Writer Rant: Important Things to Keep In Mind Before Becoming a Freelance Writer

Posted on January 30, 2015 by Eli K

Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.

keep in mind success failure

While being a writer for a living may sound like a dream to many people, before embarking on that career path, there are a number of things someone should know. Below are a few important things to keep in mind before one dedicates themselves to the life of being a freelance writer—though this is not meant to discourage, just to honestly inform.

You Have to Write A Lot Everyday

If you want to make a living as a freelance writer, you must be prepared to write a lot of words on a daily basis. This means upwards of two to three thousand words, often in smaller amounts on different topics. Make sure you are up for doing that, as sometimes one five hundred to a thousand word piece is all people can handle for the day. And that’s fine if you only want to be a freelance writer for some extra money on the side. However, if you want to really make a living, you’ll have a very heavy writing workload on a daily basis and this is a tough thing to get into the habit of doing well on a daily basis.

You’ll Need to Know How to Write a Wide Variety of Topics

Freelance writers don’t just write one thing, in most cases. You may end up writing one thing for an extended period of time—like articles about sports or entertainment or a column for a magazine or newspaper—but when you are starting off you are usually trying to write whatever you possibly can, both to build a portfolio and make some money. This means you will need to be able to write on a wide variety of topics, know how to research and change your voice and tone to match the client, the publication and the assignment.

Work is Often Feast or Famine

It’s tough to know when the next batch of work is going to come in when you are a freelance writer; and it’s also tough to know when the work is going to stop, on the flip side of the equation. Hence the saying, feast or famine. Sometimes, there is nothing that is worth writing out there when it comes to your worth as a writer and other times there is too much. The best advice in these situations is to accept as much work as you can possibly handle at all times, unless it pays way too little or you can’t stomach what you are writing about. That’s the reason you became freelance in the first place, after all—so that you have the freedom of choice about when you work and when you don’t.

Eli K has been a full-time freelance writer for more than a decade and has literally written all types of material, since that’s what you must do if you want to be a successful freelance writer. It’s the greatest job in the world and there’s nothing he would rather do.


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