Why You Should Never Feel Defeated as a Freelance Writer

Whether you do or don’t have formal training as writer, one thing is indisputable: your passion for this creative, informative medium. In a perfect world, you’d be able to write what you want, all the while getting paid nicely for it. However, the freelance writing world is one of competition and confusion along with triumphs and treasures – that’s why you need to keep your head up high and adjust your sail to writing’s varied winds.

Expertise and education, explained…

The great thing about freelance writing is that there’s always room at the table – it just depends on the size of the monetary plate that’s set before you. What you’re served is, of course (no pun intended) in direct relation to what you already know, or are willing to learn – and that’s the part that newer writers tend to overlook; perhaps you’ve been one of them?

If you’ve ever looked at a freelance writing job description and immediately were like, “Oh, that looks like a great opportunity – I don’t know enough about that topic, though, I’ll just pass on that.” Then you’ve thrown up a wall where there should be a doorway.

Although you might not know enough about a topic to immediately apply for related opportunities, now’s as good a time as any to learn, learn, LEARN. A lot of freelance writers want to just skip straight ahead to the work and not focus on actual education, but that’s what you’ll need to stay out of defeat and in the game.

  • Examine the trends in the freelance job market.
    • Certain topics (tech, finance) have always had higher-paying opportunities, and are ever-present.
    • Lifestyle niches usually are the most competitive, and tend to wax and wane along with audience preferences.
  • Only learn what you like or love.
    • If you go into any freelance writing endeavor just for the sake of making money, sooner or later it’ll show, resulting in fewer opportunities despite any and all efforts to educate yourself on respective topics.
  • Quality learning resources can also be affordable.
    • If you’re in a defeatist mindset, then you’ll probably present the “I can’t afford this” obstacle to yourself. Although that logical thinking might have been true back in the early days of the much-smaller Internet landscape, it’s certainly untrue now.
      • Money Essentials by CNN Money is free, and tackles a lot of the topics that clients seek articles about.
      • Alison.com offers lots of free online courses on everything from IT, to humanities, to lifestyle, as well as certificate options. And no, I’m not just recommending this because it’s my name; it’s a fact that I do find quite amusing, though.
    • By the way, I’m of the opinion that unless it’s literally akin to a college degree, no online course is worth hundreds of dollars. Not one. None.
      • Exceptions (because of their college affiliations/professionalism):
      • Those other, non-college-affiliated courses are usually put together through information that you can readily find online for free. Even the research time you’d be saving still wouldn’t compensate for those silly fees.

Embrace a realistic hope…

Whether you’ve been writing for years, months, days, or even hours, the approach to vanquishing those feelings of defeatism should be the same process.

Remember, what makes writing an artform is not just the words themselves – be they visceral, informative, or both –  but how they are perceived. Each reader comes away with their own version of whatever it is that you write. Therein lies the differences of opinions between clients and/or audiences that freelance writers get tangled up in sometimes – and don’t you become one of them! The sooner you accept freelance writing for the character-building journey that it is, the less of defeatist you’ll feel. Keep writing, keep growing, and, yes, keep believing – in who you are, and who you will be.

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