On Freelancing

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The first time I ever heard the word “freelance” was when I saw Peter Parker do it in Spiderman. I never thought much of it until I learned that freelancing is more than a way to cover up your super human powers. (Not that it wouldn’t be cool to have that excuse to do freelance work.) Freelancing is a whole world of opportunities for people with all different kinds of skill sets. But for the purposes of this blog, I’ll be talking about the world of freelance writing.

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disclaimer: amount of coffee shown in picture is less than the amount normally required for freelancing

Before we get started, there are a few myths about freelance that I would like to dispel. The first of which is that freelance, contrary to popular belief, is not free. Whatever type of freelancing someone decides to do, rest assured they are getting paid for their work. The major difference between freelance and a 9-5 job is that freelancers get to choose what projects to take on and which companies they would like to be associated with. Not all freelancing jobs work exactly the same way, but that’s the general idea. The second thing I want to make abundantly clear here is that freelancing is not what Carrie Bradshaw does on Sex & the City. Most of the time, there is hardly any glamour to it. It has its boring moments just like any other job, and should be treated like any other paying job. But I’ll get into that more in a little bit.

Rewind to the beginning of this summer. I’m extra fresh out of college, desperate for a job that will actually utilize my skills, and unable to afford not living at home. Of course I still can’t afford to not live at home but that’s besides the point. I wanted to get some experience, and of the 13 companies I applied to for a full time position, not one contacted me. I was beginning to get discouraged, but then I thought about doing some freelance writing. It couldn’t hurt to apply to a few places, right? I needed the experience, and anything to keep me writing.

Finding freelance job postings was not easy at first. I scoured the web looking for entry level positions, but there were seemingly none in existence. That is, until I learned where to look for them. The best website that I’ve found to date is freelancewriting.com. There are job postings, calls for submissions (poetry, fiction, and nonfiction), as well as a very handy newsletter subscription. The newsletter, called “The Morning Coffee” is site creator Brian Scott compiling a list of freelance opportunities and sending them out to subscribers. Every single day. If that’s not commitment to helping your fellow writers, I don’t know what is. This newsletter was extremely helpful in my search for freelance jobs, and it included a range of opportunities from entry level to senior editor.

Another source of information for me was a blog from Luna Luna Magazine that goes into a lot of the same things I’ve talked about here, but with a more technical approach. I love Luna Luna’s blog material, especially all of their work relating to the job search or tips for writers. So go check it out! Their blog is updated daily, and covers everything from feminism to freelance writing.

Long story short, I ended up applying for a freelance position at a web-based SEO company, and I’ve been writing for them since the beginning of July. I’ve learned a lot about freelancing in that short time. Mainly, like I said before, about how it is not what Carrie Bradshaw does. I learned pretty quick that most freelancing is the opposite of glamorous. When someone needs an article written about hose clamps, you better suck it up and do the research. Sometimes it’s not fun, but like my dad always tells me, you don’t get a job to have fun. While I don’t think he’s entirely wrong, there is some fun to be had in freelancing. It’s nice to be able to control your own hours and to tell people yes, I am working in my field. If you have to write a few snore pieces about mortgages and oil tankers, so be it. The idea here is to keep writing! So if you’re stuck with a few crummy freelance positions before you go into the big leagues, don’t sweat it. Keep writing, keep researching, and keep your chin up!

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