Employment Outlook for Freelance Writers

Posted on July 15, 2014 by Lynn H

woman-in-pajamas

Freelance writers have the best jobs on earth. They sleep as late as they want, enjoy a very short commute to work, and can wear pajamas all day. Sometimes freelance writers have the crummiest jobs on earth. They sweat out 2 AM deadlines, hammer stubborn keywords into places they should not be, and battle with clients who cannot describe what they want or find their wallets when the work is done.

It is a wonder anyone would want to be a freelance writer, yet hundreds of thousands of us take up this solitary life at the keyboard. I am a freelance writer and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 128,999 freelance writers just like me in 2012.

I stumbled across the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) page one day while performing research for another project. As a freelance writer who spends all of her professional time sequestered in a home office, I do not have the opportunity to compare my career with the other 128,999 freelance writers out there. If you are a freelance writer, or are thinking about becoming one, you will be as interested as I was in the employment outlook for freelance writers.

Current Job Description, Environment, and Pay

The BLS says that we freelance writers “develop written content for advertisements, books, magazines, movie and television scripts, songs, and online publications.” So far, so good.

The BLS also says we work at home, in an office, and wherever else we have access to a computer. They make freelance writers sound a little compulsive, but I suppose that is accurate. The BLS goes on to say most freelance writers work full time but many of us have varied schedules. Two-thirds of us were self-employed in 2012. The BLS is still describing me well, except they have not mentioned that I actually do work in my pajamas.

On the other hand, maybe the lack of a home office dress code hurts my bottom line. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median income for a freelance writer in 2012 was $55,940 per year and $26.89 per hour. I will review the dress code issue at my next meeting with myself – I am considering switching to a uniform with a nametag.

Job Outlook

The BLS expects the number of jobs to grow a lukewarm 3 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than average for all occupations. Considering the explosive growth of content and content marketing on the internet, I was floored by the meager outlook projected by the BLS. The BLS substantiated their projection by saying they expect strong competition for full time jobs because “many people are attracted to this occupation.”

They are attracted to the occupation because being a freelance writer is the greatest job in the world. Did I mention we get to wear pajamas all day?

Lynn H has been a professional word tamer for 15 years, training ill-behaved phrases to be productive members of society. She refuses to admit she wears pajamas to work – she prefers to call it “dual purpose attire.”


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