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Five Major Pitfalls of Freelance Writing and How to Address Them

Updated on April 15, 2012
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Freelance writing is a great way to earn money (if possible, a living), develop one’s writing and proofreading skills, and establish one’s reputation as a writer. This occupation has become popular in the recent years because of other benefits or “perks” associated to it. Basically, becoming a freelance writer gives you the opportunity to get hold of your schedule the way you want it to be while working and doing the thing you loved the most - WRITING. This means you would have all the chance in the world to work at your own pace and time. Plus, you don’t have to go to a workplace or report to a superior. Second, you can produce large amounts of income most especially if you come up with quality outputs every time. Since you have the prerogative to get as much work as you can handle, you are the one determining the fate of your pay check. Hah! With all those said, wouldn’t it be wonderful to hop in the bandwagon to become a freelance writer?

I’ve been hearing so many feedbacks about freelance writing – both positive and negative. That’s why I got a whole picture of such job staring right in front of me. The word FREELANCE and WRITING just seemed so promising. So without any hesitations, I opted to give it a try and was very fortunate to have found a company which will allow me to work on a freelance basis. Until now, I would willingly testify that I am having a great time because I enjoy a set-up wherein I am given full control of my job with lesser directions or supervision. But I have to admit, it wasn’t easy starting out…

Sometimes, freelance writing is a hassle...
Sometimes, freelance writing is a hassle... | Source

It’s been almost three months since I got hired as a freelance writer. And in such span of time, I have experienced various difficulties from which, I honestly profess, I had pretty hard time dealing with. I am quite sure that almost all freelance writers had experienced (And always would!) these challenges at one point of their lives. Having thought of this a long time, I decided to collate all my insights on recent experiences I had in my present occupation as a freelance writer; with the aim of helping those who are in the same puddle or giving a sneak-peak to those who are thinking of venturing to this field. I have no intention of inflicting discouragement. Please be reminded that I do this because I want to help.

Are you ready? If you are, then here’s my list of the top five most annoying freelance writing pitfalls and some stuff I did about them:

TIME MISMANAGEMENT

In the beginning of my freelance writing career, I always thought I’d never get through the type of schedule I had. This may sound ironic given my job as a “FREElancer”. Supposedly, I should have more time to work around my deadlines and writing jobs. But the reality is, freelance writing has the tendency to make you do otherwise. Since you are so much preoccupied with the joys of freelance writing, you may forget one key element to succeed – TIME MANAGEMENT. You always have to remember that although you work in a home-based or I’d-work-anywhere-and-anytime-I-want manner, it is very necessary to bind yourself on a schedule. So when I was in the verge of messing up everything because of mismanaged time allotments, I decided to make my own working schedule. When I said schedule, I meant something I ABIDE with every day. Because of several distractions at home, it could be really hard for a freelance writer to focus. So a strictly set schedule, something like the ones I used to follow during my clinical practice as nurse, was really helpful. Working around such pre-set times and activities increased my earnings, time for leisure, and decreased my stress levels.

What I did: I used an old notebook and bought a cheap planner to organize my activities and events. Whenever there’s an upcoming gig (since I am also a vocalist for a Philippine rock band), shows, or singing engagements, I’d plot them on my planner and work my entire schedule from there. I use my old notebook to jot down notes and some other things related to my writing submissions and other plans for the day. And look, I don’t have to spend so much just to make all these happen.

WRITER'S BLOCK

This is by far the most dreadful of all the pitfalls I (and others) have encountered. Have you ever came to a point when you’re staring at your blank screen for like thirty minutes and still don’t have the slightest idea on how to get started? Yeah, I know the feeling – it sucks big time! Surely, this would consume a lot of time and entail a lot of effort in the part of the freelance writer. Almost all writers have had their fair share of such experience and I’d bet they would continue having some of this for the rest of their lives.

