ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

The Not-So-Glamorous Life of a Freelance Writer

Updated on April 15, 2011

Not a big surprise, my dream was to be a writer. A fiction novelist to be exact. In my mid-twenties I completed my first novel and carried out the tedious details of trying to get an agent or a publisher. For a first try with no previous published work I came pretty damn close. I got all the way to having the entire work requested by a well-known publisher (won't say which one but there was an animal involved in the name) only to receive a kind-worded but heart-breaking rejection letter. Like any quick tempered, irrational girl in her twenties I vowed that was the end of my attempt at writing ever again. It didn't even matter that short stories I entered in the Writer's Digest Annual contest prior to this let down ended up coming in 2nd and 3rd place later that year among over 17,000 entries world-wide.

Nothing like a girl in her 20's and a dramatic exit...

Of course once a writer always a writer (except apparently the ever elusive Harper Lee author of To Kill a Mockingbird). In my 30's it became apparent I was stuck with this curse but was going to have to approach it from another angle. While still dabbling in short fiction and eventually publishing (ok, self-publishing) a collection of short fiction I knew I wanted to write for a living. I am not made up mentally to be able to handle a normal 9-to-5 and the same goes for college. This meant reconsidering the world of freelance writing in hopes of doing what I love.

Previously I had written this option off as something I was unwilling to do as it was “too commercial”. Something about being in your 30's and having to seriously consider returning to retail management made writing about topics or taking writing projects I never would have seem completely acceptable. So here I am, 37 and struggling to launch a career as a freelancer. I have completed a copywriting course through AWAI (which I highly recommend but wish included job placement) am now in the bidding war on several different freelance sites while in the meantime writing articles for a dollar every 500 words. This is where someone would have said “don't quit your day job” but I didn't have one to quit. In my “freetime” (the snipplets of time I am not writing about topics I know nothing about and spending more time researching than writing for sweatshop wages) I write articles of interest to me for Constant Content in hopes of selling pieces at slightly higher amounts.

You may be wondering why I am doing this (as am I sometimes) but it is all in hopes of building up a resume of my work and establishing credibility so that I can take on better paying projects. My friend who convinced me to try this writes sales letters that earn him around $1500 a project, he just failed to mention the hard road that leads to that point.

My purpose in writing this is to give a realistic view of what becoming a freelance writer means. Of course not everyone has to struggle this much in the beginning, but the point is if you love writing you may have to go through this. As soon as I completed my first $1 article that took 4 hours to research and write I wanted to cry. But that was the moment I had to decide if I should continue to pursue this madness or start sending out resumes at the local mall. So far, I am sticking with it.

So here is my advice to anyone considering taking this path...

Treat this like starting your own business. If you can maintain a full or part time job until things fall into place, do so. If not think about other start-ups. While they may have more cash flow coming in, they have probably had to sink a sizable amount of money into the launch for either renting a space and/or inventory. In the world of freelance the investment is your time. But you had better be willing to give to the cause. That means writing daily, even if you aren't getting paid to keep your skills sharp and stay in a routine of writing. But remember even my friend who gets those $1500 projects often invests 12 hour days to meet deadlines. Of course the pay off is being able to not take gigs back-to-back to recover from the previous job and prepare for the next. And honestly, there are people who write sales letters that take much less time and earn a great deal more money, but it is all about being able to get there.

Hopefully this has given some insight to anyone interested in or starting off as a freelance writer. That's all the time I have – there are 5 articles about soccer at $1 a piece waiting for me to write.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • bari.ann profile image

      bari.ann 7 years ago

      by the way, if you get a chance check out constant content for a way to sell articles on any topic.

    • David Warren profile image

      David Warren 7 years ago from Nevada

      Thank You!

    • bari.ann profile image

      bari.ann 7 years ago

      thanks for the feedback. sorry about your health issues, but use the time to get or stay creative. make this time a "gift"

    • David Warren profile image

      David Warren 7 years ago from Nevada

      Good article, appreciated the honesty and openness. I'm new to this digital realm, hoping to keep my mind open or at least stop it from turning to sludge while stuck at home recovering from, hopefully recovering that is,from a series of cervical surgeries.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)