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Becoming A Freelance-Writer: 7 Tips for Becoming Emotionally Strong

Updated on June 26, 2013

Being a Writer Requires Emotional Strength

Being a freelance writer is not easy. Aside from the constant struggles that every freelancer faces dealing with finances, there are the emotional burdens and turmoil that many writers don't even talk about. Being a freelance writer can be stressful and emotionally trying. There's the fighting with loneliness, and the having to deal with a lack of social life since you work at home. In addition there's stress for deadlines, for not having enough work, for having too much work, and the common problem of friends and family either thinking your job is extremely easy (which gets grating) or thinking it's silly or a phase. Lack of support can be very difficult for a writer.

Emotions and Writing: Is It Worth It?

Many freelance writers don't think about this before going into the business, but these are just a few of the emotional factors you have to consider before diving in head first. This is particularly true if you want to do more than just write part time, but if you want to make a full time living writing. You also have to be able to wear many hats. Sometimes that might mean you have to bend over backwards for a problem client, and other times you might have to get downright stubborn to get paid. These are hard lessons, but necessary if you want to learn how to become a freelance writer.

But it is a dream worth chasing, if you are willing to work through the costs.

Writing Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A Blank Page - Every Writer's NemesisThe Old Fashioned TypewriterThe Writing Goal: A stack of books with your name on them.Writing the old fashioned way.Set up for the modern writer.Writing as a stature
A Blank Page - Every Writer's Nemesis
A Blank Page - Every Writer's Nemesis
The Old Fashioned Typewriter
The Old Fashioned Typewriter
The Writing Goal: A stack of books with your name on them.
The Writing Goal: A stack of books with your name on them.
Writing the old fashioned way.
Writing the old fashioned way.
Set up for the modern writer.
Set up for the modern writer.
Writing as a stature
Writing as a stature

5 Tips for Freelance Writers

The following are 5 tips that can help prepare you to deal with the emotional toil of being a full time freelance writer.

#1 Grow a thick skin: This is a good piece of advice for life, too, and when it comes to freelance writing it's mandatory. Whether it's friends and family pressing you to get a real job or problem employers who want great writers without treating them like human beings (you'd be surprised how many of them there are) you will need a thick skin to deal with these issues.

#2 You'll be lonely sometimes: No matter how much of a loner you are, working seemingly endless weeks in your apartment or home without going out can lead a freelance writing life to be a very lonely one - so make sure to get community and to get out once in a while for your own good.

#3 Manners matter: Many writers are rude - even to the people writing the checks. There's no excuse for this at all and if you want to succeed as a writer, it's always critical to err on the side of honor, manners, and politeness.

#4 Drop headache clients: Finish the job where it becomes obvious they're going to be a headache client - you don't want to hurt your own reputation, but in the long run you need to recognize that headache clients are never worth the time, stress, or effort.

#5 Believe in yourself: Always learn from your mistakes and strive to become better and better at what you do, but you must believe in yourself. No one else is going to, so that confidence to succeed must come from yourself.

Following all these tips will help you be mentally and emotionally prepared for all the rigors of a freelance writing career.

How to Write a Query Letter

Ray Bradbury on Writing

Freelance Writing Experiences

Getting Ahead in the Freelance Writing Business

When it comes to getting ahead in the freelance writing business, it never hurts to find a mentor who has gone there before you. Instead of reading fluff filled e-books or blogs that never give rock solid information on how to practically accomplish something, find a blog from someone who has actually been there or even a mentor who will help guide you along. This is what I've striven to provide with my old writing blog and why I'm hoping to even take it to the next level at my new writing blog which you can find RIGHT HERE.

Comments on Becoming a Freelance Writer

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  • prairieprincess profile image

    Sharilee Swaity 7 years ago from Canada

    Beautiful, and thanks! I clicked through to your website, and put in on feed, so I will be reading it regularly. And Ray Bradbury ... he's the best! Take care!

  • Jerry G2 profile image

    Jerry G2 7 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

    Thanks for the comments, guys. Yeah, the job is stressful enough by nature that you don't need headache clients making it worse. Thanks for the kinds words, and I hope you're all doing well!

