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What You Need to Become a Freelance Writer

Updated on May 1, 2015

A Question from a Neighbor

“What do you do for a living, Bill? You always seem to be home. Are you retired or do you work from home?”

A question from a neighbor last Saturday. After I told her that I was a freelance writer/author, she asked the follow-up question I knew was coming: “Can you make any money doing that?”

After I assured her that it is, in fact, possible to make a living writing, she didn’t disappoint me by asking the final question. “So, what does one need to become a freelance writer?” I think it sounds interesting and maybe I’ll give it a go.”

So here we are!

And here we go!

A couple items you will find useful
A couple items you will find useful | Source

The Most Basic Need

As I prepare to write this first item I hesitate. Is it really necessary for a freelance writer? I hope so or heaven help us all.

In order to become a freelance writer, you need a firm grasp of proper grammar.

There, I’ve said it. Seems rather logical, doesn’t it, and yet give me five minutes and I’ll find you several online articles that appear to have been written by a five-year old.

I’m sticking to my guns. I think this is important. You don’t have to be a grammatical pro, but you should have an understanding of the basics and the ability to use them. You might be able to get away with poor grammar online and still get paid for it, but poor grammar will not fly when you are trying to get an article published by a magazine or newspaper.

Learn the language!

Starting out Basic Needs

These will no doubt seem terribly obvious but I’m going to mention them simply because there are those out there with no grasp of the obvious.

You need a computer. You need internet access.

You need time.

If your goal is to make money and, after all, that is the definition of a freelance writer, then you need to make time available to promote your business. If you are serious about making good money as a freelancer, then you need to make a great deal of time.

I work as a freelancer fifty hours a week.

A lot of time.

And that, indirectly, leads us to the other basic need: you need an alternative source of income while you start out as a freelance writer. Don’t do it the way I did it. Don’t quit your day job without a financial safety net. Make sure you can pay your bills while you pursue your writing gig on the side. There is no sense in starving if you can avoid it.

More Needs

Check with the city you live in and find out about licensing requirements. A freelance writer runs a business, and a business may or may not need to be declared as such with your local government. In other words, you may need a business license.

Even if you don’t get a business license, you are going down the path of a sole proprietorship in the eyes of the IRS, so you need to get organized in advance.

That means some sort of bookkeeping system to keep track of expenditures and earnings. It means a spreadsheet to keep track of queries made and jobs bid upon. It means setting yourself up for success rather than failure.

It also means doing some research. Find out all you can about freelance writing. Join a writer’s group. Read books. Study online. Join professional organizations. Whatever it takes to arm yourself with knowledge, do it.

My office and the rest of my staff
My office and the rest of my staff | Source

The Intangibles

"In my later years, I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior."
Ray Bradbury

Writing is a lonely profession. Obviously it’s not lonely for everyone but I think, for most writers, writing is an individual undertaking without co-workers to keep you company and boost your spirits.

So you need the ability to work by yourself effectively. You need to be a self-starter and you need to be a self-motivator. There will be no boss hovering over you giving you deadlines and demanding good results. There will be no outside quality control of your product. It’s all up to you. It’s up to you to rise early and write. It’s up to you how many hours you devote to your craft. It’s up to you how hard you work.

It’s up to you how you react to rejection…continual rejection….rejection that will bring you to your knees and make you question your very existence. It’s up to you whether you will curl into a ball and whimper to your mommy or keep pushing forward trying to land the next paying gig. It’s up to you whether you’ll wet your pants if an editor tells you your writing is pig swill.

It’s up to you whether you fold your tent like some carnival barker and go home to another nine-to-five shoot me job, or whether you’ll accept your 200th consecutive rejection as a learning tool that will eventually make you successful.

It’s up to you!

More Intangibles

You’ll need willpower. You’ll need a strong sense of self-worth. A freelance writer starting out will face weeks without a single moment of triumph. Can you handle that kind of negative feedback and soul-crushing?

You’ll need some marketing savvy. Can you sell yourself? Can you make cold-calls? Do you know how to make social media work for you? Do you know how to make contacts in the industry and make those contacts work for you? Do you know how to start a marketing campaign without a marketing budget?

Wishing you beautiful sunsets on your path as a writer
Wishing you beautiful sunsets on your path as a writer | Source

I’m Not Here to Discourage

My neighbor decided she would be better off getting a second part-time job after her discussion with me. I agreed with her. Freelance writing is not for everyone despite its allure.

