The Seven Emotions Of Freelancing

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Anecdotes, List article, Literature/Writing, Misc.
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve done a wee bit of freelance work in the past. Oh yes sir, indeed. A review here, an article there, some copy over there perhaps, and those lyrics to that one Showaddywaddy song that I totally wrote and totally didn’t get any credit for (liability reasoning dictates that I stress that last bit was a lie. You never know who can’t take a joke these days…)

And recently I’ve been given some more to be getting on with whilst my evenings dwindle away. It’s a vocation that I feel has ups and downs. Doing something you like doing and being paid for it sounds like a pretty lush lifestyle. There are probably numerous places you can go on the Internet that can give you the lows and highs on working from home during your own time. I shall spare your intelligence by not repeating what they say here and instead present to you the seven emotions that come with freelancing.

(Friendly note: these are based off my own experiences and are not indicative of every freelance writer the world is constantly churning out. Because fuck you, that’s why…)

"I love not having to commute. But I love not wearing pants even more!"

1) Elation

You’ve been trying for months (possibly years) to get a hold on a small amount of work to be getting on with while you seek what you want in life. Anything to just beef up your CV and supplement your income. And then you get that one response that says you’re good enough to be given a shot. It might not be much but someone, somewhere, somenaked, has decided that you are acceptable enough to take on some freelance work.

Now you can pay your bills and eat. Ooh la laa!

2) Excitement

All systems are go. You wake up fresh on your first day ready to jump in front of your computer and begin your first assignment (unless it’s a one-off project). And you think ‘Hey, I’m working but I’m still at home. Look at me in my underpants. Working. Like a motherfucker. I can poop whenever I want!

It’s that initial reaction to being told that ‘hey, just sit right there and we’ll send the work to you. Nice underpants. Yeah, your webcam being on is not a requirement’

Let the freelancing begin!

3) Realisation

Things are going well. Your editor asks for some sample or tests articles to make sure you understand the task. You do them in record time and email them off. They email you back with a thumbs up. Possibly drawn in MS Paint. Either way it’s a go ahead to begin the real work.

But after a while you begin to realise that although you are right where you want to be (still in your underpants) you are also being paid to sit right there and work. That sounds good, right? Exactly what you wanted, yeah? But then it hits you that this is now a job! And unlike a regular job where you get paid by the hour – even if you doss about sniffing empty chairs when no one’s looking – this is work you are being paid for by the workload. Ergo: no finished work, no payment.

4) Boredom

Boredom may be a strong word to use in this sense, it must be said. Not all freelancing is boring. But if you’re like me and you do a lot of copywriting there is a lot of monotonous work that needs to be done. In my recent tasks I have literally had to rewrite similar articles almost twenty-five times, just changing keywords here and there.

It’s not hard work of course. But not only do you now have to contend with the fact that you aren’t getting anything until the work is done, you also have to get yourself into an autopilot mindset where you just do the work effectively, quickly but above all, correctly before you give yourself any leisure time.

5) Desperation

Every single student in the world has hit this feeling at some point. You know exactly what I mean. Your editor (or in the case of students: your professor) is emailing about those articles they sent for you to do. You worked it out with military precision exactly how many words / pages you’d need to do each day in order to get it done on time. So why are you less than a few hours away from the deadline with only half the work done?

Oh that’s right: you also work in close proximity to the Internet! That harbinger of distractions that somehow needs to be intertwined into your day to be used for researching those articles you were writing for payment. What Faustian devilry has been bestowed upon you mortal!

6) Utter relief

This happened to me tonight. The work I was doing didn’t technically have to be in for probably a couple more days. But with being back at my regular job tomorrow and the other project that someone else is asking to be completed shortly I spent a large portion of my free time sat in front of a word processor with the nubs of my burning fingers inching to the finish line.

So when you send off that last article or assignment the very world and all its toils life immediately from your shoulders and your editor’s shoe somehow shifts and loosens itself form betwixt your buttocks. And that’s when you break out the whiskey…

7) Pride

I’m ending this on a positive note because I want people (especially if my editor is reading) to understand that I enjoy what I do because it gives me a new outlook on how writing in the freelance world works. Writing is something I enjoy and being on my laptop is something I am want to do on a constant basis. So to combine those two elements and receive a small payment for it makes sense.

I am given the chance to hone in on a skill I want to be fantastic at. I may never get the chance to help co-write a screenplay by an established writer who knows it will sell millions. But I take some degree of pride in my life and some solace in the fact that if I am willing to delve deep into the world of commercial copywriting or business blogging it shows that I am a professional with nothing left to lose.

Leave a comment

  1. Mark/Angel says:

    Although I have yet to be paid for any freelance work I’ve done, I can understand every single one of these emotions. I’m going through most of them right now.
    Great article, well-written.

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