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Lessons from Freelance Writing

By Aaron Tanner

· Writing,Freelance Writing,entrepreneur,flexibility,money

For those who keep up with my blog, I have a side job as a freelance writer. Recently, I was picked up by a second magazine called Okra. This regional magazine highlights unique Southerners that have exciting life stories. The best part is I will be paid for this job.

Ever since I started freelance writing last year, the experience has been fun. I feel that I had improved from when I first started and am excited about the new challenge with Okra Magazine as I will be writing for a new audience.

This side business has taught me several concepts, which I will highlight in this blog. The biggest takeaway I learned is to be flexible. Although flexibility can be a difficult concept for someone with Aspergers, it is necessary for someone in the writing business as assignments often change. For example, an article about a restaurant I planned to highlight after getting approval from the editor of one of the magazines fell through while I was in the middle of the project. As a result, I had to find another restaurant to highlight to replace the one that parted ways with me.

At a typical job, one usually has a set time to clock in and a boss telling someone to keep on task. With a freelance career, there is no one motivating you to get back to work. The motivation must come from within oneself. Although I may not be micromanaged, if I do not turn in my work on time, it is my fault. My executive functioning skills have improved since taking on this freelance writing gig as being a self-motivator is needed to be an entrepreneur.

Another concept I have learned from this freelance writing gig is that things do not always go my way when it comes to story ideas. Sometimes my idea is accepted by the magazine, and sometimes the editor rejects a story I thought would be great. Instead of throwing a fit, I go back to the drawing board and brainstorm a new story idea for the editor.

Despite my social skills not being the best, interviewing my subjects is usually not a problem because I am the one controlling the conversation and I am the one coming up with the questions. Going back to the lesson on being flexible, I learned to alter the flow of the interview based on the answers given by the subject.

Being a freelance writer has not only allowed me to use my talents, but the gig has also taught me that the freedom I have with the position also comes with responsibility. Even though being a writer may not be the best paying job in the world, I would encourage anyone wanting to make extra money writing that it is possible. Not only can one find which magazines accept freelance writers by consulting The Writer’s Market at your nearest Barnes and Noble or on Amazon but there are ways to make money blogging online (although I am still learning how to break into that particular endeavor).

I may not make millions of dollars writing, but it has been an enriching journey. If you have had a rewarding experience with freelance jobs, comment in the section below.

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