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The Joys and Drawbacks of Freelance  Writing  

by Matthew Bredel


Freelance writing can be one of the most profitable and enjoyable ways to earn a living from the comfort of your home. With thousands of business owners and online sites calling for content, there is a great need for independent contract writers who have the skill and time to create relevant copy. Whether you are a parent who desires to stay home with children or someone who simply wants the freedom the work from home profession provides, the benefits of freelance writing from home are abundant.

This type of home job allows you the liberty to work any time that works best with your personal schedule. No more clocking-in or fighting rush hour traffic. If you are a night owl, you can write at 2 a.m. If you have small children, write at nap time. Work in your pajamas, robe or favorite sweat pants. If you want a two-week vacation, you simply take a two-week vacation. As a freelance writer, you are in charge of the who, what, where and whens.

Although a background in writing is helpful, it is not necessary to break into the field of freelance writing. Often a potential employer who needs a writer will want to view samples of work. The experienced writer can use pieces from a portfolio, while an inexperienced writer can quickly create a few samples of writing to display his or her abilities.

Many professional freelance writers offer sites to display sections of their work. Peruse these sites, study the types of writing they are creating, and then write your own samples based on your personal style and interests. By having a group of sample articles ready to go, you will be able to respond immediately to people looking for writers when you come across the opportunity.

Seeking out these writer openings may seem overwhelming at first. However, by visiting writers' job forums and websites hosted by writers' magazines, you pick up on new opportunities to get in the game.

Once you have a few writing jobs under your belt, it will be even easier to obtain new work, and soon you will likely find yourself being able to pick and choose jobs to find the areas that interest you most. If you enjoy researching and writing and possess the skills to write well, you may discover you are in love with a new career path that offers significantly more freedom and creativity than any 9 to 5 office job.


The life of a freelance writer isn't all glitz and glamour. Before you take the plunge into freelance writing at your work-at home career choice, there are a few things to consider. While you can work from home earning money in your pajamas, there are negatives to this career choice. Here's a list of ten of the common drawbacks of freelance writing.

1. No sick days. Sometimes you have to work while you're sick. If you don't, you lose money and maybe a client. Clients aren't very forgiving unless you have a solid relationship with them and even then, sometimes their deadline is more important to them than your health and well being.

2. No medical benefits, a 401K or even a guaranteed income. You have to pay your own taxes too. This can make budgeting tricky when you take the plunge into freelance writing for a living, especially if you're the main breadwinner in your house.

3. Pay day is not guaranteed. You may go from famine to feast and then famine again regularly and payday doesn't come every second Friday so it can be a tricky balancing act, especially in the early days.

4. Juggling deadlines and family responsibilities can be challenging at times. You may have to give certain parties and events a miss because you have a deadline. You may feel conflicted at times when you have to let the laundry or dirty dishes pile up so you can finish an assignment. You may have to learn write with a crying baby on your lap.

5. Chasing payments isn't fun. There are customers who aren't as eager to pay you as they are to take your hard work. Sometimes people don't pay on time or try to short pay or not pay at all. You have to develop skills to protect yourself and may have to act as your own collections agent part-time.

6. Freelancers can have regular work, one-off gigs and can have a great paying regular deal that might suddenly disappear. The well can dry up regularly so you have to keep a constant lookout for work.

7. Reworking and multiple edits. You can slave over something for a client and they might hate it. You have to take criticism and might have to deliver work you don't think is as well written after your client asks for changes. You need to develop a tough skin in this business.

8. Projects can be difficult to estimate. You can underestimate prep time and working time for a project and find that it has lost you money in the end. This can be difficult but until you're very experienced, it will probably happen.

9. Sploggers, spammers and scrapers are rampant in online markets and want to steal your work and benefit from it! Be prepared to be plagiarized.

10. You have to have a really good eye for scams. When trying to establish yourself, it's a learning process and many new writers are scammed a few times before they become wise to all the tricks and signs of a scam.

Regardless of the negatives listed here, freelance writing can also be a great gig that can earn you money, offer a flexible home based business and can be personally fulfilling if you love to write. With time and experience, you'll find you are able to better deal with the downsides of writing for a living.

About the Author

Matthew is the owner of TheWebReviewer: Work at Home Reviews, and NetWebVideo: SEO Videos For Free and Google Adwords Free Videos.


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