  • Herald Daily profile image

    Herald Daily 8 years ago from A Beach Online

    You addressed some very good points, here. Personally, it's the money thing for me. Sometimes it's great, other times very stressful.

    Good job, Jerry. Your hub will allow newbies to enter the profession knowing what they're getting into to.

  • mommyfreelancer profile image

    mommyfreelancer 8 years ago from Philippines

    I agree with No. 6, most of all. I've been freelance writing for a year now, as a part-time job, and thankfully my clients are mostly nice. I had this one who was such a headache, and I just had to ask to be let go.

    I think one of the worries freelance writers have is to drop any client, fearing that they are dropping potential income in the future, too. But some are really just not worth it. Great advice!

  • Chris Eddy111 profile image

    Chris Eddy111 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Thanks for this hub. Newb, like me need all of the help that we can get.

  • Bruce Elkin profile image

    Bruce Elkin 8 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

    Great, hub, Jerry. Thanks!. Good, solid advice, and the Ray Bradbury video was worth the price of admission. I'm gonna add it to my Writer's Block hub. He had me clapping along with the crowd. I love it. Thanks!!!

  • Jerry G2 profile image

    Jerry G2 8 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

    Hi Marsia,

    Thanks for the great comment. I've always been someone who loved my own personal space and working on my own, but even so it is amazing how lonely the freelance writing life can be, and you really need to find a good balance between getting out and about around other people and putting in the desk time at home. Thanks for commenting, and I would love any comments you have at my freelance writing blog:

    Keep writing, and thanks again for commenting!

  • Marisa Wright profile image

    Marisa Wright 8 years ago from Sydney

    Some good points. About two years ago, I was feeling burnt out with the corporate world and seriously contemplated becoming a freelance writer.  I've learned a lot about the online writing world since that time, but I've now gone back to "real world" work.  The reason?   I realise I just can't handle working alone.  It's not just feeling isolated - I find that if I dont have the buzz of people around me, I lose any sense of drive and never get anything done!  So I absolutely agree, it's something all writers should think about when contemplating a freelance career.

  • DonnaCSmith profile image

    Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

    Your local independent book store is a good resource for finding other writers - if there isn't already a group in your town, start one! I have been a writers group member for over 15 years - i started two of them. I also have been a memeber of for about ten years.

    Good hub, Jerry.

  • profile image

    dabblingmum 9 years ago

    Another place to check for local writer's groups is the local library. Sometimes they host writing groups in the meeting rooms. Oh, and check with the local college--they often have writing groups and allow non-students to join.

  • Jerry G2 profile image

    Jerry G2 9 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

    Hi Smith, thanks for the comment. Most online communities are generally that, and there are some excellent forums online for writers to have interaction. As for local writing groups, I've traveled all around, and almost every place I've been there have been writing groups of one kind or another, but it might take some snooping to find. Using search engines, looking around college areas, coffee houses, and just keeping an eye open will help you find the right group. They are easier to find in cities or college towns, but no matter where you go you can probably find a group. If you can't, consider starting one! Hope that helps, and best of luck!

  • 02SmithA profile image

    02SmithA 9 years ago from Ohio

    Nice post JerryG2, I am considering freelance writing and this is some very interesting perspective for me to have. Do some writing groups even meet in person for more of a social opportunity?

  • Jerry G2 profile image

    Jerry G2 9 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

    Thanks for the support! I agree. The isolation is a big deal, in part because it's so easy for it to sneak in and after a few weeks you realize you've been a loner for going on two months. I started writing when I lived in Alaska, and if it wasn't for a few good drinking buddies I probably wouldn't have left the cabin all summer, so god bless them!

  • profile image

    dabblingmum 9 years ago

    I am so glad you wrote this hub. I've been freelancing since 1999 and it always amazes me how little freelance writers want to admit to the isolation they feel. You can spend upwards of 6 hours or more alone in front of your desk writing. You mostly answer bids for writing gigs via email, too. And, because you want to use every moment wisely so that you can have more time with family and friends when you're not working, you're multi-tasking by visiting forums and working on paying projects at the same time. Yes isolation can prevail if we are not careful. And it needs to be talked about so that we can keep each other in check and push each other to get out there more--even if it's picking a fun thing to do so that you can pitch the experience as an article later. (WINK)