Writing without effort in essence translates to reading without pleasure. Although writing is a private initiative, it ultimately opens up to public scrutiny and has the power to transcend borders and knowledge barriers. Freelance writing, like other written endeavours, is not only an exciting combination of analytical thinking, creativity, language proficiency, marketing skills and perseverance but as a key differentiator provides better opportunities towards ‘work-life balance’ and multi-tasking.
Not all freelance writers start as beginners but based on broad trends we can presume that most of them are beginners. The lifecycle of a freelance writer and the progression therein makes a fascinating study:
1. The ‘Introspecting’ freelance writer: At this stage the writer as a beginner dwells upon the strengths and weaknesses in her field of interest and gauges her writing style on the following parameters: a. Genre of writing: This can range from fiction to screenplay to serious writing. b. Style of writing: Depends upon the target audience that the writer feels will form bulk of the readership. c. Long term objective: Post establishing as a freelance writer, what is the writer’s outlook in the long run?
2. The ‘Amateur’ freelance writer: This is the stage when the writer starts taking roots and begins to grope her way in terms of finding opportunities and creating a foothold in the literary world. The writer also comes face to face with objective feedback on her writing skills and hence is able to validate her own presumptions with real time opinion. This helps in reviewing the strong and weak points in her writing skills.
3. The ‘Professional’ freelance writer: This is where freelance writing actually becomes the ‘bread and butter’ option for the writer. The writer is able to carve a niche for herself. Stabilising her stand in terms of better reach and equity with relevant stakeholders like clients, publications etc. helps the writer in taking up freelance writing as a full time career.
4. The ‘Expert’ freelance writer: The writer has matured now in terms of her standing in the literary world, is seen as an opinion maker in many cases and is in a position to create new business opportunities and revenue streams due to her freelancing skills and networking over the years. The writer also has the ability to impart her knowledge and be a guide or mentor to the ‘introspecting’ or ‘amateur’ freelance writers.
5. The ‘Transitional’ freelance writer: This stage may or may not overlap with the life cycle of a freelance writer and hence is optional. Here the writer may switch from being a freelancer to a full time paid professional depending upon myriad factors like the need for change, a feeling to do something different, a tempting career offer or the association with a big brand.
Freelance writing is catching on as a phenomenon slowly but surely. People with the right skills are increasingly looking at it as a full time career option, especially those who have constraints of time and movement. They would love to work on their own and from their homes.
No wonder, the world of freelance writing is witnessing a more structured marketing approach by freelancers in terms of creating visibility for them through networks, websites, blogs, word of mouth etc. It is hence not surprising that today a good number of young freelance writers across genres and writing styles are making a mark and name for themselves.