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Thread: Any freelance writers out there?

  1. #11
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 90_hour_sleep
    Hi ENA friends...

    Wondering if anyone wants to share experience with freelance writing. Maybe someone who doesn't do this as a primary source of income. What was your experience level? Do enjoy it? Do you find it a flexible way to supplement your income?

    I'm exploring options for earning side income for my downtime (between unrelated work contracts). I like the idea of something that I can do at home...or on the road...or anywhere really. The income level itself isn't all that important to me at this stage...just looking to generate some ideas for viable options.
    What kind of writing are you interested in doing? Creative? Technical? Opinion? Something else?

    I don't write professionally (except in the case of some reports). However, I do draw as part of my profession--mostly technical. I've freelanced both creative work and technical work.

    I've found that there is a big difference (for me) between selling a technical drawing and selling something that I generated from my imagination. I don't enjoy selling creative work. However, I do enjoy selling technical work. So, my advice to you is: figure out if there is a type of writing that you can most happily sustain and concentrate on that market.

    The other thing is, figure out how you want to get paid. Are you already making income as an independent contractor? If not, the 1099 can be a rude awakening.

  2. #12
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Correct me if I'm wrong, OP, but it sounds like your interest here has little to do with money—like, you're not looking at this as a way to pay rent—but in exploring writing in a way that is more than a hobby? Seeing about getting published, about maybe finding some outlets, seeing where it goes, and so on?

    I wouldn't use the word "casual" to describe that, because even getting there requires tremendous discipline. But I also don't think a writer needs to be an "expert" in anything. Sure, plenty are—crime writers, science writers, political writers, though even most of them became experts by, well, writing about the same thing for a long time.

    Meanwhile, there are a lot of people who dabble in all sorts of disciplines and topics, me being one of them. I very much identify as an amateur, a very curious one, and kind of find writing allows me to pursue that—the chance to kind of have a crash course on a subject that I find compelling.

    But, whimsical language aside, it's a grind, like anything, and a lonesome one. First steps: you want to write, ostensibly, because you read published things that you enjoy. So make a list of outlets you like, think about ideas for them, and figure out how to reach out. And, of course, start with realistic options—websites, local papers, etc.,
    There's an idea of money in there somewhere...but I'm not naive enough to think it'll be an easy process...and I'm not so sure it's the primary motivating factor. I've got an aptitude for writing that I'd like to nurture in some different ways.

    I like the bolded bit...inspiring.

    And your final suggestions are helpful...thank you.

  3. #13
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    Originally Posted by 90_hour_sleep
    There's an idea of money in there somewhere...but I'm not naive enough to think it'll be an easy process...and I'm not so sure it's the primary motivating factor. I've got an aptitude for writing that I'd like to nurture in some different ways.

    I like the bolded bit...inspiring.

    And your final suggestions are helpful...thank you.
    So is it that you don't need an income because you have other sources of $? If not, how many hours a day would you have to devote to this kind of writing and do you have a flexible schedule when deadlines arise? I have a friend who freelances mostly in the area of finance -she is also raising 2 kids so she has to juggle a lot!

  4. #14
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    Originally Posted by Jibralta
    What kind of writing are you interested in doing? Creative? Technical? Opinion? Something else?
    Good question. I haven't honestly given the specifics much thought.

    I don't write professionally (except in the case of some reports). However, I do draw as part of my profession--mostly technical. I've freelanced both creative work and technical work.

    I've found that there is a big difference (for me) between selling a technical drawing and selling something that I generated from my imagination. I don't enjoy selling creative work. However, I do enjoy selling technical work. So, my advice to you is: figure out if there is a type of writing that you can most happily sustain and concentrate on that market.
    The creative stuff is too personal?

    I appreciate this suggestion. There are a few areas I could focus on...expanding a bit on what bluecastle alluded to...exploring areas of interest a little deeper.

    The other thing is, figure out how you want to get paid. Are you already making income as an independent contractor? If not, the 1099 can be a rude awakening.
    Not sure what the 1099 is. Not currently contracting...but it's always an option for me with what I do.

    Thanks for the feedback, Jibralta. :)
    Last edited by 90_hour_sleep; 11-14-2018 at 02:48 PM.

