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Another Day . . .

Posted by CW64 on October 16, 2009

Where do I start? Most people start at the beginning. For me, that would seem too obvious. Why not start with something more current, such as freelance writing? . . .

A lot of people are getting into freelancing nowadays, if not for the extra money then for the novelty and convenience. Writing SEO and/or web content articles forms a nice little gig for those who want to practice their writing skills and develop a clientele through networking. This, of course, takes time and plenty of self-promotion that includes setting personal rates (contingent on the writer’s background, but standard rates do exist), sending queries, bidding on ads, subscribing to as many freelance sites as possible (believe me, there are quite a few) and, for those who have the time and money, one’s own site for the purpose of ensuring search engine optimization (the aforementioned SEO). The last on the list—the personal site—also features an online portfolio.

The problem with portfolios, especially with freelancers, is that much of the work achieved is copyrighted by the clients who, in many cases, are unknowns. Because of this, posting even excerpts can border on the infringement of copyright and can bring about litigation (those pesky things!). No freelancer wants this. For one thing, money would be lost (and, to a freelancer, that would set one behind inconceivably). Another unfortunate to lawsuits–-and this goes without saying–-is a tarnished reputation. No client is going to want to do business with a writer who, no matter how skilled, is known for stealing copyrighted material. This means that just placing the work in the portfolio can be detrimental to one’s career and livelihood.

That’s the real glitch with regard to freelancing in many cases because identities are not exchanged at the onset, especially when one works through a writing agency or for an independent contractor. Sometimes they are, and that helps for freelancers who wish to compose a portfolio and can merely ask for permission from known clients (especially if those clients are long-standing ones). Quite often, the freelance writer has absolutely no control over the terms of the work, the pay rates, the deadline or obtaining the client’s identity for future work. As a result, the means of establishing oneself can be difficult.

This is why online freelance writing, though quaint, should not be any writer’s sole means of support. If writers can find work in other areas of the industry, not only will their portfolios appear more diversified and dynamic, they will have greater opportunities for producing work that can go into a portfolio because they are able to retain their own copyright through bylines. That, however, comes after months or years of hard work and self-promotion.

As said, freelance writing, especially online, should not serve as a means of a career in itself, but it is a worthwhile resume-builder. One exception to this rule, however, would be ghostwriting, and that’s an entirely different ball of wax right there.

Tomorrow: ghost writing and the possibilities . . .


One Response to “Another Day . . .”

  1. Keep in mind that not all freelance writers are ghostwriters. There are many of them who write for magazines and other media. In addition even fiction writers can be freelance writers if that is their only calling and they don’t hold a “day job.” It depends on for whom you work and the clients you obtain in your search for writing gigs.

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