8 things no one tells you about freelancing

Harry Worth

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By a Word Harlot and Writer for Hire

  1. You will underbid every project for a month: this will have the effect of filling your calendar and making you feel quite professional (see no. 6) at the same time it tempts you to put out work before a final read through because you’re just so darned busy.
  2. You will run through all your acceptable addictions like plague through a rat colony: your house will be clean, the dogs walked, your schedule will be filled in, and all your blogs sparklingly well maintained. Oh,  and you’ll renew your gym membership. Remember how you loved the steam room?
  3. You will find that you don’t know as much as you thought you did: reference no. 1. At least one of those projects you reeled in by charging as if you were a lemonade stand will be on a topic you research like you were a graduate student. Didn’t you say you’d never slave like that for someone else’s research again?
  4. You will undertake more internet research than you need to: see no 3. Turns out, you didn’t need to know that much anyhow, but have a deep-seated need to feel mastery before turning in your writing. Don’t worry, this will wane.
  5. You will become a slave, a harlot, to lining up the jobs: Why? Because this is the easy part and wards off two things: real work and finishing a job without another lined up. When that does happen…
  6. You will discover the root of all your self-worth…. and judge it vapid: Your entire identity as a writer, freelancer, person of worth and merit, worthy of sucking oxygen so arduously generated by trees is contingent upon the streams of text that show up when you move your fingers in concert with your mind. When this stops, you choke. Corollary:
  7. You will measure your self-worth by responses to your bids: how dare they turn you down saying your bid was too high?! Oh, gosh, was it??? You knew you shouldn’t have… oh, wait, here comes another response… see! Someone knows your worth!
  8. The things you thought were fascinating, oddly not after you’ve done them three thousand times. And here is where we discover that even though you can show up at work before brushing your teeth and in your flannels, you can pet your dogs when the words won’t come and have lunch in your own kitchen every day, some things are always the same. Work is work, and we love what we love despite the repetition and familiarity. Or is it because?