What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Freelance Writer?
You enjoy writing, you're interested in a wide variety of subjects and you like research. If this describes you, then you might consider entering the field of freelance writing. Just as with holding any job, though, being a freelance writer has benefits and drawbacks. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Freelance Writing Defined
If you work as a freelance writer, you produce and sell written content to magazines, advertising agencies, book publishers and more. This usually occurs on a per-piece basis, although some freelance writers have contracts with publishing companies to produce multiple articles, stories or other works. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this field tends to draw many entrants, so you could face heavy competition for jobs (www.bls.gov).
To become a freelance writer, you will probably need some training in the field, usually in the form of a bachelor's degree in journalism or English. Once you have obtained this training and entered the job market, you could find several advantages.
Flexible Work Hours
Because freelance writers are paid for what they produce, they can work whenever they find it convenient. This could be to your advantage if you enjoy setting your own schedule or working odd hours, such as in the middle of the night. You will also be able to take on as much or as little work as your schedule will allow.
Business Expense Deductions
As a freelance writer, you will probably be classified as self-employed by the IRS. Many times, this will allow you to take business-related deductions on your taxes, usually related to a home office. There are many rules governing which deductions you'll qualify for, though, so you may wish to research carefully or consult a professional.
Freedom to Pursue Personal Interests
If you work as a freelance writer, you would have the freedom to accept assignments you find interesting. You would also be able to propose pieces on topics you enjoy or sell the works you've created on topics that interest you.
While freelance writing can be rewarding, the BLS notes that it can also be stressful. Even with self-motivation and self-discipline, you could still be susceptible to some of the disadvantages of the career.
Inconsistent Work Flow
You may find plenty of work as a freelance writer, but you may also experience dry spells. Since your services are on a per-piece or contract basis, you'd probably need to search for work fairly often to ensure that you'd make enough money.
Many freelance writing projects come with deadlines, and you may find yourself putting in long hours in order to turn a piece in on time. The BLS also notes that these extended periods of work, many times conducted on a computer, can bring on fatigue and bodily strain.
Lack of Benefits
As a self-employed worker, you'll be responsible for obtaining your own healthcare insurance, since an employer won't provide this service for you. You'll also be responsible for withholding money from your income to pay taxes; the self-employed do not have money taken out of every paycheck for taxes like regular employees do.
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