The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says 70% of people who pursue a writing career are choosing to work as freelancers. It estimates employment of writers and authors will grow 6% from 2010 to 2020 spurred mainly by online publications and web services that are rapidly growing in number and sophistication.
If you have always wanted to make a living writing, the web writing space is one of the most promising options available. MBO Partners, Inc., a business services company, projects freelance workers will outnumber salaried employees by 2020. Freelance marketplace Elance predicts 54% of small business employees will be online contractors by 2017. Clearly, working online is the next big frontier that is bolstering demand for writers and authors who have digital and multimedia experience.
Of course, there will be strong competition in the web writing space given the increasing number of people attracted to freelance writing online. However, the rising numbers of online media properties, declining costs of self-publishing and growing popularity of electronic books (e-books) means opportunities to find employment online can only increase. Here’s why I love writing for the web, and why it is one of the hottest jobs today you should love too.
Writers and authors are some of the most contented workers on the planet. These professionals are not contented because they earn the most money for their work, but because they have total freedom to do what they love. If you don’t realize how glorious this is, it’s because you’ve never had to work in a 9-5 treadmill that drains every ounce of spirit and soul in you. I write online because I love it. Words are a true expression of who I am; a reflection of my soul. I happily write on top of my regular work because it is fun for me. If I make some extra money doing it, that’s even better.
Writers have total freedom to pour out their hearts and minds in writing for others to enjoy. It may seem like just mere words, but sometimes those words sink into people. Those words have an impact on people’s lives. The very words change people’s thinking, perspectives and life stories. Yes, mare words can encourage someone to dream again. What nobler calling can there be than to work as a skilled wordsmith and custodian of words that impact people’s lives and change our world?
Writers online are de-facto entrepreneurs. The freelance writing lifestyle we lead affords us freedom and flexibility to pursue other ‘passion ventures’ like launching a new startup or writing books and novels. I started by accident as a freelance writer and now I do all sorts of amazing things that I couldn’t do before, such as web design, running a blog and consulting with other exciting projects like building apps in the offing. Is that cool or what?
Online writers enjoy incredible freedom to set their own hours. I use things when I know other people can’t quite use them due to rigid work schedules. I drive around town for what I need during the day when the roads are clear and stay up late to finish work if I have to. I realized it doesn’t make a speck of difference if I work from 1 am to 8 am instead of 9 am to 5 pm. As a freelance writer, you are paid to get the work done on time. That’s it! When you actually put in the work to get things done is up to you. I love that.
Commuting consumes 60 or more hours a week in the US. My commute is less than a minute and nobody cares when it actually starts. I just make sure I get the work done on time and I get paid for it. Needless to say, not having to commute saves money, time and can make you and your family a lot happier—just the way every job ever was meant to be.
This is a big one for me because I’ve never been much of a suit-and-tie-all-day kind of person. In fact, I’ve discovered checking into my home office in sweats with a cup of coffee in hand and a cigar on my lips ups my productivity. Okay, I am kidding about the cigar part. But, seriously, “appropriate” office wear doesn't feature in my morning work routine and I love that. I wonder who wouldn’t want to wake up each day, wear whatever they want, turn on the computer and just start working.
If you want to be a country singer, you’d probably want to go to Nashville to pursue your dream. If you want to be a movie star, then off to Hollywood you'd go. However, if you want complete freedom to live anywhere in the world and still be able to pursue a writing career, then be a freelance writer. With the advent of communication tools like e-mail and Skype, you can write professionally from anywhere in the world. I’ve lived in the UK as a student, South Africa as a volunteer and Japan as a tourist without ever having to forgo my writing.
Every workplace I've been to or heard of is riddled with rules, regulations and directives that are intended to prevent laziness, unethical behavior and lawsuits. I have nothing against rules, but I just can’t help but feel office rules are designed for morass people who can’t be trusted to tie their own shoelaces, let alone do their own jobs. Writing online allows me to escape this web of rules and office politics that many find themselves trapped in at work. As a web writer, I just don’t worry about crippling regulations on what I’m allowed or not allowed to do. I know if I don’t work or if I do a shoddy job, then I don’t get paid. That realization alone is enough to instill a sense of self-discipline and responsibility that office rules can never give.
No one day is ever the same for web writers. One day you are researching a client’s project or interviewing a subject and the other day you are writing and editing your own work. It can get pretty lonely working by yourself all day on the Internet and this, oftentimes, is the main reason freelancers return to the world of day jobs in search of more camaraderie and opportunity to socialize. But, writing online is far from boring, repetitive or monotonous. Web writers are paid to learn amazing new things and then use the pen/keyboard to tell people all about it, which is pretty exciting.
Writing online is one of the few jobs currently experiencing exponential growth and high levels of job security. If you are writing and making money online, it’s because you kept at it for zero reward until that happened. You endured rejections until you got where you have plenty of work and side projects that bring in enough to free you from too much money worries. When I first starting out, I accepted projects that were less interesting, worthwhile or rewarding both personally and money-wise. But, I had passion for writing and remained focused on making my dream of earning a living from my writing a reality. Some people want to quit their jobs and go write instead because they hate their job, but that is the wrong attitude. If you must quit your job, do so out of love for writing not out of hate for your job.
Why do you love writing for the Internet?
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by Hugh MacLeod
Ever wonder what it really takes to make a living as a creative person in today's complicated world?
MacLeod presents some witty keys for creative success, including "ignore everybody. Why should you "ignore everybody"?
Because, he writes, nobody else can tell you whether your idea is worthwhile. People can give you advice, but at the end of the day, it's your decision. The more original an idea, the less helpful the advice is going to be.
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