How hard does it get?
How hard does it get? | Source

What I did: While it is true that writer’s block is a normal phenomenon, it doesn’t follow that a writer should succumb to such challenge. So whenever I feel like I have nothing else to say, I take a deep breath then type the most primitive of words and ideas that come out. I continue writing even if some ideas tend to become repetitive. Then from there, the signal shows up! For some reasons, my brain is stimulated to think through this methodology that it actually begins to recognize redundancy and rectifies them. And as I correct some errors from the first couple of sentences I've written to begin with, the next thing I knew is I have finished and submitted a well-written and informative article already. So the key to a writer’s block is simply START WRITING.

BOREDOM AND LACK OF ENTHUSIASM

Most often than not, especially when you’re working for content mills, there will be times when you have to write about a certain topic over and over again. Like in my case, writing about workout supplements, furniture, and kitchen wares happens almost every week. There are also times when some clients would like you to write the impossible. And I tell you, it would really get into your nerves. Overtime, you’d lose interest and would have second thoughts whether you’d like to continue on this freelance thing or not.

Simply bored and unenthusiastic.
Simply bored and unenthusiastic. | Source

What I did: Lack of enthusiasm, in my own opinion, is just a state of mind. If you’d think that you “can’t”, “don’t”, and “won’t” be able to write about something every day, then it would happen. Being able to produce as much output as needed should always be the right frame of mind, especially if you are a freelance writer where the only boss and critic is yourself. In order to do something about it, I made sure to include at least an hour of leisure throughout my working schedule on a daily basis. During my so called “break time”, I’d read some interesting blogs or news online; play and hear some rock music; and play tetris on Facebook. When it comes to your preference on how to ignite enthusiasm and eradicate boredom in you, whatever method that works for you is the best. The key is to provide a temporary leeway from all the writing stuff (since one has the inevitable tendency to get saturated with freelance work) and renew enthusiasm and interest by other means. But I have to warn you about that Tetris thing, for it can also become a distraction in the long run. Haha!

LACK OF ENERGY

This is by far the easiest one to do something about. In days when you feel like waking up on the wrong side of the bed or you don’t have enough energy boosts to proceed for the entire day, you may at least try some simple things to get back on track.

What I did: Before I work in the morning, I pop in some of my favourite songs and music while sipping on a cup of coffee and enjoying my hearty breakfast. Don’t proceed to work after waking up just yet. I did that several times and I tell you, it won’t do you any good. It’s important to have the right nourishment at the beginning of your day and all throughout. This means no skipping of meals and snacks. Freelance writers make use of lots of glucose to feed their brains and energize their metacarpal bones and finger muscles to carry on for the rest of the day.

LACK OF FOCUS AND DISCIPLINE

Sadly, anyone will not succeed doing the so-called techniques to address the aforementioned “pitfalls” if he would lack the power and might to perceive and sustain focus and discipline. Obviously, working on these two are harder than overcoming writer’s block and can be very difficult to deal with. This is an unending process wherein anybody, even the most seasoned and popular writers there is, continues to work with. Keep your focus by setting your mind and heart on the goal and cultivating your passion in writing in everything you do. In short, always do what you ought to do – nothing more and nothing less.


Freelance writing is a rewarding career and job. But it will always be good to know that thriving in one is not as easy as it seems. It entails passion, hard work, and discipline. Am still in the process of fortifying my craft and so far in my career as a freelance writer, these were just some of the things I experienced and stumbled upon. Hope all these helped.

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    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      You have correctly and effectively described the pitfalls of freelance writing, but more importantly, you have outlined the steps that you take to overcome them. Very well said. The time management one was the one that tripped me up the most - I would find myself on this site for hours at a time when I should be eating or resting, and then be too tired to write anything the next day. A schedule really helped, even though I had to fight myself against it, because as you said, it seems counter-intuitive to the term "freelance."

