Maybe You Shouldn’t Be a Freelance Writer

Let me tell you a story.

I started freelance writing (meaning copywriting, press release writing, article and web page writing) to make extra money in 2011. Back then I only did a job now and then, because I halfway through college (Multimedia/Web Design) and living with my parents, so I didn’t really need the money, but it was fun. I slowly built a portfolio. I thought, what if I can make a living writing (even if it isn’t the novel writing that’s my real passion) and not have a real “job” after school?

It worked for a while. In 2012 I graduated, got married and lived out of my parent’s house for the first time. In the fall I worked at a local Subway until medical issues forced me to quit. I continued freelance writing all throughout 2013 and it really helped that both my husband and I were working.

Aug 2013 was the month I picked up the 3rd novel I’d written in high school (the 1st good one) and started to edit. After not doing any creative writing during college, I was so happy to come back to what I loved. I had been so busy in school I hadn’t really realized what I’d given up.

Now in 2014 I was really starting to feel the effects of my choices. Falling in love with my characters again made me realize I couldn’t do both types of writing. More and more I found myself burned out from the freelance writing and dreading my own creative time. Even if I had time leftover after my job (which wasn’t often) I couldn’t even force myself to do what I’d willingly spent 3+ hours doing after high school everyday. I still loved novel writing; the problem was my eyes were opened to how ill suited I was to being a freelance writer.

PLEASE do not try this. If your love is creative writing, whether that’s short stories, novels, poetry, etc. don’t torture yourself by trying to do other writing. Not all writing is the same! Non-writers don’t understand this at all, but even some writers (like me in past years) don’t understand it either. That doesn’t make it any less true. Unless your passion is honestly helping companies with their advertisement writing or blogging for someone else or writing copy, then don’t do it!

Long story short, although this post is already getting a bit long, I’ve been unhappy with this job for several years. I’m not out yet; currently I’m trying to transition to some kind of day job not involved with writing at all, so that I can write my novels after work and not hate it.

I borrowed the title of this post from here:

GO READ IT. Right now. I’ll wait.

Done? Now read all the comments. This is a quote from one of the comments on that page:

“Well, it did keep roof over our heads for a few years, at the cost of extreme stress, some damage to my love of writing (and my own projects), and my general sanity.”

That completely describes my last 3 years to a T.

Seriously, honestly, evaluate yourself, your goals and your personality before trying to be a kind of writer that you’re just not. I wish I had.