Often masked as ‘tough love’, the myths surrounding freelance writing are limitless
They range from hindering you and your confidence, to outright stopping you in your tracks. They can leave most beginners in the freelance writing world confused or worried about their futures.
I’ve been there. Your worries are 100% valid.
But believing and spreading these myths is like asking an artist if they’re poor or telling a plumber that they’re uneducated.
Let’s kibosh them right here and now.
Myth 1: You need a degree
From one-off gigs to contract work, 95% of the freelance writing jobs you’ll find don’t require a degree. A piece of paper won’t prove you’re a valuable writer- that part is up to you and what you have to show for your writing.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Having a degree in the field you’d like to write about, or even a degree in some form of writing can be quite helpful, but it’s not required to be successful.
If you really want a one-up, skip college. I recommend you got or online courses or certifications from experts in your field/niche.
Myth 2: You can’t make a living
We need to get this one out of the way as soon as possible.
There are countless freelance writers who live off of their writing. They put in the blood, sweat, and tears in the beginning, as you have to do with any online business. They stuck to it and treated it like a serious job. Now they’re reaping the rewards of their work.
I used to be worried sick about this, but after joining online communities and groups for freelancing, I was surprised to find how many writers were able to quit their day jobs and focus on their businesses full-time.
You’ll probably hear otherwise from a vocal crowd. And they’re right to an extent- if you don’t focus, put in the bare minimum, and quit well you’re ahead, this myth will be true for you.
Myth 3: You need to have a network already set up
You can start your freelance writing career without a base. The internet is like the Wild West. Staking your claim is an act of conscious effort, but it’s not that difficult to do.
Find, follow, and interact, with a genuine interest in other people’s content just as you’d want them to do with yours. Pretty soon you’ll have the circle you’re looking for that meets your niche needs as a writer and business owner.
Myth 4: You won’t have time for life
Time management is key in everything. Thankfully, when you’re a freelance writer, you have the blessing and curse of handling it independently. You have to create an effective schedule that meets the needs of your business and clients- but also one that allows for the rest of your world. This is a medium that takes practice but is totally manageable once you get the hang of it.
Being a freelance writer doesn’t mean you can work whenever you want and still live easy, but you also don’t have to fade away into your screen.
For more information on the subject, check out this incredible article by Freelance Writing to get some tips! (No affiliation)
Myth 5: You need to write like a pro
Writing skills, style, and speed come with time. You don’t have to start as a master of your craft, and it doesn’t mean you won’t ever make it. In fact, simple, straightforward writing often does the best. No college lectures or sagas needed.
Don’t let your current skills keep you from starting your writing career.
How are you supposed to learn or hone your abilities if you just loaf about and never start? Get moving.
Myth 6: If you botch a job or two, you’re finished
Sometimes a job just isn’t working out. This factor depends on your needs, the client, or both. Despite the fact that terminating a contract can be a huge blow to your ego, it’s not the end of the world.
There are limitless opportunities out there for you as a writer. You’re not going to be blacklisted or shunned from ever getting another because of the past just because a gig didn’t work out.
Be dignified in these situations and move on. If you take the time, you might leave with a valuable lesson.
Myth 7: You need to pick one niche and stick to it
I’ve seen countless new writers trying to figure out which stand-alone niche they want to focus on. But I’m telling you right now, you don’t have to trap yourself in one route. Cutting yourself down to only one niche will be a major limit to your job window.
Do NOT try to be a jack of all trades, but you should explore your capabilities, interests, and skills. Branch off from the niche you enjoy writing and create sub-niches you that tie in.
Take personal development for example. Personal development correlates with mental health, self-help, motivation, habit, mindset, etc. These are sub-niches. Get creative with the ones that your niche opens doors to.
You might be surprised by how much you’ll be able to work with!
Myth 8: You’ll get rich quick
Do I even have to explain this one?
News flash- nothing is free. It takes blood, sweat, and tears to take anything worth taking in life. It doesn’t mean that you won’t ever get where you want to be, but depending on your willingness to fail, interest in learning, drive, discipline, how long you go on wishing and manifesting comes down to you.
Work before wins. No matter what.
Myth 9: You won’t be able to have a stable career
New writers are almost always convinced that they’ll forever be short of a career. They believe that they have to start out working for pennies (or even for free). They believe that being a freelance writer is just one of those hustles that fade away with time.
Well, guess what? Your work is valuable, in-demand, and worth more than 5 cents a word. In this day and age, freelance writers have the ability to go above and beyond their day jobs. They earn names for themselves, respect, and dignity as business owners.
Sure, it takes ruthless effort to escape the molds and stereotypes that the world has created for you. But if this path was easy, everyone would be doing it. And the best paths are always the most overgrown.
To reel in Myth 2 so you can plaster this on your brain walls: people can live off their careers as freelance writers.
They have, do, and will for ages to come.
Don’t be ashamed of your doubts. It’s healthy and smart to calculate your choices, so I applaud you for taking the time to do your research.
But please keep in mind that the worrying stage is officially over. Get out there, start, keep going, and keep learning.
You’ll be able to call yourself a Professional Freelance Writer if you don’t quit where you’re at right now. Case in point.
Before you go, here’s some questions for you:
- What fears have you experienced when having an interest in becoming a freelance writer?
- Which one or multiple on this list was your most difficult struggle?
- What are some other myths you think should be added to this list?
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Thank you so much for reading, and take care!