A freelance writer who tells you the thing they love most about their job is being their own boss isn’t very imaginative. While I am a big fan of being able to say when, where and with whom I will work, it's not THE thing I love most. What is? I am glad you asked.
Most people go to work every day to do things they ALREADY know how to do. Snooze. I worked in corporate America look enough to know that's not the kind of work I want to do, and gratefully being a freelance writer means I don't have to be THAT person. Although, there is nothing wrong with being a specialized writer I prefer to bob in and out of a lot of niches. Not only does it keep things interesting but mastering a new voice or writing style or personality helps me develop as a writer. I don't ever want to be a one-dimensional writer that’s boring, and uninspiring.
I didn't use to feel this way about freelancing but the truth is the job market was forever changed after the market crashed in 2008. All businesses looked for ways to save money, and one of the "favorite" ways to move away from full-time employees to part-time or contractors/freelancers. Once a freelance writer has a diverse client portfolio your financial security is no longer dependent on just one niche. So, if one industry is on a downturn, it doesn't mean a freelance writer will necessarily be, too.
Just Say No
It took me a long time to realize that it was Ok to say know to some freelance jobs but once I did – boy, what freedom. Whether it’s the project timeline or the clients themselves, if it doesn't fit or you're not feeling good about taking the work – DON'T. Yes, it really is that simple. Instead of focusing on what you're giving up, think about what your gaining: the ability to concentrate on what YOU DO want to do. I accepted a promising job last year only to quickly learn the client was difficult and unreliable. The first project went off without a hitch but the second was a lot of hurrying up and waiting for nothing. I had the work and was waiting for further direction so I didn't actively seek additional work – bad decision. When the second project stalled – it never did get revived – I was out the money and had to scramble to find something to replace it.
I never understood why people think writers need to be in an office between 9 a.m., and 5 p.m. It's not how most of us work. Face-to-face meetings – that I can see – but on a routine basis writers should be able to work when they are most creative and efficient. Yes, for a lot of us, that's generally about 30 minutes before deadline. I sometimes find I write better before sunrise; sometimes it's well after sunset and though the times are rare I write best in late afternoon.
As I am writing this a thought crosses my mind, these are not just my favorite things about being a freelance writer but – in some instances – they make a great case for hiring a freelance writer, too.