The Trials and Tribulations of a Freelance Writer



You love to write. It is your passion. You just know that people will love what you have to say and the way you say it. You intend to join the ranks of struggling freelance writers and set about making a name for yourself. The internet is an ideal place. There are so many writers out there, and they are actually getting paid. You just know that you can write as well as many of them and even better than most. You find a site and are on your way to becoming a world-famous writer.

Then reality comes to call.

One thing many new writers neglect to take into consideration is that writing just does not always pay that well. Okay, if you are Stephen King, you can pull down some big bucks. Even Stephen King, however, did not start out making a gazillion dollars per book. The internet, while a great place on which to write, can be especially brutal. The owners of the various sites are trying to make money, too. The way they do that is through advertising dollars; therefore, they are interested in content that will bring in those advertising dollars. Truthfully, they could probably care less that you have degrees upon top of degrees from accredited universities and that you could very well have the next Great American Novel locked up in your head. They want to know that you can attract viewers. (No one really cares if they actually read your stuff or not.) For this reason, most sites will pay you based upon the number of views you can draw to your articles. It does seem at times that they pay you less for views in order to encourage you to promote your articles more so you can attract more views. Of course, you do it. You need those pennies you are being paid.

Another thing that new writers seem not to take into account is the editor. You may believe that your article is perfect. Your editor will not see it that way. You really cannot spend any of your time arguing with them, though, because they are nameless and faceless. They are out there in cyberspace somewhere and may never read another one of your articles ever again. You see, you never seem to get the same editor twice. This presents another whole set of problems. One editor may tell you that you need more detail in your articles. You make the changes and focus on adding detail in future articles. A new and different editor comes along and tells you that you have too much detail in your article. One editor will tell you not to include any explanations of things that are probably obvious to the reader. Another editor will want you to explain every little detail. (I have tried to draw them pictures on the computer to no avail, so I suggest you not try it and just make the changes.) I had an editor tell me once that I needed to change something in my article but neglected to tell me exactly what. Since I am not really psychic, I tried to think like a person half my age, who was not that good of a writer and who was also not well read. I managed to make the correct change.

What is a freelance writer to do? Well, if you really are trying to make a living at writing, you make the adjustments. You may be sitting and cussing some editor who did not think your title was that great. After all, what could possibly be wrong with “Meeting Nomads in Downtown New York While Working With a Traveling Circus and Learning to Speak Hindu from a Native Russian Now Living in Iowa and Knitting Sweaters in a Lovely Rose Color”? Readers might be drawn to it. Another thing you can do, though – after you change that title – is seek support from fellow writers. We are all in the same boat. We can commiserate. We can also give each other tips on making the writing process a bit easier. We can even give each views.

We can also, from time-to-time, write articles like this one and What the Internet Has Done to the Art of Writing just to break the monotony and to keep ourselves – and hopefully some of our readers – amused.

A big thank you to my writing buddies and to Betty Mackey with Mackey Books for the inspiration for this treatise.

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