What Does A Freelance Writer Do Exactly?
I’ve been a professional freelance writer for almost two years now. I haven’t had a “real” job in all of that time. Last holiday season most people nodded politely when I told them I was a freelance writer, or furrowed their eyebrows at me as if to ask if that was the same thing as being unemployed.
However, no one really asked much about it. In hindsight, I guess that they figured it was just some phase, or maybe just another person they knew trying (and probably failing) to start-up a small business because they got tired of the corporate world. Or, perhaps even more likely, they all figured that since my wife is a lawyer, that maybe she was supporting me and I was just dabbling in writing.
What a difference a year makes. My wife has dropped down to part-time at her job and we are planning on her quitting altogether some time this coming year. Couple that with the fact that this is the second Thanksgiving or Christmas in a row that I have given the same answer to the question, “So, what are you doing these days?” and people’s curiosity has peaked.
Follow up questions have become much more common this year.
The number one question about being a freelance writer that I get is, of course, “What is it that you write?”
This question, which used to only come from close family and friends, is the reason I started this little blog in the first place. I figured I could point people to this webpage if they were truly curious, and not just being polite. From here, they could follow whatever links they liked to my various writings around the web. It is less “business-y” than my official freelance writing business website, and less particular than my official freelance writing samples webpage.
The truth is, that most people are looking for an answer like, books, magazine articles, or even advertisements – something along the lines of, “You know that radio commercial for the Denver Zoo…” Ironically, I don’t really write any of that.
It turns out that I found clients for my freelance writing business fast and easy on the Internet. Since then I’ve earned plenty of money without pounding the sidewalk or banging the phones to find new “in real life” clients, so I’ve never really tried.
What that means, however, is that my answer about what I do leaves most people confused.
“Oh, you mean you build websites?” — Well, not complicated ones, but I do write content for big well-known websites. [More puzzled looks]
The major difficulty lies in the same place that it does when trying to find new freelance writing clients. If you have never worked with a freelance writer on a project before, you just aren’t familiar with how it works. Even the most astute can only get so far as to assume that my job is to do the writing when no one else has the time.
In the end, I don’t really try too hard to explain anymore exactly what value I provide as a freelance writer and instead just direct the conversation to things people can more readily understand, like I work from home out of a home office and my commute happens in my flannel pants. This immediately turns the conversation away from what I do and how I do it, to how lucky I am, and then, inevitably, how they should try it sometime.
By the way, if you want to check out some of my not-so-business writing that I get to crank out for fun and profit (sometimes) you can look at some of the Hubs published under HubLlama at HubPages.com