I have no desire to discourage you. I simply want your eyes wide-open before you start out. There are literally millions of freelance writers in the world today and the numbers are increasing daily. They are all after the same pie you are after. How are you going to beat them out and claim that pie for yourself?

I’ve seen far too many freelance writer wannabees fall by the wayside after giving it a go for six months. The going got tough and they tucked their tales between their legs and got a job at WalMart.

I want you to succeed, but in order for that to happen, you need to be aware that this is not an easy gig.

Now that you are armed with a little reality, you can make an intelligent decision.

How about it? Do you have what it takes?

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is ideal, Deb, and it is worth the stress and the headaches. Carry on my self-employed friend, and thank you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Any sort of job where one is self-employed is the toughest job in the world. However, one has al the control, nobody to bother you, and you get all the rewards. Sounds ideal to me...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No it isn't, Blackspaniel. Unless one hits it big with a book offer, there will never be benefits. Sad but true.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 2 years ago

      Great advice. I have been writing for years, sometimes on a contract, but there is no expectation of the next contract. I write in mathematics, which is my specialty. I have made some money at writing, but not only would it be folly for me to be exclusively a writer, but the benefit package is simply not there.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, justthemessenger. That eating thing is a bugaboo for sure. :) Good luck to you.

    • justthemessenger profile image

      James C Moore 2 years ago from The Great Midwest

      Good points with your hub. I look at freelance writing as my business. I expect it to pay off eventually. However, we writers still must eat while writing the great American novel and trying to write for a living.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I hope you had a fantastic vacation. Tell me again, please, what the word "vacation" means? LOL

      Thank you dear friend.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      What a great hub to read on my return from vacation. A reality check for sure. You dedication and experience, as always, shines through. Freelance writing is not easy but can be done with dedication and a thick skin.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are welcome, Kalinin!

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana ZK 2 years ago from California

      I hope so. Thanks Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kalinin, I know for a fact your problem is not unique. Working for oneself is not as easy as it sounds, or everyone would be doing it. You're young and I'm sure if the desire is there, the motivation will eventually follow. :)

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana ZK 2 years ago from California

      I find that my biggest problem is self motivation. In my mind I feel like I'm motivated, even desperate for success as a writer. But when it comes down to it, I find it hard to actually sit down and work consistently for hours, without any oversight. Sounds terrible but maybe...I need a boss?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Cyndi. I appreciate your thoughts. There is a lot of work out there if you put yourself in a position to find it, as you mentioned.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lawrence, I think feeding the family should be a priority, and I'm sure they feel the same. lol Thanks my friend and carry on!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 2 years ago from Georgia

      Great article and advice especially about the long hours. If you have more than one project going at once, expect to put in the time! The great part, however, is that you set the hours. Woohoo!

      I also find that doing a lot of networking helps to bring in the jobs. There are lots of people looking for content and don't know how to find someone to provide it. That's where the freelancer raises his or her hand.

      Stay creative and keep your wisdom coming. Cyndi

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I've been working on beco.ing one for years. I'll never give up on the dream\calling but sometimes feeding family takes precedence.

      For me that means work outside home but with a little lateral thinking and good technology it can be done.

      Thank you for encouraging me to be realistic and to push on

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Harishprasad, thank you so much for the kind words and your thoughts. I love that you consider writing to be a serious and strenuous profession...true words, my friend.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 2 years ago from India

      Like any other artisan who sells his/her wares and wants to earn a decent amount, a writer, especially a freelancer, should make all efforts to improve the quality of his/her products. Though I write as a hobby, I am aware of writing being a serious and strenuous profession. Bill, in your very bold style, you have highlighted the qualifications of a freelance writer. Since I dabble in a little bit of writing, I was tempted to go through this hub. Reading your hubs has been always a pleasant experience for me.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Excellent advice, Billy. Everyone thinks they can be a writer. You were right on about the grammar. How many times have I wanted to refer people to refer people to my The Naughty Grammarian hubs? I don't, but I say a little prayer that they will find them and heed them. You also need a sense of style and the ability to organize your thoughts so there is a logical flow to your writing. Maybe you could write another hub about that. Maybe a writing class or two to start to understand style. Great job. Voting up and H+.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...get to it, Irish. I'm impatient.

      Not really, but it sounds good, right?

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Abso-typo-tutely Yoda : )

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Monday, Irish, and thanks for being here. I love the Yoda salutation. I laugh every time.

      Bank holiday? I don't even know what that means, but by all means, enjoy it. That should give you time to do a little writing. :)

      love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Frank! If you are writing for money you are basically a freelancer.

