Misguided Beliefs of the Unsuccessful Freelance Writer

What I’m listening to: Oro Se do Bheatha Bhaile by Sinead O’Connor

waste-basket-3-1236692-1279x1705New week, new marathon.

I had two projects for this week as Friday ended. Now I have four. And they all (but one) take precedent. So I’m back to allocating my time among them so that all will get the same level of attention they deserve.

After a lovely Sunday of multiple water leaks and the near installation of an unintended swimming pool in the basement, we managed to get a plumber in (at double the rate, thankyouverymuch) to replace a pressure regulator. Because it had failed, the pressure coming through the lines was ridiculously intense. I turned on a faucet and it nearly exploded. Hence the leaks in several places.

Despite that, I had time to browse the forums and blogs. In one case — on one thread alone — there were so many misstatements that I had to answer them here. I know the frustration that newer freelance writers have — I was a new freelancer once, too. But there are way too many blanket statements coming from some of them that simply aren’t true.

So today, I give you the mistaken beliefs of the unsuccessful freelancer. And I don’t do it to embarrass anyone, but rather to educate all of us on how we are creating their own roadblocks.

Freelancers will always be underpaid. No, we won’t. We freelance writers stop being underpaid the minute we take control and state our rates. Click To Tweet We negotiate not out of desperation, but out of respect. Freelance writers who have figured out that most of the problem in an underpayment situation is the quality of client will excel once they dump the cheapskates.

Freelancers can’t make a decent living thanks to content mills/job boards/demanding clients/saturation of writers in the market. And yet here I am doing just that. As is nearly every other writer I know. There are enough $100K/year writers to prove the exact opposite to be true. No, Virginia. No one is impeding your ability to earn but you. Fish upstream. In a different pond. With different bait.

 Clients control your price. Right there is why you can’t make a decent living — you’re still working under the employee mentality. News flash: writers, you’re a small business owner just like your plumber, your lawn service, your florist. Do you dictate to them what you’ll pay? Hell no. So why are you letting your customers do that?

If I continue to freelance, I’ll have to be content with the lousy pay. That’s because you’re still treating it like a hobby. See my previous news flash. If you’re still thinking of this job as a labor of love and not as a business, you’ll probably be spinning in this same little whirlpool for years to come. Time to grow up, grow that backbone, and grow that business. In that order.

Writers, what mistaken beliefs did you have to overcome in your career?

What are some of the most damaging blanket statements you’ve heard lately?

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  • Gabriella F. October 31, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    OMG, these are just ignorant. I know many writers who make a damn good living and have for a long, long time. But then again, those who believe this have essentially removed themselves from being our competition. So yay for us. I guess. I just feel sad for those who give up based on ignorance.

    • lwidmer November 1, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      It is ignorance, Gabriella. It’s also an easy excuse not to put oneself out there and risk failure. Not smart, either.