Writing As a Day Job

Funny how quickly things can change. For about three weeks now, I have been taking on several freelance writing projects from clients after posting an ad on kijiji (A classified-style site) that I was available as a writer. What brought this on? Well, my job situation has been pretty shaky this year. I was working part time when I started taking on some writing projects. I thought I would see for myself if one could make a (decent) living as a budding freelance writer.

Then, the company closed down and I was laid off with 4 day’s notice.

Without sounding desperate (I think), I phoned my main client and asked if there was a possibility that I could write full time (since she said that she has 12 full time writers and 15 part time writers to take up the overflow of work). She laughed good-naturedly and said she could not promise me anything, but she would give me what she could.

After a few slow-ish weeks (Which I am still very grateful for), this week has finally come. And it will be the very first week where I will be making a full time income from writing, much to my overly concerned parents’ relief. 🙂

I always thought I would never want to write nonfiction being a very creative person, but I have to say that I enjoy it. You are constantly using your mind not to only to write in a gripping yet intelligent way, but to do the research needed to sound like you know what you are talking about. Topics range from health and fitness (My specialty) to cycling to car motors to business articles. It’s a pretty dynamic business and sometimes you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, can I really write about this topic?” But one thing I have learned is that with any amount of research, you can make anything sound convincing.

Another thing I learned is that I could see myself eventually writing for a magazine that is specific to things I am passionate about. Educational articles aren’t my top choice, but they are mostly supporting me right now. Down the road, though, I plan to apply to a few magazines and maybe earn a steadier income.

One day, I wrote about 20,000 words worth of articles and I was like “Sweet. This is great practise for NaNo!” Then I sat there for a second. Uh oh. Wait. I will be writing 8-9 hours per day and then coming home to write a novel? Yeah. One good thing is that there is a world of difference between writing fiction and writing articles.  I seem to have no issues coming home to work on my book after a day of hitting deadlnes for the clients.

Hm, I think I am up for this challenge. I think.

Two questions:

Do you, or have you considered writing articles for a living?

What are you doing to prepare for NaNo in the final days before it begins?

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28 thoughts on “Writing As a Day Job

  1. Hi, Sara:
    I have written several hundred pounds worth of corporate documentation over the years, which is great training for writing corporate documentation, though of little help in doing anything else, I find. I did give serious consideration to writing for magazines, but after all those years in software development I have acquired a deep-seated hatred for deadlines. Besides, I kept putting off sending query letters to the submissions departments. In all truth, I do admire anyone who can make a living working for magazines; I know of several who do make a decent living doing just that. I wish you well of it; don’t ever give up on yourself!

    1. Yes, there is a stress level that develops once you have to hit deadlines. In particular, when you are done a document and a client that pays well below what your work is worth asks for a re-write. I almost threw in the towel after one client refused to pay me after 6 hours of work. Like, what can tyou really do? Take them to court over it? Nah.

      But the last two weeks have been good. I do hope to get out of the educational stuff and more into opinion article stuff. We shall see. I think I could write for a living because I can’t stand customer service jobs. It seems like most jobs require some degree of that.

      Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  2. I’ve thought about it, but for me I think it would ruin writing for me. I even started as a major in print journalism. I don’t mean to say I think this should be the case for all writers, just that I don’t think it will work for me. Fortunately I have other storytelling skills to keep me employed while I keep the novel a hobby—though a more dedicated, I’m-determined-to-get-this-published hobby. Glad you found a freelance gig though! 😀

    1. Thanks. 🙂 Yeah, I used to feel the same way about nonfiction writing. When I tried it, I was like hmm… I think I actually like this. I am not a customer service kind of girl and that was what I forced myself to stomach through as a career for a while.

      My ultimate goal would be to write full time as a novelist and then write for a magazine or two on the side. Now, that would be sweet.

      All the best with your current novel! What is it about? And do you write short stories for employment? I am curious. 🙂

      1. It’s a YA fantasy about a part-demon teenager trying to find his place in a world where angels and demons are at odds and humans are caught int he middle of it. As for work, mostly I do graphic design, but sometimes I produce videos and there’s a lot of storytelling that goes into them. It’s nice because I get to do those great things and then there’s all this creativity untapped for writing when I get home. 🙂

      2. That sounds like a great job and it would certainly be an inspiring kick for when you got home to write. All the best with your novel. 🙂 It sounds like an interesting premise.

