My Career Path: Liberating Freelance Writing

How I Got From Corporate Tech Writing to Freelance Content Writing Part 4

I have been working as a writer in the IT industry for the last 5 years. Tech writing, marketing, SMM, PR — I’ve done it all. And now that I’m a freelance content writer, I want to share the story of how I got here in a series of posts “My Career Path”: Strict Technical Writing, Lovely Marketing, Vigorous PR and Liberating Freelance Writing.

In the final chapter of my career series, I’ll tell you how I got into freelancing, what’s my productivity secret and the pros and cons of being a freelance writer.

I tried freelance writing before I even knew there was a word for it. It didn’t go well. When I was studying at the university, I looked up writing jobs I could do remotely. Usually, they had to be commercial texts written in Russian. Needless to say, I didn’t get any of them. I’ve written dozens of test pieces and none of them were answered with as little as a simple “Sorry, you didn’t meet our requirements.” All these potential employers vanished without explanations, and I was left with the feeling that I was a lousy author. Only about a year after I started working as a technical writer for an IT company, I managed to shake the feeling. Now, I am a freelance content writer confident in the quality of my works (sometimes maybe even too confident), and here’s how I got here.

I took a pregnancy test the morning before my second Lviv IT Arena, and I knew right away I wasn’t going to attend next year — it was positive! It was finally positive! Fast-forward a whole winter of being pregnant (and being a real bitch because of it, seriously, like Phoebe from “Friends”).

When I was 6 months pregnant, I took my maternity leave and enjoyed every minute of finally resting. For like a week or two, then I got bored. When you’re used to working and you love your job, not doing it makes you feel incomplete. Plus, I didn’t want to sink in my pregnancy, hitting every maternity cliché in the book.

That’s when my friend offered me to write a couple or two articles for a small Web development company from another city. The freelance writing job he offered was perfect for me at the time. I don’t know if this was because I was such a good match for them or they didn’t want to mess with a mean pregnant lady, but they fulfilled all my requirements, including the payment amount and method, the deadlines and the amount of time I spent writing per week. No pressure, just simple and transparent cooperation. Plus, my works weren’t judged, rewritten or edited by anyone — at last, I had no supervisor! For the first time in my career, MY text was actually MY text! The feeling when you see YOUR work published just the way you meant it to be was very inspiring.

This was the starting point of my freelance writing career. Having tried working in different departments, writing different types of content, I realized that this is what I actually wanna do — write articles on tech-related subjects from home.

What about the age-old life-work balance? I believe, I learned to master the equilibrium between handling a newborn and writing content pretty well. My son actually unlocked a new achievement in me — productivity. I never knew how incredibly productive I can be if I need to. My friend, who is also one of my customers, once said: “I wonder if I need to have a baby to be as productive as you are.” Because when I know I only have two hours to work per day, I put a whole day’s work into them.

Freelance Writing Pros and Cons

I’ve been freelancing for over a year now, and here are the pros I’ve found for myself:

  • You are your own master. I cannot stop enjoying it! The sensation of being your own boss, editor, accountant and even secretary is very rewarding.
  • You can choose what to write. I can allow myself not to work on projects I don’t like.
  • You are free to write whenever and wherever you want. Comfortable writing in a coffee house during lunch or in your bed in the middle of the night? Go ahead! Customers don’t care how you work, they just want the job done.
  • It’s good for your self-esteem. I’ve never been more confident in my abilities than now.

But, of course, there are certain cons of freelance writing:

  • No networking. I’m an introvert, sometimes a passive-aggressive one, but I’m not against friendly networking sessions with fellow writers. When you’re in an office, networking is something you do without noticing. As a freelancer, you have to initiate this kind of interaction by going to meetups or conferences. That’s too exhausting for me.
  • No corporate parties. It may be the isolation women face on maternity leaves, but I probably miss the parties the most. And it’s not like we had some great ones… I just wanna have fun! Are there any corporate parties for freelancers?
  • You don’t really have weekends, days off or sick leaves. Though as a freelancer you are free to choose when you’re working and resting, it often happens that I have to work on weekends since this is when my husband can watch the baby.

Throughout my whole working experience, I’ve been regretting the fact that instead of moving vertically, my career has been developing horizontally: from junior tech writer to junior marketing specialist, to junior PR specialist and now a starting freelance writer. But every step of my intricate career journey helped me get to where I am now, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Thanks for following my looooong story! If you have any questions, I’ll be glad to answer them in the comments. 
Stay tuned!

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