What Is It Like Being a Freelance Writer? 5 Things No One Told Me


Freelancing sounds so dreamy, right?

You work from home, you take two-hour breaks in which you do nothing but drink tea and read graphic novels, and you can work at midnight if it suits you then sleep in until 10 a.m. the next morning (like I do that, pfff).

While I love my life as a freelancer, there are things to consider when thinking what is it like being a freelance writer! Here are five things nobody warned me about when I started this business.

1. You Get to Have Great Relationships With Your Clients

For some reason, I had the impression that I would just send my work to people and that would be that.

But alas, no.

I’m part of conference calls and Skype sessions, even “interview” calls for people thinking of “hiring” me. I’m expected to be part of a team of people who make amazing content happen, including editors, other writers, website developers, and marketing people.

You have to actually build relationships with your clients, and this includes much more than just sending them good writing. What is it like being a freelance writer? Building great relationships with clients and being involved in their company, even though you’re just a freelancer.

2. The Networking Is Awesome

I’m someone who generally doesn’t network, even if it would help me, simply because I’m not a people person and don’t really like putting myself out there like that.

But, when considering what is it like being a freelance writer, you have to reach out to people to get business as a writer. So I threw myself out there. I’m meeting all kinds of people who need all sorts of different things. I even meet people who need full-time copywriters.

I think about that for a second and I’m like, wow, I would have never heard about that job if I wasn’t doing this.

3. You’ll Find Out More About Yourself

When I started freelancing, I wanted to be everything to everyone, and I wasn’t sure how to find my niche or even what my niche should be.

But as you grow and realize what is it like being a freelance writer, you understand more about the great experiences as a writer that help you refine your skills even more than they already are. It’s an exploration journey!

4. Working From Home/Anywhere You Want Is Harder Than You Think

It’s great working from home, don’t get me wrong! It’s even better when you can travel, but it’s harder than you think, people.

What is it like being a freelance writer? You have to be a self-starter. I’m a really disciplined person and great at managing tasks and making my own schedule, but this is hard.¬†You need to be on the ball if you’re going to make this work!

When you’re at the office, there’s not much else to do besides officey-type things. When you’re at home or in a fun new city, there’s lots to do besides writing a blog. I can work from anywhere in the world, but it’s a distracting world out there, and I’m learning that my motivation and schedule need to be on track or I’m not getting any work done.

5. It’s More Work

There were times when I was at my job in DC when I was bored or felt unchallenged. It was almost always easy for me to get all my work done while I was there. This is not the case with freelance writing. No one told me quite how much work this would be.

Making great writing isn’t easy, even for someone like me who’s been writing for a long time and majored in English at Penn State. What is it like being a freelance writer? Working at this because every client (and every project) is different.

You’ve got to deliver based on their needs, and it’s YOUR job to find out what their needs are. When you’re not done everything you need to do by quitting time, no one else is going to do it on the next shift. It’s just you and you have to work, dammit!

While freelancing¬†has been both easier and harder than I thought it would be, and for all different reasons, I love being able to do what I love. Being a freelancer writer is amazing. I’m always working on being a great writer for my clients and a master of scheduling at home. Never give up on what you truly want to do!

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