Friday, July 31, 2009

What Makes a Freelance Writer a Freelance Writer?

Earlier today I read this blog post at Ghostwriting-The Hidden Writer, which posed questions we should ask ourselves in order to determine whether or not we are truly freelance writers. The test questions were split into two categories--the first five we were meant to say "yes" to and the second five we were meant to say "no" to if we really, really, truly consider oursleves to be freelance writers.

The "yes" questions spoke to what some might consider our higher selves--do we write because we're passionate about it? Because we can't see ourselves doing anything else? The basic gist of the "no" questions fell under the apparently less aesthetic motive of "are you doing this for the money?" category.

My immediate reaction, and eventual comment on the blog itself was, does being a freelancer have to be an either-or thing? Can't we love it and still want to write for a living? And can't we loathe coming to our keyboards on some days, but make ourselves get to work because we need to if we want to pay our bills?

I think Amanda's point was that she does not consider those "writers" who swarm on the job bid sites to make a dollar an article to be truly freelance writers. But aren't they? They are writing, albeit not up to any standard that I would consider professional, and they are getting paid for it, sort of. Is the writer who has never published a word somehow a writing saint, while these writing, um, bottom feeders are the sinners?

Frankly, whether we write chick lit, fillers, blog posts, brochures or true literary masterpieces--or boilerplate articles--I think we all fall under the freelance writer umbrella. We are simply appealing to different markets and audiences. As for me, I continue to lean towards continuing to call those writers who want to or already do make a real living through writing as "writerpreneurs."



  1. Great Post Mary Ann,

    I guess my post did seem a little one sided. I was trying to get the point across that writing $1 articles is a waste of time for anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a freelance writer. I was also trying to make the point that a lot of people jump on the writing band wagon just to make a quick buck because it is portrayed as being easy to do.


  2. I absolutely agree with both of your points, Amanda. I do suspect, though, taht neither fo those types of "writers" will stick with it for the long haul.

    Thanks for your comment!