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Freelance Writing Myths

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on April 17, 2008 in Freelance Writing Business
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Stop believing in freelance writing myths says Chris Bibey of ChrisBlogging - he recently exposed some common myths on his blog. All I can say is "Shhhhh Chris!!! The more people believe that crap, the better it is for the rest of us!" ;) I'm just kidding of course. Chris makes some good points. I'd like to add one.

Chris says:

"It takes too long to become a full-time freelance writer. This is a myth for two reasons. First off, “too long” means something different to everybody. Additionally, there is no saying that it will take you years on end to reach your goal of being a full-time writer. It only took me a few months, and with so much work available, you may be able to build your income to full-time status even quicker."

Oddly enough, I think the opposite is just as common of a freelance writing myth. People think it's "easy" to quickly make a lot of money as a freelance writer. My situation is similar to that of Chris... it only took a few months. But those few months were filled with a hell of a lot of hard work!

I find it slightly frustrating when a writer contacts me for advice, wanting to know why they're not earning a full-time income. First question: how long have you been at it? It's usually a few weeks to a few months. They need money. They thought writing would be a quick way to get it. They miss the fact that there's a lot of marketing and networking involved (and guess what... you don't get paid for that!).

So yes, you can earn a real income from writing relatively quickly... just don't expect it to be "immediate." Even a few months isn't going to cut it for a lot of writers. But as Chris says, it doesn't have to take forever. My position is this: as long as you're planning for, and working towards, a long-term freelance career goal and not just thinking about getting cash-on-hand quickly, you'll have a better shot.


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What are your thoughts? Can you think of any other freelance writing myths you've come across often? Do you think new writers should worry so much about how long it's going to take to "make it?"

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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4 Comments

  1. Trisha April 17, 2008 Reply

    Since freelance writing is being self-employed, it is really up to you to make it happen and achieve success. If you don’t get anywhere with this career, then it’s almost certain that it was your fault. (I’m using the all-encompassing ‘you.’ Obviously, Jennifer Mattern has made it.)

    Some people just don’t try hard enough. I know I’m guilty of that sometimes.

  2. Jennifer Mattern April 17, 2008 Reply

    lol I wouldn’t say I’ve “made it” yet actually. ;) Maybe I’ve “made it” part-time, but until it’s my primary income (and better yet, more writing for myself than for clients), I’ll be struggling to make things happen just like anyone else… any way we cut it, no matter how successful we are, in freelancing the working and growing never stops.

    Maybe that’s another myth – that you eventually get to stop marketing. No matter how much easier it gets when you have a client base and referrals, you never know when you’ll need to find new ones (a client leave, you have a slow period, etc).

  3. Joseph Ratliff April 20, 2008 Reply

    I would have to disagree with the point that it takes a long time to make money as a freelance writer…

    What I don’t disagree with, is that it takes a little while to KEEP making money full time as a freelance writer.

    You can write articles and submit them to Associated Content to make instant cash…but you actually have to treat your writing as a business (sales and marketing included) to continue down the path to full-time writer.

    Joseph Ratliff
    Internet Business Growth Specialist
    Copywriter
    Author of The Profitable Business Edge 2

  4. Miss Write May 25, 2008 Reply

    I agree that some people tend to think earning from writing is easy, and it never fails to piss the hell out of me. If it were easy we’d all be writers. It takes time, networking and skill to really be a full-time writer.

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