  3. i work as content writer for my day job and i know what you mean when you say coming home from 8-9hours of writing and then working on NaNo…
    often i wish i could do freelance but then again i cant afford to quit my full time job…
    i havent prepared anything but a mental sketch of how to start…i have question regarding NaNo ..can you help?

    1. That’s cool you can write as a day job. Yes, freelance can pay well but it takes time for eveyrthing to snow ball and some weeks can be slow.

      For NaNo, I am going to work on book two in a series I have been working on alongside everything else. What questions do you have for NaNo? I hope I can help! 🙂

      1. i was wondering do we have to write every day…? what if i missed a day or two…? i mean im scared that the 9 hour job might end up making me miss a night or two..what then? is that the end of NanO?
        Sorry if the question sounded silly…m sort of new to NaNo 😛

      2. It’s ok haha. 🙂 I am so new too! This is my first year. Now, I am pretty sure that you don’t have to write everyday as long as you complete the 50,000 words at the end of the month.

        Not a silly question at all.

  4. I recently started writing articles for a magazine. Though it is a nice sideline, I don’t think doing it for a living is an option at this point. Who knows though, anything is possible.

    1. That’s great you started with a magazine. It would be awesome just to see your name in print on a regular basis. Which publication is it? Hopefully it can move into something with more hours down the road.

  5. Good luck writing during the day and completing Nano! I have faith in you Sara!

    I used to write for newspapers, full-time, usually as an editor of the publication, which meant I got to write but also do editing, layout, photography, management, etc. I loved the mix! But the amount of work–especially all the evening meetings I had to cover–were too much when I had kids. I still miss it. I find freelance writing stressful–trying to come up with the next pitch, making one appointment in the middle of an otherwise empty day, etc.–but I used to do that, too, and I may again. I did start editing people’s manuscripts this spring, and that is a ton of fun, it fits in my schedule, and it uses a slightly different writing muscle than what it takes to write fiction.

    I keep thinking, lately, about how writers do all kinds of writing (and writing-related activities) if they want to pursue it full time and also make some money. It sounds like you’re doing great on that path! Congrats.

    1. That’s neat you’ve done all that. It sounds like a lot of fun to me! Then again, I don’t want kids and I love being busy through the week.

      That is a great idea that you chose to do editing. I have been thinking of pursuing that as the next step. It would certainly be a bit more enjoyable than coming up with things to write for corporate people. Hm, maybe I will advertise and see if anyone bites. At least editing stories would be more in the creative vein, eh?

      I just feel like my head is spinning with all these options and veins right now. lol.

      And thank you for having faith in me. Do you also plan to do NaNo?

      1. Couldn’t hurt to put your name out there as an editor, Sara! I didn’t advertise; people came to me and now I’m taking a hiatus to work on my small press. But I love the work and will look for more clients at some point.

        And no–I’ve never done NaNo. I don’t work too well with word count goals and especially with kids I don’t want to focus on writing for a month. I do try to get a little done each day (which, again due to the small press taking over my life, hasn’t happened lately). Maybe one year I’ll try it though!

      2. Congrats on the small press. 🙂 It sounds challenging yet fun. And that is pretty awesome that you did not have to do any advertising in order to get editing work. How much do you charge btw? I will be needing a good editor once I am done making changes to two of my novels. lol

  6. Good for you Sara! 🙂

    I think writing articles is still creative. You’re creating something interesting that someone will enjoy reading. I’d LOVE to do it as a full time job, but I’m not knowledgeable on any specific subject 😦

    Don’t talk to me about Nano….I still haven’t made a decision lol

    Xx

    1. lol Vikki you could absolutely do freelance writing! It does take a lot of time to do research. It’s the 40 pagers where I’m like…why am I even doing this? lol But then the pay comes and I feel happy about it. Usually most clients just want a page or two so the work balances out.

      lol NaNo…wow only two days away? I am excited and nervous all at once.

  7. I think writing non-fiction is excellent practice for fiction writers. I’ve spent the past 5 years doing technical (legal) writing and I think it makes me: (1) a faster typer, (2) a quicker “sentence constructer”, and (3) as you said, I’m not burnt out on writing because nonfic is so different. I’m so excited for you and I hope the writing gig works out well for you!

    1. Very true and all good points. 🙂 That is awesome you do technical writing through the day. One of the best things I found is that I type even faster than I did before. Yay!

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