The hardest part of the writing process is waiting. You, as the writer, put everything into the article and you send it into the void of the internet. You hope that the article is accepted and then published.
A few years ago, I wrote an article for a website that regularly publishes my work. After a few weeks, when I had not heard from that publication, it became clear that they were not interested in publishing this particular. As the years have passed, I just gave up and moved on to other work.
I am not going to name that particular publication, but this is not and will not be the first time that I or any writer has been ghosted after submitting work for publication.
Cut to a few weeks ago. I was following up on new articles that I had submitted to this same website. On a whim, I included the old article that I had previously given up on. Last week, they published that article.
It was the highlight of my day.
Whatever you are going through, stay hungry and no matter what, don’t give up. You will make it, I promise you. Just keep at it. I know that it’s not easy, but persistence always pays off.
From an outside perspective, working as freelance writer seems like a dream, especially when one is burnt out by their nine to five job. But for anyone who dreams of leaving the nine to five job for freelance writing, there is a reality to the professional and quite a few details that need to be taken into consideration before one takes the plunge.
The 2016 book, Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, written by Moira Allen lays out in simple terms every aspect of the professional life of a freelance writer. The book details subjects such as submitting pieces to publishers, completing research, the best method to copyright your work and handling the financial aspect of working for yourself.
I picked this book up on a whim from my local library and I am so glad that I did. I am the one of millions of freelance writers who would love to write for a living, but also needs a steady income. I learned a lot from this book and I recommend it, especially for those would love to ditch their current job and earn their living by their pen.
Some of my regular readers may know that on top of my day job, I am a freelance writer.
Applying for freelancing jobs, especially for content and article writing, is essentially the same process as any standard job hunt. You submit all of the necessary information and hope that the publication will accept your work, or at least the possibility of your work.
Like any job hunt, it is a proven fact that one will not get a response about most of the jobs that they apply for. I’ve been in the job market long enough to understand that when I apply for jobs, I will only receive a response back on a handful of them. The same goes for freelancing. At best, I may get a form letter, thanking me for my submission and advising of the potential time it will take for the publication to get back to me. At worst, I get radio silence, which I really, really dislike.
Recently, I submitted two pieces to two different publications. Both have published my work in the past. One of the publications immediately got back to me saying that they were publishing the story I submitted. The other publication initially requested changes. I did so and submitted the updated document as requested. Between both publications, I had to contact them four times before receiving confirmation there is a tentative ETA for both stories being published.
I get it, I really do. They have an editorial calendar and multiple writers whose stories they will be publishing. It’s a process to put together a daily or weekly publication.
I just wish some publishers would be more consistent when it comes to communication with their writers. I would rather a hard no right away, than wonder for weeks or months on end if a) they got my story and b) if they will actually be publishing my work.
I just wonder if it would be too much to ask for some more consistent communication between some publications and their writers.
Whether it is a novel, an article or another document, writing, despite appearances, is hard work. It requires, time, skill, effort and talent. I’ve been a freelancer for nearly three years. While I still have my full-time job, I make time for my writing. That doesn’t mean that it is easy. Below, are three pitfalls that don’t help freelancers.
Spec Writing: A spec is a sample article. It is typically written when either the writer or the publisher is unsure if the potential article would be a good fit for the publication. As a sample article, it’s fine because if it the editor does not feel like it would be a good fit, it’s no big deal. The problem starts when the article is accepted, but the editor thinks that the writer will work for free. If it is understood (and preferably written down) that there is no payment and the writer will only be getting a byline and another article to add to their portfolio, that’s fine. But when the writer is looking for payment and the editor is looking for a free article, that is another story.
Radio Silence: I get it that publications receive a large number of submissions. Not every publication has the time to respond to every writer who submitted. Some publications may even send a form letter via email. I’ve gotten a fair amount of those. The problem is what I call “radio silence”. It’s when a writer submits an article and hears nothing back. It’s disheartening, to be honest. I would rather hear a hard no rather than radio silence.
The “Free” In Freelance: There is no such thing as “free” in freelance writing. Payment is often on a sliding scale, depending on the publication and the article. Some publications, as I have stated above, can only afford to pay via a byline. I have no problem with that, as long as it is stated beforehand. The problem is when some publications pay next to nothing for a long form piece or a piece that maybe more detail oriented because of research. I’ve stopped counting the number of freelance jobs that want a thousand word article, but the payment is pitiful. Respect me as a writer, respect my work and understand that I deserve to be paid a fair wage for my work, even as a freelancer.
Despite all of this, I still love writing and I still love freelancing. It’s just that some publications and editors make freelancing more difficult than it needs to be.