As of today I have been freelance writing for a whole year. Just before this day last year I was a fresh-faced English graduate only able to secure a couple to a few shifts a week from the Saturday job I landed at sixth form. When I received the “you’ve got the job” email, sat on my bed one evening (far too afraid to step outside in fear of spending money), I took time to sigh before I let anyone know. Although only a little gig─and not one that would entirely ease the FOSM (fear of spending money) I experienced when I went to the pub with my friends that summer─it was my gig. And one I still get excited about one year later. For me, as an English graduate, and someone who wants (more on this in a few weeks’ time) to write for a living, freelance writing has been perfect. If you’re an English graduate, here’s why you should keep a lookout for freelance jobs on your job search.
You can fit it in around your life
Although it’s not always the case, freelance writing can be pretty adaptable to what you’re doing. As time went on, I was a waitress, a sales assistant and also worked a little marketing job. All at the same time I was writing articles as little or as often as I liked. At one point I was so busy that I could only write an article a week, but that’s all I could do so that’s all I did. Freelance writing can be a pretty flexible income that may just act as your spending money for the month, which it certainly did for me.
You can build a portfolio of work
While you’re waiting for That Job to come about, if you’re freelancing, you’re also building up proof of your writing skills and your hard work. A portfolio of all of the freelance writing you’ve done will ensure there’s lots to talk about at interviews too. I’ve found employers are very interested in my portfolio and the freelance writing I’ve done. It’s obvious that some genuinely take the time to read your work; as they should do if they’re considering you as a serious candidate. So take your work and your portfolio seriously. If you’re applying for jobs that are centred around writing, a portfolio will be an employers’ first point of call to see if your work proves you’re the kind of worker they’re after.
It’ll keep your writing hand lively
After having written essays for almost all of your life, you’re going to need to keep your writing hand (or, more likely, your fingertips) healthy. With the pieces I write, I have to follow a set of guidelines. There’s a certain etiquette, if you like, to follow if you want to succeed in writing a piece for the company I write for. This meant that I didn’t lose sight of what it’s like to follow rules (like I had in education for so long) and I’ll therefore be ready to follow different rules when I start a new job in a couple of weeks (again, more on that in a few weeks). At the same time, the freelance writing I do allows a lot of creativity and I’ve been able to keep my writing creativity alive in the last year. And creativity, I have been assured, is something that will feature in the new role I’ll be taking up soon.
Freelance writing is a great step for English grads. Like many I spent graduation answering the question, “What do you want to do with your life?” Knowing it was cliche but not being too upset about it, I would respond, “I want to be a writer!” As soon as I logged onto Indeed with the intent to find That Job, I realised how vague that statement is. Freelance writing is, however, a way to cure that craving until you find That Job or, alternatively, if you manage to find a position that also allows you to simply just freelance write, it’ll cure the craving and pay the bills!