There are so many people out there who assume that freelance writing is an easy job. That fact isn’t helped by the number of websites out there who preach the same thing, mostly so that they can sell you something.
The truth is that there are many parts of freelance writing that are difficult. Now, I’m not saying that freelance writing is a bad job, far from it. I love my job and wouldn’t do anything else, but especially for someone considering a leap into freelance writing, I think it is important to understand all the aspects of the job. Since there are plenty of “Pros” resources out there already, I thought I would take a stab at some of the “Cons.” So, without further ado, the first thing that makes freelance writing hard.
Competence and Understanding
One of the greatest challenges of freelance writing comes from the fact that in order to recognize incompetence, you must be at least a little competent. A great illustration of this concept can be found in the movie Amadeus.
In the movie, Amadeus Mozart, who the world will of course recognize as one of the great musical geniuses of all time, arrives in Vienna where the Emperor has a Court Composer named Salieri. The Emperor is not gifted in any way when it comes to music. Salieri, on the other hand, laments that God has seen fit to give him enough of a musical gift to truly understand and appreciate fine music, but not enough to produce it. When Salieri’s composition plays before the Emperor, he proclaims it the greatest of all time, while falling asleep during one of Mozart’s productions.
The point is, that the Emperor has no understanding of the difference between good music and average music. Likewise, he cannot tell when a piece is powerful and when it is not. It is useless to try and tell or teach him otherwise, because he simply does not grasp the basic concepts necessary to understand further.
Which brings us to today’s point. There are a great many people in the world who cannot write well. There are people whose entire success in their careers stems not from their ability in their field, but simply their ability to communicate proficiently in their writing.
Look around, and you’ll hear it all the time.
“Oh, I don’t like to write, I’d rather just talk.”
“I never been much of a writer.”
“I have real work to do, I don’t have time to write.”
And so on.
These are all the excuses of someone who is not proficient in writing. But, here is the catch. They don’t know that they lack writing ability. They are not competent enough in writing to realize that what they do put down on paper does not communicate what they want it to well, if at all.
Unfortunately, these people are often your clients. Or, more specifically, these people are often your prospective clients. When you approach them with your writing services they will not understand why they need them no matter how dreadful their current output. Even more so, they will not understand why they should pay you. After all, anyone can write.
Thus, the freelance writer moves on, frustrated that something he could have greatly improved will instead continue to be mediocre or worse. It takes thick skin and a lot of belief in yourself to continue in the face of such things.
And that, is one of the hard things about being a freelance writer.