From an actual writer not trying to scam you
I don’t know what it is… but I’m seeing a lot of ahem *trash* on the internet lately — especially in regards to freelance writing.
And it’s not just some harmless little opinions about the oxford comma (I’m in favour). People are spreading a lot of bullsh*t and I can’t sit here and read that without calling it out.
If you’re starting out as a freelance writer and you take some of this advice…
Well, it’s gonna screw you over in the long run. Some of these “tips” are incredibly harmful, unrealistic, and detrimental to your career. Then, you’ll probably burn out and quit before you even give it a real shot.
A little background about me:
I’m a freelance writer and I’ve been doing this for 2 years. My clients have me write everything from memes to websites to emails to blog posts. It’s been a wild ride and I’ve grateful to be here.
So, now I feel it’s my moral responsibility to correct the stuff I’m seeing online so you’ll know if someone is basically lying to you.
Here are 3 myths I’m sick of seeing:
“You should aim to write a blog post in an hour.”
I have so many issues with this I don’t even know where to start…
First, time constraints are ridiculous. Everyone thinks, types, and writes at a different pace — and that’s fine. Some people take 10 hours to write a blog post, others might do it in a couple of hours.
But 1 hour? That’s practically impossible if you’re actually writing something of quality and from scratch. For me, I can write a blog in 3–5 hours. Usually, that breaks down into 1–2 hours of researching, 1–2 hours of writing, and 1 hour of editing.
That depends on a host of factors like:
- Length of content
- How familiar I am with the topic
- If I’m working with an editor
Now, I will say there are some circumstances where it is possible to write a blog in an hour. If you’re an expert, then you can cut back on research time so in theory, an hour for a first draft is achievable. Even so, you still need to edit separately and that is likely to be more like 2 hours at least.
The other scenarios are the ones these people are probably doing. They are either using AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools or hiring a content mill to create the writing and then they just edit it.
Both of those situations don’t work for me because AIs write very superficial content and hiring a ghostwriter for 0.01 per word (yeah really) feels pretty damn immoral.
“You will make $2000 in your first month.”
Ha! Yeah no. I spent about 6 months working towards that specific goal. At the same time I was freelancing, I had to take jobs on film sets so I could pay the bills because my savings had started to run out.
Eventually, I passed that goal — but it was definitely not my first month.
If you commit to it and already have a ton of connections, maybe you can make $2000 your first month. However, this is fairly uncommon for a lot of freelance writers so if you don’t achieve that goal that’s completely normal.
MYTH NO. 3
“Freelancing is easy and anyone can do it.”
Ahh this is my favourite thing to hear. Anyone who says this is heavily downplaying the hard parts of freelancing. Just last week I had to work 12 hours on Thursday so I could only work a few hours on Friday.
As a freelancer, I’m literal an entire business — as one person. You can’t just write words and send them to people and peace out. If you do, well, you sure won’t last very long.
Here are just some of the things I need to do myself:
- Marketing & Sales
- Accounting & Finance
- IT Problems
I work harder now as a freelancer than I have in most of my jobs. It’s great and I love it, but it’s far from easy. If you’re not someone with the right kind of drive and dedication to getting sh*t done — it’s not going to be the career for you.
Avoid Freelance Liars
If you see people saying these things… RUN AWAY! Unfollow their accounts and block them because you’re not going to learn anything of value from them.
They clearly don’t know what they’re saying and they are intentionally trying to scam you. Oftentimes, these people may have started out as a genuine freelance writer, but then they realized they could make more money selling courses to people who want to be like them.
And in some cases, online courses are valid. I’ve taken a handful that helped me immensely, but you seriously need to vet someone before handing them hundreds or thousands of dollars.
About the Author
Victoria Fraser is a freelance copywriter from Vancouver, Canada who works with clients doing all things copywriting & content marketing. You can learn more at her website to work with her or say hello on Twitter!