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  6. #15
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    So is it that you don't need an income because you have other sources of $? If not, how many hours a day would you have to devote to this kind of writing and do you have a flexible schedule when deadlines arise? I have a friend who freelances mostly in the area of finance -she is also raising 2 kids so she has to juggle a lot!
    Yes. The income part is not necessary...but I have considered the idea that it could potentially provide a very small supplement (key word). The idea would be to nurture something I already enjoy doing during my periods of downtime (a six-month contract for me is often the equivalent of a full year of work for the 9-5, M-F job). So, I can afford to be selective in my process because it really isn't about feeding myself. Supplement.

    I've considered the idea of starting some sort of blog (although the word bothers me sometimes). That way I can practice the process and contribute things that interest me without any pressure to ''succeed'' in any way.

    Really just looking at ideas...what's worked for others.

  7. #16
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 90_hour_sleep
    The creative stuff is too personal?
    No, I just enjoy exploring at my leisure and I can't do that when I'm obligated to deliver the end-product to someone else. Too confining.

    Originally Posted by 90_hour_sleep
    Not sure what the 1099 is. Not currently contracting...but it's always an option for me with what I do.
    It's a tax form for independent contractors. But to me, it's a symbol of the ridiculous mess I got into when doing work for a client who suddenly put me on his books. I ended up owing like $2000 to the IRS at the end of the year instead of getting money back. So, if you start doing this, I recommend talking to an accountant to learn about your options. You will most likely be taxed differently and you should be prepared.

    Originally Posted by 90_hour_sleep
    The idea would be to nurture something I already enjoy doing during my periods of downtime (a six-month contract for me is often the equivalent of a full year of work for the 9-5, M-F job).
    I see. You have big chunks of free time on your hands. You won't be up against the same time constraint that I am up against when I freelance. Namely, that I have to cram the side-work into these little pockets of free time between work and sleep, and on the weekends.

    What would your blog be about? Have you ever considered vlogging? You can make money this way on YouTube, though I hear the returns aren't as good as they once were.

  8. #17
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    Originally Posted by Jibralta
    No, I just enjoy exploring at my leisure and I can't do that when I'm obligated to deliver the end-product to someone else. Too confining.



    It's a tax form for independent contractors. But to me, it's a symbol of the ridiculous mess I got into when doing work for a client who suddenly put me on his books. I ended up owing like $2000 to the IRS at the end of the year instead of getting money back. So, if you start doing this, I recommend talking to an accountant to learn about your options. You will most likely be taxed differently and you should be prepared.



    I see. You have big chunks of free time on your hands. You won't be up against the same time constraint that I am up against when I freelance. Namely, that I have to cram the side-work into these little pockets of free time between work and sleep, and on the weekends.

    What would your blog be about? Have you ever considered vlogging? You can make money this way on YouTube, though I hear the returns aren't as good as they once were.
    Ya...foo foo on the tax implications. That's a major turn-off. I've been self-employed at times...but have yet to run into a major issue with the tax man. I'll consider myself lucky...and take your story into consideration moving forward.

    The time crunch doesn't feel like a happy place to me...energetically or otherwise. Maybe this is more like a hobby...with the added bonus of (maybe) leading to small doses of monetary prosperity. I don't really know yet.

    Vlogging has less appeal to me. Can't say why exactly. I suppose it's just not the medium I find myself exploring. Could be it's geared towards a slightly younger generation.

    Going to let this percolate for awhile. Appreciate all of the feedback!

  9. #18
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Oh, you can adjust to the 1099 thing. Honestly, I didn't even know there was another way to be taxed until maybe reading this thread, because I've spent my whole adult life in the land 1099s.

    I just train my eye to immediately shave of 30 percent of whatever the check says, and when I deposit it, I throw that 30 percent into a "secret" account that I trick myself into forgetting exists until April comes around and I deal with the pinch of emptying that account to Uncle Sam. Then I deal with the pinch by remembering I don't have a boss, can still afford an overpriced cocktail, and so I treat myself to an overpriced cocktail.

    It's a weird life, no doubt. Not for everyone. But it sounds like you're itching to explore it, so scratch the itch a bit. A blog, I think, is good way to start. Low stakes, but a place to carve out a voice, experiment, get some feedback.

  10. #19
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Obviously it's not impossible or even difficult. But but if you're not already contracting independently, and are unaware of its tax implications, a warning is helpful.

  11. #20
    Platinum Member journeynow's Avatar
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    Perhaps check out Side Hustle School podcasts that deal with writing.

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