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  • Kathleen Lees

Freelance Work: Day-to-Day-Living

Updated: Feb 22



I made a goal to post once a week, and it's been over a week since I last posted.


Specifically regarding my writing career, there have been a lot of ups and downs throughout my life. I’ve received a lot of freelance and full-time opportunities in the past six months (some in St. Louis and some outside of the state of Missouri.) For the most part, I’m just looking for freelance work. I already have a job, and I really like it (even though it’s not technically full-time.)


I'm noticing a few recurring things as a freelancer–some I’ve read about that are pretty typical for people who go in and out of the business. Some are also worse for people who are trying to get back into certain types of writing.


Below are a few things I’d like to share.


It’s Not Always Glamorous

Most people watched “Sex and the City,” or at the very least knew the plot.


A young woman writes a column in the newspaper about her sexual adventures. She lives in a one-bedroom apartment in New York City, and also wears designer shoes. I think some of her accommodations are a bit over the top. (Now, this may also be that I'm a bit jaded after living in a closet in Brooklyn with 7 other people doing the same thing, only switch “sexual adventures” with “Forest Hills’ Community Board Meetings.”)


Which brings me to my next topic…


Writing About What You Like… or Not

Pitching the perfect story can be difficult. In the last four months, I’ve pitched to several different places (three of them were local.) I received one maybe, which was eventually shot down, another was a no, and the final one said yes. Another publication I used to write for that is not located here never even wrote back and the other publication turned me down four times.


The local publication that agreed to give me freelance work did not accept my initial story idea. However, they said I could write for them and gave me some stories they would like me to write. I don't dislike these topics, but I'm not particularly interested in them, either.


Pitching your story to the perfect outlet is really hard because most of the time, you’ll just receive endless rejections. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it somewhere. And on the flip side, when you are working at a publication full-time and writing the same things over and over again, it can get kind of monotonous (particularly if you lose interest in what you're covering.)


Waiting For the Money

I am not sure how people freelance full time, unless they already have money saved up. I recently worked on a project for a company in Chicago. I was told two weeks ago I would receive my payment. I signed a contract with them so I felt secure. I have never had a problem with any freelance projects, and I've done over 30 projects.


I have still not been paid. When I inquired about the payment, the contractor just said it was simply delayed. I don’t mind other than that it’s annoying. However, I am not sure what someone would do who was depending on that money, and I don’t think I will ever freelance with them again. The lateness is unprofessional. At the same time, if I never received the money, it’s not enough to go to court to fight for it.


It makes me consider writing my own contract for future projects, which is something I have never felt was necessary until now. Yet times change, particularly with experience.


You Have to Love It

You have to love writing. You have to love the adventure of looking for possible stories in publications and talking with people. This takes time, and it's more important than making money or even getting published.



Don't Give Up

No matter what you're doing, don't give up on your dreams and your goals.


Pursuing a writing career can take a while, with multiple setbacks. Or maybe it's not just an issue with your career. Maybe life gets in the way. Don't feel bad about taking a step back for self-care to come back later. (But don't stay away for too long.)







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