Friday, March 4, 2011

Why I Like Freelance Writing...

When I’m asked what I do for a living, I reply: “I’m a college instructor and a freelance writer.” And when people next ask me what it is that I write, I reply: “Whatever the client is willing to pay me for. Really.” I love freelance writing gigs, and here are my top five reasons why:

#1: Location, Location, Location… 
Because the work is virtual, I can do it pretty much anywhere. If I feel like working at home, then home it is. If I want to sit in a coffee bar sipping lattes while writing, I can do that, too. I’m not tied to an office, so I can travel wherever I want, and, as long as I have my laptop, I can write. Some of my best writing, in fact, has been done while sitting peacefully outside in botanical gardens.

#2: What Day Is It? 
Freelance writing gigs are great because I can work when I want to. The client gives me a deadline for when the piece is due, but then it’s up to me to decide exactly when I want to write it. So if I can’t sleep some night, I can get up and write. And if I want to sleep late some morning, it’s no problem… I can always write when I get up. If I wake up and it’s unexpectedly sunny outside, I can head to the woods with my dog and write the article tomorrow (when rain is forecast.)

#3: The Spice of Life…
I rarely get bored as a freelance writer, since my subject matter usually changes with each assignment. I’ve written about saving pomegranate seeds, formatting USB drives, homeopathic remedies, pianos, Flash animation techniques, canine antibiotics, vasectomies, how to drain an above ground pool and the ten things you should ask a realtor you’re thinking of hiring.  With all the trivia I know, I'm a blast at cocktail parties. The only time I ever started going bonkers as a freelancer was when I was hired to write fifteen slightly different articles about the nuances of quitclaim deeds (for, the website of the San Francisco Chronicle.)

#4: No Messy Guesswork Or Calculations…
Three graduate students in physics were given a lab assignment to determine how long it would take to cook a three-pound roast beef at 350 degrees so that it was medium rare at its center.
  • The first student bought a three pound roast beef, put it in her oven and timed it as she periodically tested it with a meat thermometer. Then as she wrote up her lab notes she was able to munch on roast beef sandwiches.
  • The second student spent hours writing page after page of mathematical calculations based on heating curves, beef density and altitude formulas. Eventually, he came up with his answer.
  • The third student called her mother and asked how long it would take.
I’m kind of like the mother in this scenario: I’ve written so many articles that these days you simply have to say that you want an article that’s funny, 500 words in length and about Argyle socks and I’ll know down to the minute how long it will take me to research and write it.

#5: Wham, Bam, Thank You…
Like the best of outpatient surgeries these days, writing an article is a quick, in-out procedure without any major surprises. Unlike a college course that lasts three months (and you’ve got the student from Hades who never bathes sitting in the front row every class), writing freelance articles have a relatively fast turnaround time and usually a quick paycheck gratification, too. If you end up taking an unpleasant gig with a client who keeps changing her mind, draft after draft, don’t stress about it: it will be over real soon…. And then you never have to work with that client again.

No comments:

Post a Comment