Guest Contributor: How I Realized That Freelance Writing Could Not Be My Career
Editor: Below is a guest post from my pal Brittney Oliver. She’s bright, determined, and going places. What she discusses below is precisely what I want readers of The Free Creative Society to be doing — making a business and lifestyle out of their actual passions. Sometimes when you’re headed down a certain path, it’s smart to acknowledge that it might not be the right one for you. Assess, re-calibrate, and take action.I have always felt like it was never meant for me to follow the traditional route in life. Click To Tweet
I have always felt like it was never meant for me to follow the traditional route in life.
However, I’ve always done just that, repressing my creative energy and resisting the pull of entrepreneurship. So, when I decided to pursue writing as my career, I experienced a wave of liberation and thrill that quickly devolved into paralyzing fear.
At that moment, I realized that even though I have been writing my entire life, I have never been paid to write and I had not one inkling on how to start. I needed answers and guidance, and because there was no one I knew personally that could help me with this, I naturally turned to the internet.
I spent two weeks researching, Googling, emailing, and commenting.
I did everything I could to gain knowledge on how to make money as a writer. On my excursion, “freelance writer” showed up on my screen on several occasions as a way to make money NOW and I knew it was something I needed to delve into.
I read up on it and immediately gathered, “this is it”. This is how I will make my money, be my own boss, and be happy doing it.
I began to pursue this new avenue and started to learn how to maneuver in the freelancing world. I signed up for about three content mills, created my portfolio site, and begin to market myself as a freelance writer.
“I’m a freelance writer”, is what I would think to myself. It felt great to have that title, and I knew I would soon have proof of that. I daydreamed of seeing my name on published articles, with a quirky bio and plenty of thoughtful comments. That exhilaration did not last long.
As I started to receive offers for work and continued to research companies and places to write for, I began to see that there wasn’t a lot of demand for my niche of writing.
I pressed on, and quickly began to become frustrated.
I was receiving offers to write about things I had absolutely no interest in. I mean, sure, I could research and write reviews on kitchen supplies, garden tools, or life hacks, but that’s not what I wanted to do as a writer. That’s not the freedom that I was looking for. I could churn out article after article on subjects that did not inspire or uplift me just to make a living, but I knew that I would eventually end up being miserable just like in all of my past jobs. So then what would have been the reason for pursuing writing as my career?
It would have been in vain.
What’s the fun in seeing your name on published articles that you have no real interest in? I knew it was time to revamp my plan.
I took about three more days and brainstormed on what I wanted to do with my writing. I concluded that I wanted to inspire and guide people who have went through or are going through similarly unfortunate situations like the ones that I’ve experienced. That would bring me the most joy and make my hard work not feel like work at all. I want to write books, create workshops, and grow a tribe of people that understand, love, support, and are appreciative of my vision. Could I do that forcing myself to write 15,000 or more words a week on topics that just depleted me? NO. I would have none or very little creative energy left over for my real desires.
So now when I say I’m pursuing my career as a writer, I’m very clear about what that means.
I’m working on projects that define MY vision. I still need money right now, so I’m only going to pitch and write for companies and blogs that are closely connected to my niche. Now, please do not misunderstand me. I’m not beneath creating content that I’m not passionate about to make sure my bills are paid, but that isn’t my situation.
If It were, I would do what I must do, but work twice as hard on my other projects so that I wouldn’t have to do that forever. I’m passionate about my niche so I know that my work will attract clients, and I will be alright. I may not get me the satisfaction of receiving a very large amount of money every week for writing (right now), but I will know that the foundation I’m building for myself is more sustainable, and necessary for my personal well-being and future.
It’s still going to be a lot of work, it’s still a non-traditional route, but it’s on my own terms. And that is what no one can take away.