The Hardest Thing About Being a Freelance Writer
Driving ferraris and attending lavish parties is what freelancers are made for, but that’s not the life freelancers actually live. With the luxuries of working from home and setting your own schedule come the immense hurdles of sporadic work availability and the too frequent non-payments. Though recently I’ve come across something I as a freelance writer, which I’ve deemed one of the greatest challenges we all fall victim to… the constant shuffle of changing your voice.
From famous authors to popular editorial outlets, everyone has their unique style. That style is the underlying factor that sustains a business—it’s recognizable and it relates to the audience interested in what that person or outlet has to say. For freelance writers, finding the balance between what your voice is and integrating the style of whatever publication you’re writing for is an important and delicate balance to accomplish.
Personally for quite some time my writing was ‘frank,’ with small bits of snark mixed in. Then when I joined Sarcastic Gamer, my writing took a sharp turn into the exaggerative. When I started freelancing more I toned down my voice to have a broader intonation, and as my career expanded I’d go back-and-forth between writing matter-of-factly or colloquial, often for several publications in the same day. I’ve also learned casual can mean different things for different places.
Today, there are moments I’m asked to completely adopt the voice of the outlet and abandon my own.
Truthfully this is how a writer develops their own voice, but I will admit there have been a few moments I’ve lost what I thought my style was. There were times I struggled to meet the needs of the outlets while reassuring myself I’m still representing myself accurately.
And that’s okay!
Life is all about evolving, so I’m still learning who I am and what that means for my writing. I’ve realized I shouldn’t allow those types of circumstances question my own capabilities; instead, I should meet the challenge head-on and take learnings from these experiences to help me advance my career.
There’s a lot of advice out there from more seasoned veteran writers available, but what I can say confidently to new freelancers out there is to take a breath and embrace the edits. Don’t take them personally, grow from the experience!
That said, don’t feel afraid to challenge edits you feel hinder what you know your voice to be. A good editor will explain in greater detail why they feel their edit was necessary, or find a mutual compromise. That way everyone involved learns from the exchange.
See every opportunity like a chance to develop into a better writer.
Be sure to also take the time to write for YOU, even if it’s just in a private journal, so you can learn who you are. And don’t buy a ferrari, unless you want it to catch on fire.