For many writers, building a career can be tricky; and if you don't get your dream job right after your degree, it can be a little scary.

Queue freelancing!

It's a popular choice for anyone trying to make a start or trying to make some extra money, but the idea of freelancing is not as simple as one might think.

The world of freelance writing and journalism can sound like an absolute dream come true or a complete nightmare, depending on who you are, what you need and what you are looking for.

That is why media update's Alrika Möller is revealing both the good and the bad of freelancing.

Okay, let's start …


With freelance writing, you don't have set office hours or a rigid schedule making things difficult.

So, you are not a morning person? No problem! You don't have to get up at dawn to sit at your computer. If you want to take an extended lunch for an appointment, or you have a holiday planned, you don't need to ask anyone for permission. After all, you are your own boss.

You have the freedom and flexibility to make your own schedule.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. You might be one of those people who enjoys structure, or maybe you need a set schedule to keep you focussed and stay on track.

If you are that person, you might not enjoy the freedom of freelancing, and you will have to create your own schedule. It is possible to add structure to your own life if you prefer it.

Choice of projects

When working as a freelance writer or journalist, you can choose your topics. You have the option to say no.

Most writers have a genre or topic that they love. In freelancing, you can choose the projects you engage with based on how much you enjoy writing them.

This can make writing even more fun than it already is because you can create your niche and build a specialised portfolio.


There is no guarantee that you will get projects that you love. So, if you say no to something that might not be your favourite topic, you might miss out on projects.

Holding out and waiting for a project that better aligns with your interests sounds great until you no longer get offers from clients. This is because they know you will say no, or you find yourself without any opportunities for a time.

Saying no sounds idealistic if you know what is out there. Take the time to consider every project that comes your way before saying no and hoping something better comes along.


It is very exciting to quite literally be able to name your price. When you are a freelance writer, you will have clients that will pay you for your work.

The advantage here is that you are the one setting the price according to what you believe your work is worth.

There might be a couple of factors that influence how much you decide to charge, but whatever those factors are, it is ultimately your choice.

Freelance writing is a competitive industry.

If you name your price and the client thinks it might be too high, they have the option of going to another writer who is asking less, causing you to miss out on income.

If you don't have consistent work, you won't receive consistent payment. Some months you could be rolling in cash, while others might fall on the extreme budgeting side of the spectrum.

There is also no way to know whether or not the client will pay you as soon as you deliver. If you are worried about possible payment issues, it can help to decide how much you charge by looking at the industry as a whole to ensure that you don't over or undercharge.

You are also well within your rights to set a clear contract with your clients that stipulates how much and when they will need to pay you for your services.

Resume and portfolio

While working as a freelance writer, you can write for many different clients and publications on a wide range of topics.

This can be a big benefit to your resume and portfolio. A resume that shows a lot of experience will make you look better to possible employers. Now imagine what an extended portfolio can do for you!

You will not only look capable, but it will also increase the chances of possible employers reading your work because you are writing for multiple clients and publications.

If you ever apply for a full-time writing position, you might have trouble with references as you don't work as part of a team, and you don't have an employer that can vouch for you.

You also don't have a set salary that prospective employers can use as a baseline when you apply for a position or negotiate a salary amount.

There are ways to work around it, but it will ultimately be up to you to set and prove these standards.

It's all you

Some writers are not the biggest fans of editors checking their work. It might be because they have a specific vision in mind and they don't think they will get it, or they are very protective of their work.

It is possible that your client might check the piece before publishing, but there is no one else you need to report to, or that needs to approve what you write.

You also work completely alone, which means there are no distractions when you are writing. You make all the decisions, and you have the final say.

Not all writers make great editors. Writers can sometimes be biassed towards their own work, or they can be extra hard on themselves when they are writing.

That is why it is a good thing to have someone like an editor to check your work and make sure it is perfect before it gets published.

Maybe you just want someone to bounce ideas off of or to help you find that word that is right there on the tip of your tongue.

When working as a freelance writer, you are sadly left to your own devices to ensure that your piece is the best it can be.

There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages of a career in freelance journalism. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Looking for more insight into the world of freelancing? We have got you covered! Check out How to have a successful freelancing career [Infographic].
*Image courtesy of Canva