Writing as a Career Choice

Writing as a Career Choice
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I just finished writing and publishing my piece on online career choices, and one of the career choices that I emphasized the most was to become a writer. After some second thought, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to cover a little bit more about writing, and the possibilities as a freelance writer.

Last year I began working on a blog project that would discuss web development and web design topics, two of the areas that I'm most proficient at; and have spent the better part of last decade working in. Within a few months, this blog was visited by over one million unique visitors, which to me felt like a certificate, a verification that I had learned well, and that it was time to dedicate more of my time to writing, than to developing websites.

Today, I'm happy to say that I have companies such as Shopify, eLance and MediaTemple on my writing portfolio. It's a nourishing accomplishment that keeps me inspired to strive for more, to become a better writer, a better listener, and definitely a better storyteller.

Writing careers fall into several categories, here are some of the most popular:

  • Copywriting -- copywriting is for writing sales copies, for writing small bits and pieces of text that either sell something, or inform the user about actionable steps. It's very similar to hiring someone who will do all the selling for you.
  • Ghostwriting -- ghostwriters is a writer who authors books, manuscripts, screenplays, scripts, articles, blog posts, stories, reports, whitepapers, or other texts that are officially credited to another person.
  • Content Writing -- content writers come in many different forms; blogs, magazines, journals, and many other websites can utilize the skills of a content writer. Bloggers are also part of this category.
  • In-house Writer -- in-house writers are usually the ones who have to do a little bit of everything, and it can certainly be a nice addition to your income to become one.

I feel as if these are the main writing careers and styles you're going to come across, and I myself specialize in Copywriting and Content Writing.

As a freelance writer, you're competing with other writing to get hired, and once you do, you still have to agree on how much you're going to get financially rewarded, usually it comes down to these two rates:

  • Hourly Rate -- this means you're getting paid by the hour. As a writer, you might have an estimate of how long a particular piece of content might take. Sometimes it may be two hours, sometimes five. Writing longer and more sophisticated content takes time, which means it's much more convenient to get paid by the hour, than a flat rate.
  • Flat Rate -- flat rates are a set price for one unit. You may get paid for each word you write, or simply by each finished piece of writing you provide.

It's very likely that you will be working with both at any given time, and here is why.

An hourly rate is often used when working with for a specific business that doesn't need your services all the time, but needs them often enough that you might get called in for work at any given time. It's like you're part of a business that is still growing and might need your help at any point in the near future. It's best to set an hourly rate with such clients, so as to avoid feeling disappointed that you spent so much time on doing something, but only got rewarded so little.

Whereas a flat rate is more often used with clients that require either daily or weekly articles/content at a very steady pace. If you're writing similar content, for example for sites such as BuzzFeed, you will usually have a good idea of how long it takes to create and research something, and because there is always work available -- it's just best to stick to a flat rate.

That's my personal take on how things are in the freelance writer sphere, as long as you can find clients to work with, it's never boring and there's always something new to learn, which also brings me to my last bit for this column: the benefits of writing and being a freelance writer.

1. Freedom

Just because you're working for someone else, doesn't mean you don't have freedom, more often than not you will be working with your own ideas and your own perceptions in how you see things, it's the language tone that you have to adjust for clients in most cases, and this gives you a sense of freedom, as well as fulfillment -- getting financially rewarded for writing about the things you already love and enjoy is a very uplifting feeling.

2. Experience

As you keep writing, you keep improving, so it doesn't matter whether you're writing for yourself or someone else, there's always something you can learn; new words, new phrases, ideas, and ways of doing things. Being rewarded for learning is the best!

3. Reputation

I do think that reputation matters, especially if you wish to work with clients that are above what you have been working with up until now. Writing helps you build an online portfolio, it challenges you to overcome obstacles along the way and to push for greater clients, and better rewards. It certainly isn't a career choice that leaves you doing the same thing over, and over again.

4. Profitable

You can easily turn your writing career into a business, and it's very likely that you have previously heard of marketing agencies selling their services. These very agencies are also the businesses that provide writers for some of the leading websites in the world. Starting your own agency, with the previously gained experience, could translate into a much brighter future.

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have, I have been doing this for a few years now, so I have a good grip on things, and it's always nice to help out. You can also subscribe to my personal blog SkillCode where I write about personal growth, and occasionally about writing.

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