It’s often the subject of some debate how realistic it is to earn a living around a full-time freelance writing career.
Inspired newcomers to freelance writing definitely value the prospect of working whenever they want, wherever they want, and at their own pace. However, plenty of people believe that freelancing doesn’t really provide a decent return on career investments.
Let’s clear up this confusion surrounding freelance writing and have a look at how writing can be turned into a sustainable source of income.
One piece of good news is that In terms of equipment, writing is probably the cheapest freelancing vocation you could pursue.
Unlike freelance graphic designers, you don’t have to purchase expensive video adapters, tablets and software. All you need is a laptop powerful enough to serve as a text processor and to surf the web and research with reasonable speed.
The Mac is a popular choice for freelancers due to its user-friendliness, good customer support and long battery life, with the basic 12-inch MacBook currently costing $1299 in the US or £1249 in the UK.
A Windows-based computer is typically a cheaper option. As for software, you can find many free open-source solutions like Open Office which can serve as an alternative to Microsoft Office and provide you with all the necessary features. If you don’t like to experiment, an Office 365 subscription is available for free if you purchase more than 1TB of cloud disk space on OneDrive and this then costs just £59.99 per year. Who doesn’t use cloud storage today? As a freelancer, it’s definitely wise to backup files online.
Find information on computer fundamentals for freelancers here.
One thing you may wish to consider with freelance writing is the cost of qualification. You can start with education and then gain practical experience throughout your career. Freelance and feature writing courses at the London School of Journalism cost £360 and take 9-15 months of your time if you study online. Of course, you can choose a more established institution and pay more, but the 12 classes provided by them give you a decent start.
One can argue that even these preparations are not really necessary and that anyone can write if they have at least some creativity and vigour. That said, freelance writing is a demanding career placing an emphasis on self-discipline, creative decision-making and personal responsibility. Regardless of how you train, the freelance process requires time, practice and patience to master.
Find information on free and inexpensive training resources for freelancers here.
Benefits of Freelance Writing
The current average salary of a freelance writer in the UK is £32,657 per year, which is a reasonable return for the low level of investment. You could feasibly double those earnings with enough professional experience and tenacity – and a little bit of luck.
Careers such as software development or industrial engineering may ultimately provide a higher return on investment, but freelance writing boasts intangible advantages unavailable to other career choices. Working beyond the confines of a company office is particularly beneficial, as you are rewarded with a higher degree of control over your daily life. Being able to choose clients and establish strong ongoing business relationships is another positive side of freelancing.
The success of a writing career is heavily dependent on your reputation. Consider developing the following skills to make the most of your efforts:
- Time management
- Stress resilience.
- Client communication.
In summary, if you plan ahead, allocate yourself an initial budget, and be realistic about how you’ll develop over time, then freelance writing may not only be a creative outlet, but a valid professional choice.
Many professional freelancers agree that their career investments give them a satisfying level of pay, as well as flexibility in their lives. A career as a freelance writer can be a stimulating and interesting working life that allows you to express your creativity and curiosity.