I’m getting my feet very wet in the freelancing world. Of course, what I want most to do is write the quality pieces that I enjoy, but I don’t mind proofreading, editing, or writing ad copy, to name a few things I said I’d never do. The first two, freelancing as a proofreader and editor, were essentially what I was doing most of the regular workday as a teacher and as a friend who could be trusted to properly edit academic work anyway. That last, I didn’t get paid much for, but I did it for the love of learning, and for my undying affection for good writing.
Once I made the decision—was forced, rather—to become a freelancer of anything wordy, I jumped in fully. I’ve clocked many hours researching the field and rushing to “pay my dues.” For my first two paid publications, I made $2.58 and $0.01, respectively (yes, I’m serious). But I had taken the good advice in The Freelancer’s Bible, The Well-Fed Writer, and The Wealthy Writer; I used those pieces to build my portfolio.
I made my way to reputable sites like Constant Content and Odesk (that last I found through the freelance writing forum here on DC). These two sites require something of rigorous process to qualify for work, but I like that—it demonstrates a respect and appreciation for words, which is missing from the content mills like Textbroker ($2.58!! I spent an hour writing that!!). Still,what I’m finding overall is that there is too low a value placed on good writing (mine is good, I promise). Herein lies the responsibility for all the crap web content out there, and for the way new freelancers like me have to grind to make a buck.
I’ve written for WomenatForty.com and Divine Caroline (obviously), for free (of course), and the work I’ve written on those two sites is some of my best—the kind that makes me proud of what I do. That’s where the “free” in freelancing comes in—it’s in the pleasure of seeing your hard work—your really good work—speak for you as a writer, the freedom to write what you want to write, and to write it well. So go ahead, keep grinding. Be a freelancer—or, a $2.58lancer. It’s worth every penny.