Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How To Freelance While Working Full-time

If you are working full time and want to pursue freelance writing, the task can be quite a harrowing one. A fight ensues between Passion Vs Profession...one thinks of time management and the physical stress...whether its really worth it to sacrifice those few hours one gets to rest...The idea of being in command and turning my passion into a possible profession in the future came to me when I saw how disgruntled I was in a day job. I dreamt of the time when I would just be able to write at my pace and earn a living through it. Not all of us can take a decision to quit what we are doing and go ahead with what we want to do. So I decided to start small but maintain the consistency.

1. I began to keep a journal. Anything at all that popped into my mind translated into words and was penned down. Sometimes, they seemed silly and I began to doubt if it was a good idea after all...day-to-day happenings, frustrations, excitement, happiness, dullness—was scribbled regularly. What did this do? Apart from the usual venting out of emotions, it created a fluency with which I could write. No longer did I have to look up at the sky in want of better words. They just flowed in rhythm.

2. I subscribed to various sites that gave information on markets and contests. I especially liked the fact that most newsletters were written by freelancers who did it more out of a need for their own creative instinct rather than the pressure to make money through them. Now, I also had access to articles that gave me ideas on how to progress. I also joined a writing group with one small difference—all the other members were accomplished freelancers. What did I learn? I learned that some of them committed a few hours each day, whether they were tired mothers or desperate housewives! Commitment became my mantra.

3. I invested in a small notepad that I could extract immediately from the jungles of my handbag in time to catch that idea which chose to strike at ungainly hours. This meant that I began to observe things around me...when I traveled to work, during work, or even while doing household chores. When the time came, I simply expanded that idea into a story. This also earned me some curious stares in the bus as I would be seen writing vigorously as if to capture and bind a thought before it flew away.

4. Most importantly, I had what I call an excuser’s list—a list of reasons that one usually gives to procrastinate...to remind myself that time, money or tiredness was not a sufficient reason. Since I had chosen to do this dual role, I had better find the time and the energy to carry on with my passion.

5. Simultaneously, as I wrote a few pieces, I queried magazines and pitched to sell. Again, the newsletters and some of my own research came in handy. Success did not come in a month or two but I followed the above religiously. Dame Fortune had to smile and she did. At the risk of sounding preachy, my only words whether you are working on another job or not, would be: Be Committed.

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