Freelance Writing - What You’ll Give Up to Get Paid Big

>> Thursday, December 01, 2011

Freelance Writing - What You’ll Give Up to Get Paid Big
Courtesy of Jared Heath

We always hear about how freelancing can be tough, and it’s true. It’s tough to get your business up, it’s tough to keep business up, and it’s tough to grow. But beyond the business aspect of freelancing, it can be hard to sell something you created. Something you put your heart into. This post is my experience as a freelance writer, but you can substitute “writing” with carpentry, sewing, iron works, or whatever it is you do to keep food on the table.

Perhaps it’s just sentimental to treasure your writings so much—I mean, it’s not even ink on paper anymore. One glitch and everything is gone. Fire couldn’t destroy Shakespeare’s works as fast as a crashed computer can consume creativity. But then again, it’s more than words on a page, isn’t it? You create something every time you grab a pen or sit at a computer. You are responsible for a genesis with each keystroke—right?

Any of you who have done freelance writing know that it’s not always that glamorous. Sure, we all like to dream that our blog is suddenly going to explode with followers and comments next month, but by and large, the writing we do is not exactly the same caliber as Leaves of Grass. Even though we may execute the article, blog post, or website quite masterfully, I don’t remember any college courses on great works that had any number of the subjects I’ve been asked to write on in the anthologies.

But that’s not really the point, is it? It’s not what we’re writing about. Sometimes writing posts about storage units, carpet cleaners, medicare, or anything is exactly what we thrive on. “Write about a storage shed,” your client says. “And make it cool!” And you do. Time and again. When you don’t want to. When you don’t feel like it. When your inspiration is dead. You still do it, even if it takes you a few rounds to get it right.

When you count the cost of what you do—what we do—you have to ask yourself what the cost is of not getting your name out there. Forget the fame; you have to be willing to put your name on each piece you submit to every client. Suddenly your writing leaves that dark corner of the internet where it feeds off itself and only your mother and your old high school friend read it (sometimes). Now you have the pain of visibility. The shame of a bad post. And more importantly, the thrill of a sentence that works like you never knew it worked.

What’s the cost of selling your writing—or anything else? Your pride, perhaps. It’s a heavy toll, to be sure, and it’s one that most of us haven’t learned to pay. What’s the worth? Well, that’s something we each have to decide.

Joan's a deep topic, one I find myself asking a lot now-a-days as I give up just about every leisure activity as well as most self care needs to get in all my writing as well as the promotional requirement I deem necessary for the growth and development of FEVER. 

So what do you think? In your opinion, what is the line for you? What is too much to give up for that goal you're striving for, (if not writing)?

One lucky commenter will win a copy of FEVER upon release, Feb 28, 2012,
eBook or print, worldwide.

Jared Heath is a freelance writer who writes for and lives for his two passions: his writing and his family. It’s not always easy, but doing what you love for the ones you love is worth it.


Anonymous,  10:37 AM  

The line for me is if whatever I'm pursuing takes too much time away from my family, especially my kids. They are still young and I don't want to miss those milestones. So for me that would be the line...

Great post Joan!!!


Joan Swan 10:52 AM  

Hi Michele, sounds like you've got your priorities in order. :) Those years sure pass fast.

Victoria 11:08 AM  

This is going to sound awful but I will give up anything that keeps me from my workout. I schedule all appointments around my exercise. I know I'm not answering your question properly but I can't give a specific.
I loved your post.


Joan Swan 11:29 AM  

OMG, that's not awful at all!! That's awesome!! That is taking care of yourself and that really should come first. Because, logically, if you're not well, who's going to do all the things you do?? And why can't I think logically? I want that thought process!!!!

Raonaid Luckwell 11:57 AM  

I have to agree with Michele. My sons - there are milestones in their lives I just do not want to miss out of. They do go fast. I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that my oldest is thirteen, wanting cologne, that my ten year old has a steady girlfriend, he wanting cologne, and my baby is going to turn seven and he's in school.

Raonaid at gmail dotcom

Anonymous,  2:08 PM  

As I am finishing nursing school at the age of 36 I have to say I have been pushed to my limit. Thank God for a very understanding husband and 13 year old son. Our daughter (6) can not remember me not going to school.

Donna Mixon

Michelle McMichael,  3:10 PM  

I gave up my Midwifery career to care for my son who has Autism. Being there for him means more to me than anything. I wouldn't have wanted to miss any of the milestones, we may have to miss out on some things but being able to physically be there when he needs me more than makes up for that. I also have 2 younger kids and I'm not missing out. I don't regret my decision for a second. Family comes first :)


CYP @ A Bookalicious Story 7:36 PM  

Life's tough that way. I'm still a student, so I can't really relate to the difficulties once you've reached adulthood and have to start working. But don't you find being an author well worth your time? Seeing your own work being published?

