Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Make Money Writing Online, Two–Freelancing: The Reality

We’re talking about freelance writing in this Ebook I am writing, and specifically internet freelance writing.   In chapter one  (it feels a bit presumptuous to title a post a chapter, but forgive me, I’m a fiction writer at heart) we discussed the dream of freelance writing.

So now it is time to take a cold, hard look at the reality.  Feel that cold water splashing over you?  That is the wake-up call flowing about you, drenching everything.  Sigh.   That is the chill you feel as you print out yet another manuscript, try to figure out how much postage it AND the SASE require, and then realize you have to go to the PO after all because those stupid Homeland Security rules mean you must hand the heavier envelopes to a postal employee.  There goes the dream of working in your jammies all day.  As a reward, you get to sit back and wait to hear from the editor. 

If you’re lucky, you won’t have turned 80 by the time you hear back.  No, if you’re lucky you’ll only be 79. 

Because we’re talking about relying on snail mail here folks.  About sending a manuscript to an editor who is likely so overwhelmed with manuscripts she hasn’t seen the surface of her desk in years.  About keeping fingers crossed that an article you’ve slaved over, interviewed people for, written and rewritten will be accepted when the odds of that are really pretty low.

Traditional freelancing requires heavy use of your computer printer.  You’ll be printing out query letters and manuscripts and sending them by snail mail.  You’ll be dealing with publication requirements that say "no simultaneous submissions" (which is the biggest load of bull ever)and editorial assistants who lose your work and people who for the most part don’t care you exist.

Sounds like fun, eh? 

When I did most of my freelancing the traditional way, it was just such a damned hassle.   Checking magazine guidelines, trying to figure out the correct editor to send work to, poring over magazines and newspapers to see if my story idea fit.

And then, half the time it fit so well I got back the response that they’d just done a story on that topic.

Or, I never heard back from them and when I contacted the publication, I was told they’d get right on it–only to never hear from them again.

Or, I heard back from an editor TWO YEARS after I sent the query–and they wanted the story in two weeks.

To me, the hassles of traditional free-lance writing career way outpaced the benefits and I was never very good at it.  It was the little things that bugged me: 

  • I hated contacting people for quotes and information for a query, not knowing if the thing was going to be published or not.
  • I hated waiting in line at the post office and trying to explain to the clerk how I needed to figure out return postage for a SASE.
  • I hated getting those thin envelopes that signified a rejection in the mail.
  • I hated printing out multiple copies of stories to send to literary magazines with a subscription base of 10: the editors, their spouses, and a stray parent and cousin.   
  • I hated trying to get the flow of the work established: I never could figure out how many queries I needed to send out to get an assignment and it was such a flippin’ hassle to send out the queries I never got enough assigments.

But all that changed when I discovered the world of internet freelancing.  Now I own a Mercedes and a mansion make more than I ever did when I was doing traditional freelancing.  And it isn’t a hassle.  I love it. 

My family would probably tell you I love it a bit too much, because I spend a wee bit too much time at my computer.  I have to tell myself, "step away from the computer" at regular intervals or else I’ll look up and realize that hours have gone by.

Like right now.  My dog is pacing in the kitchen because it is past his dinner time, which is my cue to end this post/chapter.

Next time, we’ll look at some of the benefits of internet freelancing.

Meanwhile, if anybody has an freelance horror stories, they’d like to share, post a comment.  I’d love to hear them.

8 thoughts on “Make Money Writing Online, Two–Freelancing: The Reality

  1. Jenn

    Dang, you are constantly keeping me on the edge of my seat. This is something I really interested in.

  2. Teodor

    I’m not a freelancer but your story is interesting. If zI understood well, you make money from writing, as a freelancer, so it’s possible. A technical advice, if you don’t mind, about writing articles here: I’d avoid placing too many links in the body; this can distract readers from your main content. I only place links when is a MUST and at the end of article. It’s not only my opinion , many writers agree with this.

  3. Don Williams

    Oh, I just love how you write…. keeps me on the seat of my pants! I drink in your every word.

    I’m not into horror, so, I can’t help you out there. All I know is that the older I get, the more horror I feel each time I look into the mirror.

    I agree, I must add, before leaving, with Jean who thinks that you should keep your links at the end of the article. I do because I know that people will click them, leaving you or my post before we want them to.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing all of this…. ‘ME LOVES IT…… ME LOVES IT A LOT’!

  4. RennyBA

    How exciting – congrats and you know I’m amazed and impressed. The best part is that you even share your experience, thoughts and knowledge in the process with us.

    A great inspiration to all of us who might like to do the same you know :-)

  5. Square1

    The only freelance horror story (and that is a bit of an exaggeration of course) was recently. I submitted an article to my on-line freelance site and it was rejected. Why? Well because part of it appeared on another web-site and plagiarism is against the rules. Never mind that the site it appears on is my blog, and has the same user name. Who has time for details like that though right?

  6. Charlotte

    Hey Everyone, I’m glad that you are enjoying the series and finding it useful. Gives me the impetus I need to keep going.

    I’ll think about the links, maybe putting them at the end. I always feel like lots of links are good, especially if they link right back to this blog!

    Square 1, your horror story made me laugh out loud. I’ve worked for companies that made me put articles through plagarism checkers, and sometimes the oddest things come up–like strange phrases you then have to change. But plagarizing yourself, that’s a good one.

  7. Karoly Domonyi


    Your site is one of my favorites seen around blog explosion. Keep up the good work.
    I enjoy reading your blog. It is great to find someone who can find the fun things in life!

    I wish you the best in 2007.

    Please take a look at my websites as well. I look forward to developing a friendship and networking with you. Let me know if there is something I can do to assist you with your business.

    With Regards,

    Karoly Domonyi
    http://www.Aries.hu, AddWebSiteFree.com

  8. Charlotte

    Hi Karoly,

    Thanks for the compliments and I’m glad I’m one of your faves. Your websites are extensive and amazing!


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