ABCs of Freelance Writing: P is for Pitfall

Notice the title isn’t “ABCs of Freelance Writing: P is for Pajamas.” Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s prepare other freelance writing hopefuls for some of the perils of choosing such a career.

I’ll start by creating a list of bad things that can happen to a freelance writer—a list born of my own trying experiences—and the lessons I learned as a result.

Consider the comments an open thread for discussing your own trials and tribulations.

Freelance Writing Pitfalls

The Disappearing Document: More than once I’ve lost entire documents and have been forced to start over. I have MS Word set to save backup copies. I use Dropbox for remote storage and access to my files. I save religiously as I write. And yet, I can think of at least three times in the last year that I lost a document. No warning, just poof! When it happens to me now, I give myself 30 seconds to whine. Then I take a big breath, and start writing again. Because a deadline’s a deadline.

Lesson: Sulking won’t bring your words back.

The Phantom Dry Spell: Sometimes legitimate contact form submissions get lost in the ether. I was down on myself for weeks because no one was asking me for quotes on their writing projects until I discovered several website queries had not been forwarded to my Gmail account (they were hung up in my domain’s hosting webmail mailbox thingy*) and a few others had been sent directly to my spam folder. Funny how three weeks later, those people had already found another writer.

Lesson: Check under the hood every 3,000 emails.

The Burnout Bitch: Churning out 25 plus 500-word articles in a week for a single client while you work full-time and maintain other projects can be done. But I dare you to pull it off with a smile on your face. I double dog dare you to pull it off without disrupting your sleep cycle. I triple dog dare you to do it without threats of break-up or divorce from your S.O.

Lesson: When you have money for movies and concerts and fancy-ass dinners, no one is willing to hang out with you.

*I know! I’m so technical.

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