time commitment needed to freelance?

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Scout

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 11, 2016
Messages
58
Reaction score
18
Location
NJ
Newbie here. Looking to freelance as a side gig.

I work full time, and I am also writing a novel.

Before I do a deep dive, My question is for those who currently or have previously done freelance writing: what's the daily time commitment if I was looking to earn about $500 a month?
thanks in advance.
 

Enlightened

Always Learning
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
4,850
Reaction score
161
Location
Colorado
I know absolutely nothing of this venture, but here is some information to consider until someone comes along who can offer more....

1) What kind of freelance do you plan on doing; e.g. magazine or newspaper articles?

2) Because you noted you were a newbie, does that mean to writing or just freelancing?

3) Does the industry you want to write for allow freelance writing (e.g. video games), or is it worked into the job descriptions of other people on the team?

Your local public library (specifically their digital eBooks, but might have them in hard copy form too) might have wonderful titles on working freelance. After a quick search, I found these eBooks for offer at mine....

a) The Writer's Legal Guide: An Author's Guild Desk Reference (several chapters are germane to this endeavor).

b) The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing by Zachary Petit
 
Last edited:

mewellsmfu

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 20, 2015
Messages
478
Reaction score
175
Saying you want to write freelance as a side gig is the equivalent of me saying I've decided to make extra cash by singing. I sound like a moose with a toothache. I have no professional singing credentials or experience. And I lack contacts in the business. Why would anyone pay me $500 a month to sing?

So, tell me, why would anyone pay you $500 a month to write? What do you bring to the table? Are you a talented nonfiction writer? Do you have contacts in the freelance world? Current clips? Editorial contacts? A track record of producing clean, accurate, well-researched copy? Do you know how to find great sources and conduct efficient interviews? Do you think that writing nonfiction is an easy way to make side cash?

There is an old joke that goes like this: A writer and a surgeon were talking at a party and the surgeon says, "One day, I'm going to write a book." And the writer replies, "And one day I'm going to do a heart transplant."

Essential's suggestions are good ones. But freelancing on the side because you think it's a quick and dirty way to make an extra buck or two is like me offering to sing at weddings and concerts for extra cash. If it was easy, then everyone would do it.
 

lonestarlibrarian

senior bean supervisor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
704
Reaction score
106
Website
librariansaide.blogspot.com
Freelancing seems to be a very different gig from other types of writing. If I want to contribute something for consideration in an anthology, I'll read the rules, write something that matches what they seem to be looking for, turn it in, and get the yea or the nay. If it's a yea, I sign my contract, it gets published, I get my payment and my copies, and I rinse and repeat. If it's a nay, I set it aside, keep an eye open for where it might be welcome in the future, and get on to the next project with some other market.

I've tried responding to a few calls for nonfiction pieces. One was a local autumn events magazine for a place I'd visited the previous year, so I had a bunch of photos and had participated in some interesting things that I figured I could write about in a knowledgeable kind of way. Another one was for a homeschool magazine. The travel/tourist events magazine was like, "No thanks; we're looking for something with x, y, and z." and I took that as a "reject/revise", so I revised it to include x, y, and z and resubmitted... and they're like, "No means no, go away." And the homeschool magazine seemed to like my piece, and asked me for a photo and a bio, but never bothered to give a contract or actually give me an acceptance. I only found that my piece was published many months later... and I'd never been paid the advertised rate for it, either.

Sure, there have been a few anthologies that never bothered to pay me what had been promised. But these days, I'm sticking more with short fiction, because I was getting frustrated trying to figure out what I was doing wrong with the unwritten rules of freelance submissions. :)
 
Last edited:

Scout

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 11, 2016
Messages
58
Reaction score
18
Location
NJ
I was thinking more along the lines of the most entry level beginner type stuff, such as seo and content type stuff.
 

lonestarlibrarian

senior bean supervisor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
704
Reaction score
106
Website
librariansaide.blogspot.com
I used to do a little SEO and content type stuff, but that was back in the 2010-2011'ish time period.

The hardest part was trying to write to computer-generated titles, which frequently made absolutely no sense, or were often pretty stupid if you tried it in reality ("How to Build a Rabbit Hutch Out of Wire Shelves"), or trying to write something super-nichey with a serious face. ("How to Make Forensic Science Trading Cards".) Out of the clear/useful titles, you had to come up with a fresh way of explaining things, so that it wouldn't get rejected for "matching existing content elsewhere" (ie, suspicions of plagiarism). For example, I wrote one article about how to make a javascript calendar and another about how to expand/collapse text on a web page, but both got flagged by the system and had to be manually reviewed to make sure I wasn't just copy-pasta'ing someone else's work.

I made okay pizza money on places like Demand, but ultimately quit, because I felt like I was doing the equivalent of cluttering up the Internet search results with junk articles, and it was hard to get in and snag the decent titles before someone else did, and it was annoying to sift through pages' worth of writing prompts that no one in their right mind would want to write in order to find one or two that caught my interest. :p

After Demand shut down, I tried a few times to get back into it, doing stuff like writing product descriptions for sites, or running searches on key words and typing in the top results that would come back, or transcribing audio into text. But those didn't pay nearly as well as the junky articles, and so I abandoned that, too.

Perhaps the current landscape is more profitable/more entry-level-friendly? What two or three places were you thinking about trying out? Give them a go, and tell us how they look after a few months. :)
 

Featured Book