To all fellow freelance writers, do you know that feeling when you are on a deadline, have 10-20 tabs open as you are conducting a research and feel the anxiety levels rising as you are days and hours near that deadline?
After writing endless pages of marketing, management, tourism or travel topics I just want to sit down, have a cup of coffee and scribble that creative mush on some paper, or in a word file, only for me.
Why write and remain in the shadows?
I know I have something to say, and I know I may help someone else, but… Money doesn’t grow on trees.
I write off topic, off passion, and off life, but hey I still research, write and pay my bills as the end result. That is not so bad, right?
After some time you realize that people see you as a writer, all engaged in projects, earning little but just enough to get by. No one doubts your English or writing skills, they got used to not having you around, and you spend your days looking at your friends’ lives on Facebook while days and opportunities go by.
Born out of passion
Being forever in love with words, I started studying comparative literature in Serbia, Novi Sad (which is my home country and hometown, if anyone wonders). I live in a country of dominant poverty, and a large-scale economy that is transitioning from bad to worse.
Now, as a student, I needed some activity or part-time job to be able to pay for my exams and everyday expenses, as no one from my family had the funds to invest in my education.
After two years I took on a job in a local supermarket, and after only two months I decided to try looking for a way to earn money online. It is then when I discovered the freelancing world and started looking for new career opportunities.
Cliché traps we all know too well
I was realistic and didn’t expect to start earning thousands of dollars right away, and was satisfied when I could manage to earn the minimum paycheck I would bend my spine for in a local store (FIY the usual monthly rates here don’t go over $250 US).
Time went by, and my personal life started impacting my everyday activities and focus.
Four years ago, I was 21, fell in love and decided to move in a rented apartment with my partner.
We dropped out of university and started planning our lives together. The pressures of everyday challenges got the best of us, and the best of me. I was caught in a wicked circle of despair.
The depression, anxiety, and low energy levels turned into a routine. My concentration fell, along with the self-esteem. My time management became utterly unstable, I was late with assignment submissions, lost a lot of clients and in the end gave up on work entirely.
Where it all went wrong
In my defense, starting out my freelance writing career was interesting.
I got several requests for translating a few projects for network cables and electric belt catalogs from a few acquaintances. The pay was low, but being the initial assignments that turned my focus towards writing, they were well worth it.
Afterward, I found a good, but low paying client- I was supposed to write original content articles on beauty products and makeup.
Gradually I started using websites such as freelancer or up-work (on that note- if you are wondering whether you should try using these platforms to find work, go ahead and try you can only gain experience but money is not guaranteed) , where I had a few small projects and a client who was giving me daily work, mostly academic writing for economy students, majors of history etc, for approximately $1.5-2 per page.
With this rate, I worked sometimes for 12 hours a day, mostly during night, and managed to earn a semi-stable income. However, the amount of workload prevented me from having a private life, or the time and the energy to look for better opportunities and clients that would pay me for my worth.
As a creative person, and a communicative and friendly oriented individual, who cares for local and global causes, who wishes to contribute to the community on a daily base, fight for human and animal welfare, I was stuck home writing homework for some Jane Does across the globe to make a living.
IMPORTANT TIP: Never commit creative suicide!
Honestly, rereading the raw version of the previous lines screams the mistakes made, but I was ignorant of them.
I didn’t invest in self-promotion, don’t have any ownership of the content I wrote for the past 4 years and was on a verge of a breakdown.
Now in the original and never published version of this article, the following lines were the rawest and lowest words of an unhappy person. From that dark place thankfully settled in the past, I asked myself what can I do?
Stop, breathe and decide to write an article revealing all of the flaws and unprofessional approaches that cost me my leisure life.
The secrets of the writers’ craft come with experience. But, if you are interested to know the specific details of my story, stay tuned.
Have a splendid and creative day!