What It Is Like To Be A Freelance Writer

This photo of me was on the bio page of one of the websites that I write for. At an event one night a reader of that website told me I was a dead ringer for my photo. Of all the people I could look like, ends up I look like myself.


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  1. What could be better than doing what you love – not to mention … being incredibly gifted at it!

  2. Entertaining and enjoyable as always, cous.

  3. You nailed the freelancer’s life. Been there, done that, wouldn’t have traded the experience for the world, glad its past me now. My best wishes for good luck and continuing success.

    • Alaina Mabaso June 4, 2012 — 9:40 am

      A lot of my colleagues and editors say that. Nobody wants to freelance long-term and it seems that few people do it. I wonder if the economy/field has changed so much since the generation before me dabbled in freelancing that it’s no longer viable to stop freelancing and find traditional work if you want to be a writer outside the PR/communications/marketing field.

      Thanks for your good wishes. Sometimes I think I’m totally nuts and sometimes I’m at peace with what I do.

  4. Brilliant, Alaina. How can I share this?

  5. Really good post, Alaina!

    What do you think the impact of the internet has been on freelancing over the last 5-10 years or so? It seems to me that on one hand, there are more outlets to write for, but on the other hand, there are new measures of worth like SEO, page views and clicks. How does this affect what you write or how you write, if at all?

    • All great questions, let me answer them once and for all with my infinite wisdom.

      I don’t know.

      There may be more outlets to write for, but I think compensations has probably plummeted and competition remains intense for the viable gigs. I find there are sites, at least in the arts arena, that think you should write for them for free (i.e., just for the theater tickets or whatever) and be grateful for the byline. I say do it to get your foot in the door and build your resume, and then never again! Value your work. I do sometimes try to target this blog to whatever the day or week’s hot topic is, because I know that will generate more hits through search engines. But more often I just go with what I want to write about, and that’s rarely SEO optimized.

      As for my paid/professional work (no, I am not making money off my blog readers), I think that the digital world means local is where it’s at for writers (and readers). There is still work to be found on a hyper-local level, and that makes up a lot of what I do. The internet has made it possible to target really specific groups of people, whether by interest or by location.

  6. LMAO! “You’re just looking for a fight!” Super like this post – especially the pie chart… The wannabe writer in me lived vicariously through it.

    • Thanks! Glad the pie chart spoke to you – it is the unvarnished truth. I have been told I’m a “pugnacious” writer – so be it!

      • I believe that regardless of whether you’re pugnacious (as if that were a bad thing), you’re a gifted writer – and that’s what matters. It’s always refreshing to enjoy a bit of attitude in a piece. I feel more involved as a reader. 🙂

      • Alaina Mabaso June 6, 2012 — 1:50 pm

        The jury’s probably out on whether or not the world needs more of MY attitude. But I’ll probably continue to provide it nonetheless.

        I agree that pugnaciousness is often warranted.

  7. What a creative way of showing the writers life. The illustrations are great! — Marilyn Dyson

  8. Nice post! It sounds like free lance writing involves a lot of risk, but has its rewards. Keep up the good work!

    • Yes, it is risky. Get good at mental arithmetic because you will lie in bed calculating if you’ve written enough stories this month to meet the bills. I Love the flexibility of the work though, and I love managing myself.

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