      Thanks, buddy! Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kristen. Start flapping those wings. It's time to soar!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Faith. It was a glorious Sunday and I hope you had the same. Now Happy Monday to you, and blessings always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Word. It's interesting, but the word "journalism" seems to have undergone a transition over the years. I'm not sure what it means anymore.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 2 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Thanks Bill my dear wise yoda!

      The basics like grammar are so vital and the foundation for writers everywhere. Writing takes each of us down many different paths. As always you give us the realities but the passion you have shines through and only highlights the fact you were born to write!

      Thank you for your support my friend and have a fantastic week. It is a bank holiday here, sun is shining in Dublin today!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      a very good share my friend.. so a Freelance writer/worker is basically a person who is self-employed and is not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term? hmmm

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bill, another great hub article from you on writing as a freelancer. I love your tips and your inspiration on how we can all fly and spread our wings as writers. Voted up for useful!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Wonderful article, Bill, and realistic one too about writing as a career.

      I know without a doubt your frankness is appreciated by those seeking to get into writing for a living. You have a lot to share due to your personal experience.

      I do hope you are enjoying a peaceful Sunday.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 2 years ago from Chicago

      Hey Bill, I guess journalism pertains mostly to newsworthy broadcasting and writing but you're one of the most prolific writers here on HP. What makes you an expert writer is, you know how to put life experiences into masterpieces of writing. I really appreciate cha.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kevin, thanks for the follow and the comment, and best wishes to you. The Writer's Market is a great resource for any freelancer. If I had to pick one book to own that would be it.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      I was very interested in that Billy since I am looking into becoming a freelance writer. So it was very useful also. I am already on HP almost the same amount of hours which you write. I have my own office with a desktop computer when I am on HP.

      I know that I have to improve my grammar so those 3 books at the beginning are impressive. I have various grammar books but I see that one says "The Only One You'll Ever Need...". I see the other two are about the writers market - I can understand needing them.

      I voted it up, up and away, shared and pinned it.

      Kevin

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I am always torn between being a good friend and telling you I am happy for you, and being a bad friend and being ripe with jealousy. You bring out both sides of me. LOL

      Rest up and get busy, Ann. I want a new article from you soon.

      Have a superb Sunday, and thank you.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur and yes it does. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Besarien, you have me blushing. Thank you so much for the very kind words. They mean a great deal to me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, thanks for two great examples. There are many others like those, all valid, all leaning towards individual tastes and needs. Thank you and blessings always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, great question. Let's not waste our time on a capsule...I'll just write about it in the Mailbag, not this Monday but next. Thanks for a great question.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. HubPages is a tough place to make money for sure. Writing for the pure enjoyment of writing will always give you pleasure.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Bill, and again, congratulations on your well-deserved HOTD.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Word, thank you. You had me laughing at the beginning...what does make me an expert? LOL I've asked myself the same question.

      Good question on the degree. I don't think it's necessary, honestly, just to be a freelance writer. I know quite a few who make a good living with no degree. I do think good talent in writing is necessary, though.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I'm so glad you started this off with the need for knowledge of basic grammar. Why do people write if they don't know about words?

      This is an invaluable guide for any writer, be s/he freelance or not. How many times must it be said?!

      After a hectic week in Alsace (so tiring being on holiday!!), we're on the peaceful campsite in Brittany in our lovely old caravan. What's the best bit? The people who run this place are delightful. They welcomed us like long lost friends, invited us for a drink straight away and thereby celebrated my birthday with me with a bottle of bubbly. That 'homecoming' was worth the long, long, wet journey to get here. Yes, the weather's finally broken so no need for you to be jealous any more!

      Wifi all week so hoping to catch up a bit more.

      Hope your week is a good one, bill.

      Ann

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Great advice, it takes a lot of courage and perseverance to be a writer. Voted up.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      That you manage to thrive in such a hard profession speaks volumes about your talent, dedication, and tenacity, Billy. I am rooting for you all the way! That you also find the time to help others and share advice based on your experiences speaks to what a superb human being you are. I think it is just as laudable to be a great human being as it is to be a great writer. You have my vote for both. Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailey, I tossed this question into the mailbag, but the quick answer is no. It certainly wouldn't hurt to have a background in business, but it's not necessary. Common sense and a good work ethic are much more important. I can help you get started in this crazy business if you email me or drop me a note on Facebook. I would be glad to help.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Selfless and necessary article with great pointers. By and large mostly real, except that I know some great storytellers who were not good at grammar. They used friends and professionals to help. So some grammar, yes, but it should not be a hindrance (and yes, I know that you did not imply this)

      When the Frenchman wrote Papillon, it was said that it was so good, that they decided to do very little editing and put it out like that, and it became a best-seller quite quickly. Jeffrey Archer gets help but he is a great story-teller, and quite successful.

