I’ve been writing for a living for the past six years, and I’ve been approached by a handful of writers’ organizations about joining their creative cohorts. Each time, the idea made sense: I was an experienced freelance writer with a recognizable voice, and these were all respected organizations in their field. But in the end, I always declined the invitation, citing personal reasons.
Now that I’m approaching the ripe old age of 40, I’ve begun to wonder: Could it be that I’m too expensive for the average freelance writer to afford? And if so, is there a market for my services elsewhere?
On the subject of charging, I’ll be upfront about my pricing. Over the course of the last six years, I’ve had to learn to be more selective about the clients I take on, resulting in much lower average fees. Now that I’m in the fortunate position of having enough work to choose from, my rates range from $125 for a 500-word feature to $225 for a 1,000-word article (with some exceptions). However, I do offer a discounted rate of $125 for my first 500 words and $150 for each additional 500 words up to a total of 1,000 words. For non-inclusive use, those are all you need to know.
As for my hours, I try to be available to work whenever possible, but since I’m a one-woman show (no assistant or interns to help me), I often have to put in some long hours to get the work done.
I work mostly alone, so my hours reflect that. With some exceptions (a handful of published authors I’ve worked with have been able to offload some of their work to me), I find that working between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. is the most productive. My preferred days to work are Tuesday through Thursday, with Monday being my least favorite day (I find I get a bit more work done on Fridays).
I’ve been able to build a career for myself as a freelance writer, which has afforded me the ability to work remotely and the luxury of choosing my own work hours. In short, I’ve been able to live the freelance writer’s dream. In hindsight, I can say that I’ve certainly enjoyed the perks that come with the job. For instance, I get to work remotely, which has proven invaluable in keeping my marriage fresh and my freelance writing lucrative. Additionally, I get to set my own hours and can take time off if needed. The flexibility has been crucial in maintaining my mental health.
Despite my considerable success, I’ve found that the job can be pretty isolating. Sure, I interact with other writers and editors via email, but for the most part, I get to work alone. And while I’ve become accustomed to the rhythm of my writing life, I’ll admit that I still look forward to those rare times when I get to meet with my readers face-to-face. (And let’s face facts: regardless of whether you charge for your writing or not, you’re always going to need someone to answer the phone when a potential client calls.)
Another thing that’s been crucial to my success as a freelance writer has been my determination to always be one step ahead of my competition. Like many industries, the industry for writing has become quite competitive, and being willing to charge more than your competitors is something that sets you apart as an expert. Even if you don’t believe in pricing yourself, you should still charge more than the person next to you because you deserve it.
In conclusion, there’s a lot more that could be said about being a freelance writer. For example, a lot of the credit for my recent success goes to my agent, who’s been able to get me some great new writing assignments that fit my expertise. And speaking of which, if you’re interested in being more than just a writer, my agent can put you in touch with some very important people in the industry. Just check out her website for more information: https://www.lauriebrockagency.com/.