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 5 years ago

      Excellent hub on the steps you took to overcome the pitfalls of freelance writing. Time management is definitely crucial for me. Even on this site, it's important to plan out how much time to spend writing hubs and exploring other hubs. You certainly can get carried away reading and not get much of anything else accomplished. Voted up.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 5 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Cool biscuits! This is a great Hub on freelance writing, Tina! I started doing my first freelance writing just a few months ago, and balancing time between the day job, writing and editing a novel is not easy! Not to mention designing 3 new websites! LOL! (Busy much?)

      Well done on your Time management! Getting up an hour early for me is paying off. And a great breakfast is good for you! ;)

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      Great tips for aspiring freelance writers. I think making a schedule is a very important one. Thanks for sharing.

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      I am very happy to hear that I am not alone in this Millionaire. Lol. Freelance writing is a great thing any writer could enjoy so long as they have the determination and courage pursue.

      And I really have to agree that a schedule really helps which is why I included such concern in this hub. No matter how prolific you are as a writer, I think it's really important to set aside a particular time to write.

      Thank you very much for your time! :)

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      I think time management is one of the most common issues writers have to deal with Emily. And what you just said happens to me all the time before, here in Hubpages. It's sometimes hard to overcome all these things. But like I said, we have to focus.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my friend. :)

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Wow Cassy! I can't wait for that novel of yours to come out. You can do it. I've always believed in your abilities. You're smart, determined, and talented my dear! :D

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read my friend. Keep in touch! :)

    • thesingernurse profile image
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      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Thank you very much Laura for your wonderful feed back! I have to agree about the importance of having a writing schedule. Take care!

    • Cliff Mendrez profile image

      Cliff Mendrez 5 years ago from Philippines

      Finally, another hub from you! You were able to explain in detail some of the biggest problems writers face and offered tips accordingly. I'm happy to read another excellent hub from you, Tina! Up and sharing!

    • thesingernurse profile image
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      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Thank you Cliff! I am happy myself when I was able to publish another hub last night. I've been stuck from writing for Hubpages for like... God knows since when. Hehehehe! I missed everyone here as well. Your comment made my day... Thank you for taking the time to read my friend. :)

    • Cliff Mendrez profile image

      Cliff Mendrez 5 years ago from Philippines

      I hope you will have more time to write here. And I've been waiting to tell you this: I saw you on the magazine stands! Haha! Looking great on the cover!

      You're always welcome, Tina. :D

    • thesingernurse profile image
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      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Wow! The Zen Health Magazine? Hahahaha! Naloka naman ako dun Cliff! Thank you so much for recognizing me. :D I would try to find more time to write for Hubpages. I am excited every time I publish a hub because I just so love writing... Just like you. :)

      Same here, even though article assignments are piled up in front of me, I see to it to read a thing or two about your useful how-to articles! I even share them to others. :) Keep it up Cliff! :D

    • Cliff Mendrez profile image

      Cliff Mendrez 5 years ago from Philippines

      Yeah! Haha! I was really surprised when I saw it! And I was even more thrilled when I saw the pictures of very lovely ladies! Pwede pa-reto? Haha! :p

      Thanks for being such an awesome follower! It's rare for people to appreciate how-to articles as much as you do. Thanks, again! :D

    • thesingernurse profile image
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      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Hahahaha! No problem! I just love how-tos. They're very easy to understand most especially if they're written by you. :D

      If we have the chance why not! Give me your number, I'll invite you to some of our gigs lalo pag may chikkas. Hahahaha! Thank you my dear for taking the time to peep in the ish. It means a lot. :D

    • Cliff Mendrez profile image

      Cliff Mendrez 5 years ago from Philippines

      Really? I'll shoot you a PM! :D

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I have fallen into a few of these potholes. My main problem is time management and lack of focus. I have a three year old at home so I really can't plan my day out. Having so much going on makes it difficult to write as much as I want. Great hub!