Terri Matlock 6:32 AM  

im not sure what is in line for me. i am right now just enjoying the time with my kids while they're young cuz it wont always be like this. i want to eventually get into doing some data entry jobs or something with computers just havent gotten that far yet. i am taking a step in the right direction though. my dad is faxing me stuff he needs inputed and is paying me for my time which is awesome. :)

Terri M

Di 9:47 AM  

I have to agree with the other posters. You have to determine your priorities. Something has to give, there are just so many opportunities & options of things to do, but nobody can do everything they may find appealing. Most of us have to go with necessities (work to make money to live in the style we want) & that differs by person. And you have to accept the consequences of those decisions. It's great when people enjoy their chosen profession, but not so many people love their job (at least not fully). But I hate it when people whine about things that are within their control, even tho the change may take a while. Ok - done rambling.
sallans d at yahoo dot com

Anonymous,  10:43 AM  

I find that I do resent other activities that suck time away from my writing. But some of them are just as important, kids, exercise, the husband. Ok, they're all important. So why do I feel like the writing takes precedence? Maybe it's because I've given all those other things priority over the years. Now it's just time for this one to be first.

Shari Jung 3:45 PM  

I was pushed to my limit by my IT job a few years ago and while I was laid off it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Sometimes being pushed away from something you love but was turning bad is what is needed to realize what really is important.

Vivien 4:26 PM  

Mainly my health or my families health is the line. If my goals interfere with that in any way then that's where I quit. A persons health is never worth pursuing anything.

The Romanceaholic 6:02 PM  

My line is definitely when my family starts to notice that I'm missing lol I'm really good at multitasking, but if I find that chores aren't getting done, or I'm telling my kids we can't go play because of a deadline, then I know I have to change something so that I'm far enough ahead that they don't even notice I'm working.

romanceaholic at gmail dot com.

Joan Swan 9:04 PM  

Rachel, Donna and Michelle, You three join the majority on the kids! Those little ones have a way of changing our whole worlds around!

Joan Swan 9:10 PM  


Don't sell yourself short, sweetie! Being a student is hard work! My daughter is in her second year of college, working two jobs, holding a position in her sorority, taking a full course load...I see the stress she's under.

I always say everything is relative because things that are happening in anyone's own life seem significant, which, when compared to someone else's life may seem trivial, but you're not living their life and they're not living yours, so...they're really incomparable.

I sure as heck wouldn't want to go back to school. That's some hard shit man! Kudos, girl!

And, yes, I do believe all the sacrifice is worth meeting my goals. If I didn't, I'd have quit a long time ago :).

Joan Swan 9:14 PM  


It sounds like you are right where you're supposed to be!

Joan Swan 9:16 PM  

Di, that's also a pet peeve of mine. I don't mind when people vent. Everyone needs that. But there's difference between venting and whining. And when someone simply wants to complain, but doesn't want to 'hear' or 'do' anything about a situation they're whining about, then I don't want to 'hear' about it. :)

Joan Swan 9:17 PM  

Hi Jessica,

I feel that way a lot...I've given decades to these other priorities, it's okay to take a little time back for me.

Joan Swan 9:19 PM  

Hi Shari,

Now there's an interesting perspective. Being pushed away from something you thought you loved, but has gone bad... Definitely has happened to me before. I get obssessed with something and don't realize how good I feel until I'm away from it.

Joan Swan 9:20 PM  

LOLOL Romanceaholic...

Hey, have you seen mom lately???

Come to think of it, not since last Tuesday when she made that great pot roast...

Joan Swan 9:24 PM  


I should heed that much better. I let my OCD drive me until I'm exhaused, overstressed and overworked. I forgo excercise and eat lousy. I really don't take care of myself and, logically, I know it's stupid...yet I still do it. One of my greatest (and most dangerous) faults.

And considering I've worked in the medical field for decades, you'd think I'd be better about paying attention to that -- the perfect example of how the intellectual mind and the emotional mind don't mesh.

Jennifer 11:53 AM  

I work in the medical field as well and my line would be if writing or any other goal has become unhealthy for me. If it is jeopardizing my relationship with my family and I don't see any benefit in sight, then it is too much for me.

I'm dealing with this issue right now with my work. I have a back injury that I'm trying to work through and I think it is time to finally look at other options.

Thanks for the giveaway. I'm looking forward to reading "Fever" either way.


Joan Swan 5:35 PM  

Hi Jennifer,

I'm at about the same place. Work is at the point of jeapoardizing all those things for me right now, relationships, physical health, mental health...those are the points at which the trade off for having the money and the challenge might not weight out positively any longer.

Hope you find you solution!

skyla11377 5:43 PM  

Before I had my kids I would have said nothing would stand between me and my dream. I would give whatever it took to make my dream come true. BUT, now that I have my two boys my priorities have changed. No dream or goal could ever be worth missing one moment with my children. I would rather give up on my dream/goal if it meant I would miss time being with my kids. They are the line that I would never in a million years cross. They are my world and they are my new dream/goal. My mission is to make them they best children they can be and let them know they have the world at their finger tips.

I have been dying to get my hands on a copy of Fever ever since the first moment I heard about it a while ago. The book sounds phenomenal and the cover is HOT!!!! I so need to get my hands on this book.


alainala 5:56 PM  

this looks freaking AMAZING! thanks for the chance to win..
i think the line to draw.. is reading time.. and bath time.. and possibly kitten time.. as i have to have time to sit and unwind.. i think if i didnt have that, things would be troublesome!

alainala AT hotmail DOT ca

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