Why it's So F*ing Hard to Be a Freelance Writer - Make a Living Writing (2023)

Why it's So F*ing Hard to Be a Freelance Writer - Make a Living Writing (1)

With all the useful tips on how to become a freelance writer I’ve posted on this blog, you’d think I could sign off and be done. I just checked, and there are nearly 500 posts on here!

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Yet, each week I hear from writers with new questions. Why?

It’s not easy becoming a freelance writer.

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Writers are always asking me:

What is the one best, cheapest, low-cost, fastest way for me to market my writing and find great pay?

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But there isn’t one single, simple answer to that.

What we’re trying to do isn’t easy — to find a place for ourselves in a rapidly evolving freelance marketplace.

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The challenges of freelancing

Here are some of the common obstacles freelance writers encounter:

There is one advantage to the complex world of freelancing — if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

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So that cuts the herd a bit for those of us who have the cunning, the tenacity, and the gumption to make freelance writing our living.

What do you think is the hardest thing about being a freelance writer? Add your reason to the comments.

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Why is freelance writing hard? ›

It's highly competitive to get in at the great-paying magazines, or to land the lucrative copywriting gigs. Some clients are flaky and end up stiffing you. Some clients are boundary-pushers and want to suck up all your time. You'll need to find a way to differentiate your writing services and stand out from the crowd.

How much can you realistically make as a freelance writer? ›

How Much Do Freelance Writer Jobs Pay per Hour?
Annual SalaryMonthly Pay
Top Earners$156,000$13,000
75th Percentile$63,500$5,291
25th Percentile$37,500$3,125

Am I good enough to be a freelance writer? ›

If you can string two grammatically correct sentences together, in most cases, your writing is good enough. Throw in some keen research skills and the ability to adhere to deadlines, and you can be a freelance writer. Bottom line: You don't have to be a genius or have some type of special writing ability.

Is it hard to make a living as a freelance writer? ›

A freelance writing career takes hard work, good time management skills, and the ability to hustle to find new gigs. To help build a rewarding career in this field, study the twelve freelance writing tips every author should know.

What are the problems normally faced by freelance writers? ›

Most new freelance writers suffer from imposter syndrome, the belief that you're not as competent as other people think you are. Without a history of successful writing jobs and satisfied clients, you might feel like you're not worthy of calling yourself a freelance writer.

What type of freelance writing pays the most? ›

Healthcare and medical writing

The healthcare and medical sector is one of the highest-paying niches in freelance writing. Content in this niche requires similar skill sets to technical writing—as well as extensive knowledge of the healthcare industry.

Can I make $1000 a month freelance writing? ›

Even with little or no experience, you can make $1,000 or more per month as a freelance writer in a short period of time. But that's just the beginning! Some of the go getters I know earn as much as $100K- $200K a year from freelance copywriting jobs (more about that below)!

How much should I charge as a beginner freelance writer? ›

Beginners tend to charge much less, like $. 08 per word or $20 per hour. Those with many years of experience, on the other hand, can charge upwards of $1.00 per word and $100 per hour.

How do I start freelance writing with no experience? ›

10 Ways to break into freelance writing without experience
  1. Write samples. ...
  2. Find a writing agency to support you. ...
  3. Launch a blog. ...
  4. Write for friends and family. ...
  5. Network with other freelance writers. ...
  6. Get your start with a content network. ...
  7. Revise and refresh your grammar. ...
  8. Learn about SEO.

How do I break into freelance writing? ›

How to Become a Freelance Writer: Step-by-Step Guide
  1. Build a portfolio. Small businesses hit just as many highs as they do lows in the beginning. ...
  2. Start pitching. ...
  3. Start your own blog. ...
  4. Scour job boards. ...
  5. Embrace the side hustle.
Aug 24, 2022

How many hours a week do freelance writers work? ›

3. Most freelance writers work 21-30 hours a week.

How long does it take to become a freelance writer? ›

Probably a month or two to learn the basics and then another month or two to land your first writing job. While it might take you longer overall to build your own publishing powerhouse, it's easier to stay persistent when money is coming in each and every time you publish an article.

Is freelance writing stressful? ›

In some cases, freelance writing may be more stressful than a “regular” job. You can take steps to reduce freelance writing stress. Once you acknowledge the stress you face as a freelance writer, you can work to relieve it.

What are the biggest mistakes freelancers make? ›

In this post, we'll point out 8 common freelance mistakes that you can easily avoid to save yourself from regret.
  • Missing deadlines. ...
  • Accepting low-paying jobs. ...
  • Blindly applying to jobs. ...
  • Not drafting a freelance contract. ...
  • Losing work-life balance. ...
  • Not communicating with the client. ...
  • Not setting money aside. ...
  • You get cocky.
Jun 10, 2022

Is freelance writing oversaturated? ›

It's not an oversaturated job market at all, so if you're thinking about leaning into your writing talent, this is the equivalent of the California gold rush for you. Let's dive into how to build a copywriting business.

What is the most difficult part about being a freelancer? ›

Setting a schedule

This can often be one of the biggest challenges for freelancers. You're no longer at a nine-to-five job so you have to figure out organization of your time. There are deadlines and overlapping client jobs to coordinate, so you really have to be wise about how you work and spend your time.

