In this writer job description, you’ll learn how to write for money. Here’s how a freelance writer and blogger sells magazine articles, and how she started her career as a writer…
“Your writing career will be different than other writers’ careers, and that’s okay,” says Cherie Burbach, published author, freelance writer, and blogger. “Listen to what other freelancers and authors recommend, but do your homework. Make it work for you.”
Like Burbach, I’m a full-time writer and blogger — and it works for me not to pitch article ideas to magazine editors. Instead, I focus on earning a living from my blogs. Other writers make money working as copywriters, ghostwriters, novelists, writing coaches, or web writers. The possibilities are endless — especially if you’re creative, reliable, and dedicated to building your writing career.
Here’s how it works for Burbach, plus career tips for aspiring freelancers.
Job Description of a Successful Freelance Writer
Burbach writes for several print and web publications, as well as private clients. She also write novels, nonfiction books, and poetry collections. Her first novel, For Those Who Knew Zach, is told in connected short stories; it’s about a philandering charmer’s collision with fate. She is the author of three poetry books, including A New Dish and The Difference Now.
Freelance writers do a lot of research – in-person, in books, and online. For instance, Burbach used her experience meeting her husband online to write At the Coffee Shop, a humorous look at the world of internet dating. She went on over 60 coffee dates in just six months! She met lots of great people; one of whom she married a year later.
How Much Money Do Freelance Writers Make?
“The average wage for freelancers various greatly,” says Burbach. “Writers earn anywhere from a couple hundred dollars a month to several thousand. I know freelance writers who are at all different levels when it comes to income.”
Some writers blog or write books to supplement their income, while others write for private clients – it’s different for everyone. “Education can also vary from one freelancer to another,” she says. “Having a degree of any sort never hurts, although it’s not required. More education in a certain area usually means that a writer can specialize and charge more for their work, which is a plus.”
The Best Parts of Working as a Freelancer
Burbach loves the flexibility and freedom of a freelance schedule. Every day is different, and her days fly by!
“I also like the different subject areas I cover – anything from football to dating – and the various pieces I write: press releases, white papers, magazine articles, books, ad copy, and blog posts,” she says. “Being a freelancer also means that I get to work on fiction writing – which is really my passion.”
Writers have to be able to work alone, and independently. If you’re not sure about writing but you know you want to work alone, read Best Jobs for Introverts and Quiet People.
The Downside of Freelance Writing Jobs
“The uncertainty can be difficult to deal with,” says Burbach. “Income can vary depending on which types of clients you have and the assignments you work on. When I worked in the corporate world, it was nice to be able to know exactly what my paychecks were going to be, and with freelancing you have an idea…but it does change.”
And, it’s difficult to get health insurance in the United States when you’re a freelancer. “A lot of freelancers I know are either married (and get insurance from a spouse) or pay ridiculous health insurance rates,” she says. “Some go without health insurance. As a Type 1 diabetic, I really think everyone should have access to insurance, regardless of what field you work in.”
If you’re a blogger, read How to Transition From Blogger to Becoming a Freelance Writer.
The Biggest Surprise About a Writing Career
Burbach’s articles are online, which surprises some of the people she knows. “They’re aware I write for a living, but they’re surprised when they stumble across something I wrote,” she says. “Other times people are surprised to find out how much I work during the day. I have office hours and can’t take time off during the day usually without planning ahead.”
People may think “being a writer” means sitting in your jammies and watching TV all day – but that’s the last thing successful writers do!
Career Tips for Writers and Freelancers
“Be persistent!” says Burbach. “The writing life is filled with rejections, and it really isn’t personal.” If you want to succeed as a writer, you have to learn from the times you get turned down.
She also encourages writers to be smart about finances. “Before you get into freelancing full-time, make sure you have enough money to support yourself,” she says.
Also – explore the different types of writing careers! Travel writing, web content writing, copywriting, blogging, and ghostwriting are just a few ways to make money as a writer.
If you have any questions or thoughts on writing as a career, please comment below.
I (Laurie) prefer blogging to freelance writing for magazines. If you want to give blogging a go, read What is a Good Blog? 10 Tips From the Best Bloggers.