Struggles of a Freelance Writer

I’m sitting here in my yoga pants at 8:49 a.m. this morning, and am totally considering ripping my hair out.

As if that would help. I’d only be bald and stressed.

You see, I’m at a strange place in my writing career. I work full time and go to school as an MFA student full time, and I’m also taking in freelance writing work on the side of both these gigs. That doesn’t leave me with very much time to do anything else. Hence, the status of my poor, sad, in-need-of-work website.

But the freelance work is out there. It’s calling to me. Just yesterday I got a call from a client based in Ohio, looking for editing and writing assistance with RFPs. Did I want to take this project on? Well yeah–what a great opportunity with a high-profile client. Could I take this on? Well… sure, if I wanted to never, ever sleep. Ever. What’s a freelance writer to do?

In times like these, I turn to my best friend Google for a nice, long chat. So this morning, after getting my six-year-old on the bus, I sat down to see what Google has to say about this whole freelance writing thing and that great escape artist, TIME.

The results were encouraging, but barely. Many blog posts and websites strongly encouraged writers to up-and-leave their 9-5 positions to take on freelancing, if that was where the heart lies. That’s great, but there are problems with this for some people, me being one of them. So I decided to make a list of my objections to leaving my full time job, and then think about what they really mean. I came up with two main problems:

  1. I’m a single parent with a mortgage and a house full of stray animals. I need to support all this, and while freelancing can certainly do that for me, it’s risky.
  2. My full-time job provides health insurance, which I need for my child and me. I can’t raise him if I’m not healthy, right?

After writing these down, lighting some candles, and doing some yoga, I’m back at the computer.

Item #1 is most certainly the result of fear. I’m afraid of the risk, I’m afraid of the uncertainty that will come with giving up a position that’s provided stability (and good money!) for so long (even if it is slowly sucking the life out of me because it is so corporatized). I have a fantastic support group that I could rely on, should I be in desperate, desperate need. But things have always found a way of working out in my favor in the past. I can work through my fear.

Then we come to item #2. This is a valid concern… the world, as we know it, is in shambles, for a multitude of reasons, healthcare being one. Healthcare and the surrounding debate is being used as a political tool, rather than being seen as a valid, necessary aspect of life. Rather than a right, healthcare in the United States is a business, a for-profit endeavor that allows others to make money off of someone else’s illness. There’s so much wrong with this, but I’ll save that for another post. What it amounts to is this: my concern about being able to care for me or my son is valid, but if I step back, the picture is bigger: my insurance through my company right now is not a given. My company just fired our CEO and CFO, so there’s doubt as to which direction the business will go in next. The take away here: nothing is guaranteed.

After yoga, after thinking through my concerns a little bit, I’m starting to realize that I need to take the plunge. For my sanity, for my sense of well-being, I need to pursue my expanding freelance business.

Wow. I wrote it. That’s scary.

But here goes. I’ll start the preparations, and I’ll keep you in the loop as I venture into the world of full-time freelance work.


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