I am an Internet Marketing expert by profession and a part-time freelance writer (though I limit myself to writing sales copy or blog posts for reputable blogs only).
Even though I write just for the fun of it, when I compare the income and break it into hourly rates I find myself earning a little bit more as compared to what I’d get from an average SEO campaign for a small business (note that I am talking about hourly rates and not the overall earnings).
Now, writing is far from being a walk in the park, but it is a little simpler and less of a fuss than an SEO campaign that includes many different tasks like Keyword Research, Competitor’s Analysis, Link Building, Planning, and monitoring the search engine rankings for hundreds of keywords such as “123 company name discount” or “4companyname coupon.”
Still, if you ask me, I’m a little wary of choosing writing as my primary job. Here’s why …
Reason #1: Difficult to Organize My Time
When I say, writing is less of a fuss that was meant to be a plus point. However, this plus point can actually turn into a minus if you are doing it full time.
Take, for example, my primary job, i.e. SEO. I plan and supervise the SEO work from my office where I’ve got a small team working for me. And even though I sit for long hours every once in a while, I can’t keep working all the time even if I want to, which is not the case with writing since I don’t need anything but a notepad to write a rough draft of sales copy or an article. Give me a pen and a paper and I will come up with a write-up that’s good to go after some editing and proofreading (I hope it doesn’t sound like I am trying to boast).
Coming to the downside, being a workaholic (and also, who doesn’t like to make some extra bucks), I know I’d be writing all the time, day in and day out, besides this convenience of being able to write at any time and from anywhere can actually make you get into a procrastination mode. The easiness often results in two different types of pitfalls, either the freelance writer gets too relaxed and keeps postponing work until the cut-off date arrives, or they accept more projects than they can handle and have to deal with the overload. That’s precisely the reason why, amongst many different types of freelancers, I find the freelance writers to be the most disorganized work-from-home guys (I am talking about the freelancers I personally know; the general reality might be different).
Reason #2: Too Stressful
Writing is essentially a mental labor, and there’s no physical activity involved. However, full-time writers suffer both from physical stress as well as the mental tiredness. What appears a very simple task of going through some articles on the web, taking notes, and then using that information to come up with an article can give you worse kinds of strain. It would have been understandable if it was limited to mental exhaustion; however, excessive writing affects you from head to toe. True that there are guidelines that you can follow to avoid such problems, but how many writers can think of taking a ten minute break when writing an article, or do those stretching exercises while trying to think of a catchy title?
After some time you get eye strain that extends to your head, your shoulders and neck follows suit, and then the entire back–thanks to your weird postures and even weirder working hours. You find yourself thinking of new titles at odd times, and lamenting to yourself on your low productivity at the end of each day. And this stress can grow manifold when the dreaded writer’s block occurs.
Reason #3: Competing with the “Rewriters”
A big majority of freelance writers are actually rewriters. I often joke about “passing the Copyscape test” as the litmus test of originality. Some writers might find it a little harsh, but completely rewriting an article from top to bottom is not inspiration, but plagiarism. It’s not that I never get inspiration from the web when writing, but man, do I hate the idea of rephrasing someone else’s work and calling it my own. However, the majority of freelance writers (especially those offering their services for peanuts) consider it their birthright to go out and rewrite existing material.
So the primary reason I don’t jump into this field is because I don’t want to compete with the rewriters, especially when the majority of clients are not able to understand the difference.
This post wasn’t meant to be a complaint. The truth is that I wouldn’t opt for freelance writing as a career even if these issues were non-existent, mainly because I feel more comfortable with internet marketing.
But if you are a writer (and you most likely are a freelance writer if you are reading this post on Freelance Folder), I’d like to know if my reservations are real. And if they are, exactly how do you cope with them?
Image by Alexandre Dulaunoy