How competitive is freelance writing? ›

Freelance writing is no walk in the park. In fact, it's one of the most competitive fields out there. With so many talented writers vying for clients and projects, you need to be at the top of your game if you want to succeed.

What makes a good freelance writer? ›

Hardworking. The harder you work, the more likely people are to hire you, and the more they will be willing to pay you for your writing services. Freelance writing can often be difficult and time-consuming, which means that having a strong work ethic is one of the most important qualities that a writer can possess.

What writing makes the most money? ›

1. Technical Writer. Technical writing involves taking complex ideas and translating them into an easy-to-understand format. To excel in this field, you'll need not just writing skills, but some understanding of tech-related concepts, as well.

What type of content writing is in demand? ›

SEO Writers

SEO writers are as in-demand as they are for a reason. Yes, effective content engages an audience and adequately addresses any concerns they might have. However, it also helps boost search engine visibility and raise SERP rankings.

Is there a demand for freelance writers? ›

High-quality freelance writers and brand journalists are currently in high demand and stand to be for years to come. Although the content marketing and freelance writing markets were already growing before COVID-19, the pandemic accelerated their growth, opening a sea of opportunities for freelancers.

How do beginner writers make money? ›

How to Make Money Writing
  1. Guest Post on High-Paying Publications and Magazines. ...
  2. Become a Copywriter. ...
  3. Do Freelance Content Writing for Businesses. ...
  4. Ghostwrite Stories. ...
  5. Get Paid to Write on Medium. ...
  6. Self-Publish on Amazon Kindle. ...
  7. Blog and Make Money Through Affiliate Marketing. ...
  8. Find Paid Writing Internships.
Apr 20, 2023

How much do beginner freelance writers make per article? ›

This series of Twitter polls also seem to prove that writers prefer per-project pricing. From our research, freelance writers charge anything from $50-$1500 per long-form article. For longer content like ebooks and case studies, costs typically average around $2000.

Can you make six figures as a freelance writer? ›

Whether you are a freelance writer, graphic designer, website developer, marketer, or virtual assistant, you can make 6-figures as a freelancer in your first year of freelancing.

How much should I charge for a 500 word article? ›

For one interview source when writing for an editorial brand, I aim to earn at least $0.75 a word when I'm thinking about how much to charge for 500-word article, and it depends on the topic. That averages to at least $375 for an article.

How much should I charge for a 1000 word article? ›

The low end for a 1000-word research article is around $75, while an experienced writer may charge closer to $250 or more. Blog article. Less technical articles are often quicker to write, so you may want to charge less. A 1000-word blog article averages around $50 at the lower end and $175 at the higher end.

What should I charge per word? ›

5–7.5 cents per word is below average, and more beginner rates. 8–11 cents per word is a general average. 12–15 cents per word is slightly above average for writers with more experience. 15+ cents per word is an experienced writer (plenty of samples, client testimonials/references, not all on content mills)

What to do if freelance writer is not getting paid? ›

If you have a freelance client who hasn't paid, start by reminding them of their unpaid invoice. If they still don't pay, you can move on to more serious steps, such as sending out a letter of demand, going to small claims court, or hiring a lawyer.

How do freelance writers make a living? ›

Every client has its own process and payment type. For one article, a client may pay by the word or by the piece. If it's a project, they may pay an hourly rate or a flat rate for the whole project. At other times, you may be put on a retainer to provide a certain amount of work every month as needed by the client.

Where do I start as a freelance writer? ›

How to Become a Freelance Writer (and Find Your First Client)
  1. Learn to Write for the Web.
  2. Start a Blog.
  3. Find Your First Client.
  4. Reach Out to Your Network.
  5. Meet Other Freelance Writers.
  6. Use Job Boards.
  7. Reach Out Directly.
  8. Be Patient (But Persistent)
Feb 8, 2022

How easy is it to become a freelance writer? ›

Good writing skills, strong research skills and grammatical knowledge are all essential for getting started as a freelance writer. Knowledge of common style guides is also beneficial. Knowing how to run your business and manage your finances are crucial skills as well.

Why is it so hard to write fast? ›

People tend to grip their pen or pencil too hard, especially when trying to write quickly. The problem is that doing this slows you down, and causes your hand to tire. The best way to avoid this is to consciously check up on yourself while you write, and make sure that you're not gripping the pen too hard.

How much should a beginner freelance writer charge per word? ›

We recommend beginner freelance writers charge no less than $0.05 to $0.20 per word. If you consider the example of a 1,000-word blog post, this means you'll range from $50 to $200 per post. In reality, many beginning writers make $0.01 to $0.04 per word, which is an unreasonably low fee.

How do I quit a freelance writing job? ›

How to Quit a Freelance Job Gracefully
  1. Check Your Contract. This is an important first step that's far too easy to miss. ...
  2. Provide Plenty of Notice. ...
  3. Clearly Explain That You're Moving On. ...
  4. Give a Brief Reason. ...
  5. Provide an End Date. ...
  6. Express Gratitude. ...
  7. Offer a Referral. ...
  8. Keep in Touch.


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