      The freelance writer can add this idea to his work by simply using friends or pros, as long as he can tell a story well. But yes, bad presentations make me sick as it perhaps do to you, my friend.

      Great Hub! You stick to the successful format for words, but I feel sure that you have more tricks up your sleeve. Higher blessings this May weekend. Peace.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I have been striving to be a freelance writer (preferably of fiction) off and on for 55 years, since I started college, with no luck yet. You give me hope to keep trying and motivation to try harder. Your work discipline is an inspiration.

      Please consider adding a freelance writer job description capsule to this hub. Does freelance writing include writing feature film scripts or novels 'on spec' in hopes of getting an agent and making a sale to a producer or publisher? Writing short stories in hopes of selling them to magazines? Writing for hire per assignment? Writing and giving lectures? Writing nonfiction books or articles in hopes of publication and sales? Internet self-published content writing for a share of ad revenue? Other? Regarding assignments, what are some examples of possibilities? If you have already written articles on these questions, please cite them.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      It's one more great advice and tutorial from you, Bill. You always give the reality picture, however harsh it might be. I took some writing jobs for some months. But left them as I am not satisfied with their payments. I think it is better to write for free as a hobby. I subscribed to the adsense six months back. If I get anything it is well and good, but not after money. I see 5 dollars in my account till now and it gives a little bit satisfaction.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great advice Bill. Sugar coating it doesn't help anyone. And if there is anyone out there qualified to tell it like it is, that would be you. You've certainly paid your dues. Have a grat weekend.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 2 years ago from Chicago

      Well, what makes you such an expert on writing, Bill? No, just kidding buddy, you are quite an expert. This is very helpful to any beginner and existing writers. I used to want to be a freelance writer years ago but I ended up putting so much time into crafting songs and so forth. Writing period is an interesting art whether it is fictional or non-fictional. You brought it right on down to Soulsville. One more thing though, shouldn't a writer embark on getting a degree in journalism? Anyway, thanks for sharing such great information. Have a super weekend.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      Bill,

      Thank you for always helping other writers understand what it takes to be a freelancer. You gave some advice I had not yet heard of. I was going to ask, do you think one needs a background in business to do this?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, I love your optimism and I appreciate your views. Let's hope you are right, at least from a freelance point of view. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I really appreciate you always being here, Alicia. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, maybe I should learn to be a bit more diplomatic. LOL Nah, why bother?

      Thanks and Happy Weekend to you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Larry. Greatly appreciated. Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. Have a great weekend and I'll be by your site shortly.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing another very useful hub for writers, Bill.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Too many wannabe writers, you said, when the going gets tough, 'tuck their tales' between their legs. I'm still laughing, Billy, at that perfect analogy.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very useful, as usual.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Back to the Basics is always a useful exercise. Thanks for sharing, again! ;-)

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      A very realistic approach to the inner and outer struggles of the freelance writer. It was definitely more lucrative to start out in the earlier days of the Internet when competition was far smaller. Today there are so many bloggers and freelancers that it's hard to keep track. Yet you know what, the freelance market won't be flailing anytime soon. In fact, as technology continues to soar, people working at those Walmarts might find themselves out of a job as everything becomes automated and mechanical. The creative and artistic talents of freelancers will become more lucrative than ever as hundreds of thousands of manufacturing and retail positions fall by the wayside.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I wish you the best of luck, Sally. I don't doubt your ability either, so there's only one thing left for you to do.... :)

      Happy Weekend, my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are wise, Thelma. I did and it was a struggle for a few months.

      Have a wonderful weekend and thank you!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Billy,

      It is good to be taken back to basics and this is no exception. I don't doubt my own abilities, I love writing, I love being on my own and I don't lack any motivation. I just need to put myself into gear and find a gig which pays better than this one so thanks for reminding me of what it takes.

      Have a great weekend Billy.

