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The Freelance Journey

Guest post by Heather

At what point does one assume the freelance writer title? Does the designation require payment for written words? The transition between someone who writes for pleasure verses someone who gets paid to write isn’t necessarily fluid.

The Apprentice

For years, I worked as a cartographer. At the request of my employer, I often set aside mapping projects to edit documents, eventually read by thousands of people. If a friend was in the midst of writing a resume, I’d offer to take a look. Even editing a doctoral dissertation was admittedly enjoyable.

About two years ago, an artist friend asked me to write her biography, needed for an art exhibit brochure. We discussed how her early years in Rome, Georgia shaped her passion for art. My payment was a cup of coffee. Really!

The Achiever

I attended my friend’s art show and she introduced me to everyone as a writer. Even though I personally identified as a writer, for the first time ever, someone else recognized my abilities publically.

In social settings when someone asked me about myself, I finally started calling myself a writer. No one knew that I’d never been paid in real currency, aside from my normal salary when I worked as a cartographer.

One day the phone rang. Someone, a person I’d never met before, heard that I was a writer and asked if I could write a story about a charitable fund raising event. I jumped at the chance. Even though the article I wrote was published in a national publication, I never was paid. Seriously!

The Professional

I realized that I should and could get paid, for what I love to do.

I began by introducing myself to others as a freelance writer, not a writer. I started writing original content, not simply editing something that someone else wrote.  I wrote blog posts for a national magazine. I wrote for nonprofits. I wrote to create a bank of interesting articles. I also checked out every nearly every single book from my local library about how to make a living as a writer (never mind that my public library is small, situated in a rural community). I learned how to write query letters. I become social in the virtual world and created a website to house my published work. I received my first paycheck almost exactly one year after I announced to the world, “I’m a freelance writer.” Truthfully!

The Crown

Ask any freelance writer to describe his or her path. Each person will have a different answer. The process is a journey of self discovery and most importantly the belief in oneself.

Carry yourself in a dignified manner as you experience the title of a freelance writer.  You have a duty to write factually and honestly. Maintaining relationships based on trust is important in the career of a freelance writer.  Even if someone rejects your work, remember to maintain composure. Perhaps the same person who rejected something that you wrote may like something else you’ve written.  You will not be able to please everyone, but you’ll be certain to please someone.

While writers experience solitude, writers also have the opportunity to be part of a bigger world. Since I became a freelance writer, I’ve found that everyone has a story waiting to be heard.

Feel free to share your writing journey with the readers in the comments below.

Heather Villa is a freelance writer who finds untold stories. Her byline has appeared in publications such as Living Green, Firefighter Nation, and MomSense. For one stop shopping, visit her on Twitter (@HeatherVilla1).

Category: freelance writing

7 Comments on "The Freelance Journey"

  1. Nice post Heather.

    I realized my potential when, despite being a web project manager, my previous employer started forwarding all of his content writing and marketing projects to me.

    I started doing occasional writing projects until I found the true earning potential of this profession.

    I like the titles you’ve given to each stage of your writing journey 🙂


  2. Heather Villa says:

    Hello Jawad,

    Thanks for stopping by this post. It’s nice to meet you. I absolutely appreciate the comradery and comments shared throughout the entirety of this blog. The articles are so helpful (Thank you Bamidele…and many others)!

    While our success begins with believing in ourselves, it’s so true that sometimes we can begin to reach our potential when others give us opportunities.

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey with the readers. Best wishes to you on your continued journey!


  3. It’s depend on you how you wants to run your freelancer life because in that you are not bounded to work continually but on other hand if you want to make your career only in freelancer then you will need to deliver those kind of results which helps to make your popularity in online marketing more better in all around the world.

  4. Ben @ Bread Machine Reviews says:

    I love the cup of coffee reference, we all have to do things like that while we’re on the first steps of the ladder. Great guest post.

  5. Heather Villa says:

    Hi Ben,
    Believe me, I drank every last sip of that cup of coffee.
    Thanks for stopping by this post. Best wishes to you.

  6. Nicholas says:

    Hey Heather, that was a really good post. I agree that payment is not always the only thing we write for. I too am a writer but not a freelancer, and I edit all formal writings of my friends. At times editing for them makes me more happy than actually writing to make money.

  7. Heather Villa says:

    Hi Nicholas,

    Thanks for reading. Thanks for sharing. I know can relate.



Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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