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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ten Tips on how to Survive as a Freelance Writer

There are really millions of people who want to be a writer. I am just one of them and I am happy to say that my full time work is writing. It is actually not freelance writing but Blogging. Many freelance writers would perhaps frown at people like me and they would say that Bloggers are not real writers. Anyway, this entry is not about me or Bloggers but here, I am going to discuss about some tips on how to survive as a freelance writer. I have been earning my livelihood as a freelance writer for quite sometimes. I have also suffered some of the worst experiences. So, I think that I am a write person to give advice on this topic.
1. Think again if you want to be a writer: yes, this is my first advice to anyone who wants to be a writer. As I have already said that millions of people want to become full time writers but only very few of them become successful. Most others either quit or suffer too much for their whole life and still do not get any success. That is why, it is better that you think again seriously whether you want to be a writer and suffer the instability and insecurity of a freelance writer. If you are not ready for the instability and security then you should not be in this field.
2. Get inspiration from the lives of other writers: Whenever I feel disappointed and frustrated, I try to think about two writers. The first one is Charles Dickens and the second one is Alex Haley. Both of them realized what poverty was. Charles Dickens in fact hardly got any chance to get school education but he taught himself and he had to literally earn money just to stay live for some of the early years of his life. That is why, I get a lot of encouragement and inspiration from the life of Charles Dickens. You do not have to get inspiration from Dickens alone. There are many other poets and writers who suffered a lot just like you.
3. Keep your dream intact: Most people are afraid to dream and even believe in their dream. I would strongly suggest that you never loss your dream. It does not matter whether you become successful or not but you must have your dream intact. For example, these days, I have to work on Blogging and earn money. I enjoy Blogging because it is a kind of writing and many people are reading my entries. However, I really wish that I could write some stories, novels and I could dedicate all my time for writing and reading about history. However, writing about history will not bring money for me and that is why I am becoming a more serious Blogger. Still, I have my dream within me. As soon as I can get good success in Blogging and can earn decent amount of money, I will try to allocate at least 20 per cent or 25 per cent of my daily time for writing and reading about history.
4. Don’t leave your day job right away: This is one of the most important tips I want to talk about. Many people get too much excited and carried away and they just jump into freelance writing. Many people even give up their day time job that brings regular money and pay all their bills. You should not do it until you can earn some regular money by selling your writing. I am grateful to god that the time of Blogging came and I could get some regular income through it.
5. Cut back on your hobbies and luxuries: When you want to become a full time freelance writer then forget about your all luxuries. May be you are fond of a very expensive restaurant and you want to go there once a week. When you become a freelance writer then just forget it. Or else you cannot control your expenses and you will suffer sooner rather than later. As for hobbies, try to think of the hobbies that does not need money at all. For example, I try to read all the news in internet and do not buy any newspaper. I also try to read as much free e-books available on internet as possible instead of buying books. I am among the persons who is crazy for newspapers and magazines.
6. Beggars should not be choosers: This is another important lesson. In your early years of freelance writing career, do not try to be an idealist or perfectionist. Sometimes you will get projects that you do not like at all. For example, I used to get a lot of projects for translation works related to computer field. My background is from Humanities and at first, it was not only distasteful for me but very difficult too. However, I realized that translating in the computer field was bringing much more money than any other kind of writing. This skill helped me a lot when I became a Blogger. So, be prepared to write the things you don’t like at all. Or in other words, sometimes, be prepared to sell your soul sometimes.
7. Work long hours: Remember that writing is not a 9 to 5 job. When you get a project and you need to do a research and work on it then be prepare to work for long hours. When I started professional Blogging nearly four and half years ago, for many months, I used to work 12 to 14 hours a day. I did not take any off because I needed to know about professional Blogging. Because of this, I survived quite well in Blogging and had decent amount on income.
8. Take loan and charity: This happened to me really. Nearly eight years ago, I left my university teaching job and decided to become a full time freelance writer. At first, it was impossible for me to earn any money and I suffered a lot from money stress. It became a real nightmare every month to pay the house rent. I had to take loan or even sometimes begged from my friends anyone I knew. Just be prepare to leave aside your dignity on some occasions and if needed take charity.
9. Success will come: I know that often writers get the feeling that they will struggle forever. I am not saying that if you work hard you will become rich or a millionaire. However, I can assure you that if you are ready to work hard regularly then at least you will be able to have a decent middle class life from the income of your writing.
10. Think again really: At first, I said you that think about the matter whether you really want to be a writer and if you are ready to suffer all the hardship, frustration and insecurities of the life of a freelance writer. At the end, I am again telling you the same thing because it is not a child play. Life is not rosy at all when you decide to become a freelance writer. You are bound to suffer for several years unless a miracle happens. 
In the end, just kind of off topic and self promotion. Today, we could move our laptop blog to a domain: http://www.laptopet.com/
If you can then pay a visit. 

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