Let’s be honest. Freelance writing – freelance anything – is a pretty scary gig. You’re putting yourself out there for the world to judge, and however skilled you may be, however confident you might be in your own work, there’s always that nagging doubt. What if no one likes it?
Add to that the terrifying prospect that your income, career, everything, now depends on taking the initiative and seeking out new clients – actively seeking potential rejection! – and it’s understandable that many people shy away from the prospect.
After all, writers aren’t usually the most extrovert of people. Sure, you’ll find an exception or two, but pretty much by definition, the type of people who choose to sit at a desk and hone their word-craft over many patient hours aren’t the type who are raring to get up and join any party they can find. Writing is, after all, very much a solo activity.
Some opt for a gentle toe in the water. A piece or two for a local newspaper, or a trade magazine. Even if they’re unpaid, it’s the act of saying “yes, this piece of work is good enough to go in front of an audience.” Maybe some ghost-writing for a content mill. After all, if it doesn’t have your name attached, any criticism can’t stick to you. And besides, everyone knows their ratings are based more on how you follow their own specific set of rules than the actual quality of the writing, right? Right?
If you don’t give up the day job, you may not even refer to yourself as freelance or a writer. It’s just an odd little hobby that you use to earn some pin money on the side. (What a lovely quaint little phrase that is. Does anyone actually buy pins with their pin money? Did they even when the phrase was coined?)
But if you’ve really got the writing bug, then sooner or later it will come to crunch time. Whether you gradually work up to it, or just make a dramatic decision from the outset, the day will eventually arrive when you have to ask the big question. Do I want to do this enough to make it my actual job? The ability to introduce yourself not as a shop assistant, or an accountant, or a librarian, but as “Jamie Rose. I’m a writer.” It’s an intoxicating prospect for anyone who loves the written word. Enough to warrant biting that bullet?
Today, my answer is yes.