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora. I think I was born to teach and love. I try to remember that daily. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, Denise, good for you. Excellent work, my friend. You are well on your way, and I'm so glad you find these articles helpful. Thank you!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      Fifty hours a week? I wonder how many hours I am writing online. Thanks for writing this useful and informative hub about the reality life of a writer. I would never quit a job for writing unless I have enough money to pay the bills. Enjoy your weekend Bill.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Only fifty hours a week? It will take more from me. It really is not for everyone. I admire you, Bill; you spend so much of your time teaching and helping. All the best going forward.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for the reality check, Bill. It is that time of year when I have time on my hands. With your help, I have learned how to write much more quickly and effectively. It used to take me a month to write a hub article, now, I can get it done in about a week. I am querying publishers for my children's books, teaching adult education classes on emotional health at the local college, and looking for magazines I can pitch to. I have registered my business with the state, and am ready to apply for a sales tax permit to sell my self-published materials. Each time you write one of these articles, it helps me know what to do next. Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That's exactly the impression I get from a lot of people about making money as a writer. What could be so hard about that? My son had that impression until he found out the hard way. Live and learn, Flourish.

      Thank you for stopping by and Happy Weekend to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Molly, you had me laughing over the sewer maintenance reference. I would be hard-pressed to make that sound glorious. LOL Thanks for your thoughts....yes, one summer is rushing it a bit, but I do think you could make a good supplemental income in one summer of diligent work.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, thanks for sharing that. It's really interesting to note the reactions of people when you tell them that you write for a living. It's almost comical in fact. I hesitate at times because I get tired of trying to explain it. It sounds like I'm trying to justify something I love doing. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      That is a very realistic look. People think that just because they've been writing sentences since elementary school that they can write articles, stories and other works that will pay their mortgage. It's so much more than that.

    • Molly Layton profile image

      Molly Layton 2 years ago from Alberta

      This is very interesting and helpful. I knew a freelance writer has to work extremely hard to get their food in the door, but you've presented the idea in a new light. Your article makes things look possible. It doesn't make it look like a quick easy buck, but it makes it look possible. I'm guessing one summer is not enough time to build up a rapport in the industry.

      Every industry is idealized to some extent. (Possible exception: sewer maintenance.) It's good to be informed and take the pros and cons into account. It's great you're doing so well in freelance writing. I hope your success continues.

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I can relate to the conversation with your neighbour Bill. On our ANZAC Day I was visited a market held during the parade and I was chatting to a stall holder who manufactures natural soaps etc. well, it happens he now lives in my hometown so we had some common things to talk about. He asked what I do for a living. I said I am a writer. He smiled politely, more understanding than some because he gave up a regular job with the dream of setting up his own business. He asked what I write...then, do you make enough money to live on? I said some writers do, but that I haven't been trying to make a living out of it for long..and what I make is too sporadic to rely on. Hopefully one day, but as you say it is much harder work than most people realise.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, thanks for sharing that. I have had three regular clients for three years now...a steady stream of income weekly that I can count on. To me it's the only way a freelance writer can find any security.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It can for sure, Greg, and I love it too. I just want to make sure it's easier for those who read this. I made enough mistakes for five people. LOL Thanks for your input, buddy.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Barbara. I always worry that I'll sound like some elitist when I say that but darn it, we need more good grammar in this world.

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I have Writer For Hire, but haven't finished it. I'd better pick it back up. Right now I need all the help I can get. I've gotten more aggressive in applying for writing gigs through the job boards, but I REALLY need to go beyond that and do some serious reaching out to find more clients of my own. Too many freelance gigs are one-shot deals or they come intermittently. Same with clients, depending on whether or not they maintain a blog. I have one good client who uses me for his print ad copy and newsletters and whatever comes up in between, but the work is based on his copy needs, not my need for a steady stream of income. Having more clients will help fill in the gaps.

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      Greg Boudonck 2 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

      The world of freelancing can be like an out of control roller coaster at times I have found, but I love it, because I am somewhat goofy.

      I have been writing on similar subjects at my blog/website to Bill.

      I recommend that a person shouldn't just quit their day job to become a freelancer, but if you have what it takes, the income can be nice.

      Great hub my friend.

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      BarbaraCasey 2 years ago

      I'm with you on the grammar issue. Like any other profession, the basics are the foundation for building the castle of our dreams.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well damn, Pop, I think it's time for new neighbors for you. LOL The reactions from people are pretty funny, aren't they? Who do they think writes all the articles they read? Do they think those are computer-generated by some AI?

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, you could have written this one in your sleep. You've lived it. :) Happy Weekend my friend and thank you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Just a walk in the park, Graham. LOL Thanks my friend and Happy Weekend to you.

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      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      You are very tolerant and laid back. When I say I write, I get the same reaction as you did from your neighbor. If I mention that I also write a hub, they say why, who cares what you think!!!!

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      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Most definitely agree with all you say it takes to be a writer and just couldn't agree more. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend, Bill ;)

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      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. It seems quite simple to me :-) Keep smilin'

      Graham.