Discover more from Sharon Hurley Hall's Newsletter
Is It Time To Quit The Day Job?
For a lot of us, freelance writing starts out as something we do in our spare time. We write after doing a full day’s work, on evenings, weekends and holidays. We write because we must, because we feel an inner compulsion to see whether the thing we’ve always loved can help us to earn a living. We rejoice over our first commissions and our first earnings, and watch in wonder as they grow. Then we face a decision. Is it time to quit the day job?
Pros And Cons Of Freelancing
That’s a tough question, especially if you’re earning a good salary or happen to be the main breadwinner in your family. The pros of becoming a full time freelance writer are that you will be earning a living while doing something that you love. What could be more fulfilling than that? The cons are that you might not get enough work and could end up broke. It’s not easy to face the fact that your financial responsibilities might be too much for a freelancer.
Taking The Plunge As A Freelance Writer
So how do you make the decision? What makes you decide to take the plunge? Everyone is different, but here’s my story. After five years of teaching writing instead of doing writing, I was ready for a change. Luckily, my husband was earning, and although things would be tight without my lecturer’s salary, we could manage. I left the job because I couldn’t bear not to write any longer — and because I thought that it was important to know whether I could make it as a freelancer. There didn’t seem much point in having a dream if I didn’t try at least once to make it happen.
So I left the cushioned comforts of academia for my own desk and chair and set about trying to make freelancing work. I made sure I wrote every day, even if it wasn’t bringing in money. I signed up with jobs sites, applied for jobs and talked to other writers, making the contacts that would eventually lead to a regular writing income.
It wasn’t always easy. Our circumstances changed a few months in and I wondered whether I had made the right decision. But I got lots of support and I kept plugging away. It took a couple of months to get the first gig, a couple of weeks to get the second and I have been working constantly since then. As it turns out, it was the right decision. Even when deadlines have been tough or the work has been slow (and it hasn’t happened often) I have never regretted it.
Only you will know when the time is right for you. If you have:
a burning desire to write for a living
the commitment to cope with constant deadlines
the fortitude to manage fluctuating income
good feedback from your current writing clients
more demand for your services than you can manage part time
then maybe it’s the right time for you. So now it’s your turn — what made you decide it was time to give up the day job?