    • thesingernurse profile image
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      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      I guess these things are really inevitable. But it would be nice to be aware of them so we can always do something should there be issues like those in the future. However, in your case, attending to your dear three year old should be the ultimate priority. :D

      Thank you for taking the time to read Tammy. It's always nice hearing from you! :D

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      This is a really interesting, and, I think, totally true piece. I have experienced every one of these pitfalls. Thanks for the advice on how to combat these problems! Voted up nd useful.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Excellent tips and points. I know when you're "freelance" anything, I always hear people talking about time management as a huge issue to contend with. You've solved the problem. :) I'll take note of that in the future.

    • Brandym2012 profile image

      Brandym2012 5 years ago from PA

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful Hub. A lot of great information.

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      I am very glad you liked it and found these useful. Truly, becoming a freelance writer is "kinda" difficult especially if you'll be doing it for the first time. From time to time, I'm pretty sure each of us will encounter some of these in our writing careers. But I hope with these simple tips, we can all endure and continue writing happily!

      Thank you very much Natashalh for dropping by!

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Yeah cclitgirl, this so called TIME MANAGEMENT is really something every freelance writer or freelancer has to deal with. I'm glad to have solved the problem with my own little ways. And I'm pretty sure other writers have other insights and methods to share. I'd be very glad to hear all of them! :D

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read! Have a great day!

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      No problem Brandym2012. And thank you very much for stopping by. Take care!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      This is a wonderfully explained hub, Tina! Sometimes I do face these mentioned pitfalls. Your solutions are very helpful and wise. The photos used for this hub are very meaningful and sync well with this sensible hub. Look like you gained a vast amount of experience from your freelance writing job in a short span of time! Well-done, Tina!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & Socially Shared.

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Thank you very much ishwaryaa22, my friend. I have encountered all these when I was still starting out in this freelance writing career. These pitfalls still come around sometimes. I think that's inevitable. But as much as possible, I try to do these methods (and come up with more) to "drive around" these pitfalls. And it's my pleasure to share these small discoveries with you my Hubpages family.

      Thank you very much for stopping by sis. It's always great to hear from you. :D

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Please call me Ish. It's my pet-name used by my parents, cousins & friends. Take care, Tina.

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Thank you Ish. (Oh my what a wonderful name! Sleek and chic! :) )

    • Angel-babe10 profile image

      Angel-babe10 5 years ago from Colorado Springs

      Thank you for your insightful hub! I am trying to start out as a freelance writer, and want to write... But I don't know where to start, or how to go about it. Do you have any words of wisdome for me? tips, advice, hints?

      Thank you!

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Hi Angel-babe10! In order to establish yourself as a freelance writer, you have to build first your own writing portfolio. And for that I have good news for you - YOU CAME TO THE RIGHT WEBSITE. Hubpages is a great way to start your freelance writing career because this site offers you a lot of opportunities to grow as a writer. Honestly, this is where I started my own writing career. Just almost six months ago, I gave this website a shot because I am looking for a relevant platform to collate all my original works and get honest and genuine feed backs. And am glad to have stumbled upon this site. You may check out my story here: https://hubpages.com/literature/How-Hubpages-Gave-...

      Basically, you just have to keep on writing. Blogging can also be a great practice for aspiring writers. I also worked my way up from there. But I advise you not to stay on such platform for too long. As a writer, you have to be versatile on various writing styles and should be able to write at least on a third person point of view. Moreover, you also have to research more about other techniques and methodologies that might help you. And don't you worry because there are wide array of sources found in the internet regarding such subject matter.

      If you think you would like to know more, just drop me a personal message here. I'd be glad to share my experiences with you. :)

      Thank you for dropping by. :D

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      Good morning Tina from lake erie ontario canada 8:03am

      ....along with being a world class beauty, valued member of our music group, having an enchanting personality and one terrific singer you are also a very helpful and insightful journalist ...... thank you for the many great tips here - it's always good to learn something new everyday isn't it - sending you warm wishes and good energy .....

