freelance writing, I’ve gone through a rollercoaster of emotions. One moment I’m rubbing my hands together ready to get started, and the next I’m strewn across my bed wondering, what did I get myself into?
These feelings have been bottled up in me since I’ve chosen to work remote. I’ve only recently started landing “gigs” but here are some things (from amateur to amateur), on what to expect when starting out.
Your Perception of Time Changes
If you don’t keep yourself busy with work, your time “working” won’t be accounted for. For obvious reasons, this is a setback when it comes to profiting from your business, but it can also have a negative impact on how you relate to other working individuals.
Your friends and family who work within a structured schedule will be tired from their work weeks and you’ll have a lesser understanding of this if you aren’t disciplined.
Trust me – doing nothing or being distracted by the dishes, in the time you should be working, makes time in general, CRAWL. It becomes easy to forget the day of the week, or how long ago you spent time with others. Bottom line – be productive, so you don’t develop this warped sense of time.
You’ll Start Chasing Your Dreams… and PEOPLE
Before starting out, I had this glossy image of myself pitching to big name publishers. I signed up with freelancing newsletters alerting me daily of people or companies seeking for writers. But with my little experience, it’s no surprise that I haven’t been getting many reputable takers. I’m not complaining.
There is, however, a drawback working for clients who are also starting out. Because they don’t have a structured payment policy, there’s always that fear of getting burned. You can draw up a letter of agreement or a contract outlining what will be expected from both ends, but you’ll still inevitably worry.
As much I as I hate to say this, what I’ve learned from my personal experience, is that payment is always at the bottom of your client’s list-of-priorities. The number of times I’ve had to remind a client about payment is cringe-worthy. I’m telling you now, get comfortable with it.
As soon as you hear that meek voice in the back of your head saying “well at least I can add this to the portfolio….”, you run to your music playlist and ramp up Riri’s “B*tch Better Have My Money”.
You might be unused to being paid for something you love to do, but you still worked hard for it – so you get that money.
You’ll be Writing More than You Ever Did
All those articles that talk about having to “hustle” as a freelancer… let me tell you, they were NOT kidding. I can’t tell you how many pitches/proposals I write a day just to get one response, and that’s if I’m lucky.
You will be writing tirelessly. Every second you pause from your work is a missed opportunity to land something. Because you can’t rely on a steady salary, the stakes are higher. But – I think if you truly love what you do, you’ll find having full autonomy makes up for this.
As someone who likes to work creatively, I struggle to stay motivated in an office. I think my best ideas come to me when I’m stimulated from a walk, sitting at a cafe, or interacting with others (by this, I don’t mean co-workers – you’d be amazed by how much of an impact you can have on people you don’t see regularly or vice versa – how much of an impact they can have on you).
Some days after getting my fill for “inspiration”, I get excited to return back to my keyboard and go full tilt on an article or project.
You WILL be Challenged with Imposter Syndrome
Because I haven’t always been able to reap the benefits of my work right away, there have been plenty of times I’ve questioned whether I’m actually getting somewhere. To the point where sometimes putting in the effort just feels like a lost cause. I felt and sometimes still feel as though I have no business telling others that I’m a freelance writer despite having clients and being paid for my work.
On top of that, not a lot of people understand the concept of working on a freelance basis. To this day before my roommate leaves for work, she asks me what I’ll be up to. The answer is working. I find myself feeling defensive because there are days where I’ll be plugging away and think to myself – am I? Am I really though? Because I sure as hell won’t be getting paid for most of these pitches… Am I even good at this?
I pause, squash my thoughts before I spiral into more negative thinking because guess what? As a freelancer, your job is to be able to toot your own horn so you can imagine how difficult that becomes when you start to believe you don’t have the talent. The best thing I can do is remind myself that I can only get better with every time I try and that in itself, encourages me to press forward and learn more. I hope it does with you too.
P.S. – Please feel free to comment below if you have any advice you’ve learned from your personal experiences!