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Hi epigramman! Thank you very much for all your kind words. I feel so honored to be part of your dynamic Hubpage circle. Also, I always look forward to your post in our fb group because I love how each of your music discoveries touches and enriches my life. As for this hubpage article, I am more than willing to share my experiences as a freelance writer. And I'd be delighted to know if this hub would be of great help for anyone who'd be needing insights about freelance writing.

      Take care my friend! :)

    • JessicaSmetz profile image

      Just Ask Jess 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      This is a great hub! Very helpful information for those of us who want to become full time freelancers. You are a great writer. I am hoping to earn my income as a freelance writer, I just dont know where to start. Thats why I have come here.

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Thank you very much Jessica. Becoming a freelance writer could be hard at first. But once you get the right opportunity for you, everything follows. The key is to never give up on your search for jobs or writing gigs. While you do that, continue writing in order to hone your skills. And once you land on a great client for some writing jobs, don't let the chance pass. With a freelance status, you can always manage as much number of projects as you want. :D

      Good luck and take care!

    • JessicaSmetz profile image

      Just Ask Jess 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thanks! That's great advice. I can tell it takes time and patience.

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      It does Jessica. There are so many freelance writers here at Hubpages who are willing to help. You can always ask a question here and you might just be surprised on the many answers you can get from hubbers in this site. If you have some questions or insights in mind; or anything you'd like to talk about, you can always contact me personally. :)

      Take care!

    • swellgal profile image

      swellgal 5 years ago from Kentucky

      I enjoyed your hub and can relate to everything you've said. One way to get out of writer's block is to outline what you want to say about a topic on a sheet of paper, or use another idea-gathering system. Approaching the topic using another method will almost always bust through that block!

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Thank you very much for your insights swellgal! I am glad that you liked this hub. I bet most of us here could relate.

      Have a wonderful day!

    • gregoriom profile image

      Deninson Mota 4 years ago from East Elmhurst, NY

      @thesingernurse

      I loved it. Really to the point where I wanted to get. Excellent hub, I enjoyed reading it.

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 4 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Thank you gregoriom! It's very nice to hear that a fellow hubber/writer enjoys the output of something I love doing. :) I hope this one helped you as well.

      Take care. :)

    • howlermunkey profile image

      Jeff Boettner 4 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Thanks for this hub thesingernurse :). Time Management is one of my hardest pitfalls as a writer right now, setting a schedule and specific time to write is a great idea.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      I also started writing freelance just a few months. Time is a problem and since I want each article to very well to increase my payout, I often spend too much time on one article. Your hub is very thorough and helpful.

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 4 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Hi Ms. Pamela. That, too, is my problem. I think until now. I really can't sacrifice the quality of the content I make over the quantity of articles that could generate a lot of income. I've always believed that the more precision you put in your works, the more you'd be established as a freelance writer. In turn, people/clients would turn to you because of your credibility. To be honest, you're one of the first hubbers I knew here in Hubpages. And to think that you are also a nurse... I just want to be as good as you are Ma'am.

      Thank you for dropping by. Take care!

    • jojo29 profile image

      Jane Boucheirre 4 years ago from CA

      Freelance writing is daunting task. However, you can reap its benefits if you work hard for it. Thanks for commenting on my hub.

    • thesingernurse profile image
      Author

      thesingernurse 4 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      I enjoyed visiting your hub. :) Thank you for stopping by as well, jojo29.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Tina, time management for me is the single most pitfall that I need to work on. this is a very useful hub and the ways you deal with these issues are very interesting. We all go through these phases as a writer. It was useful reading about them.

      Voted up/useful.

    • creativegenius profile image

      Brian Scott 4 years ago from United States

      One pitfall that I occasionally experience is that I work too much; sometimes I will work 11-hour days in front of my computer for seven days. I love the work I do, but I pay for it in the end. I will experience one or two days of "numbness" or "boredom" as my brain and body re-energize. I suppose this would fall under Time Mismanagement.

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