A couple months ago, I wrote a lengthy, well-reported feature story for a well-known magazine. It was my first time writing for this magazine, and it was a huge break for me. I was so excited about this project because it was something that really interested me, I know it could lead to future opportunities, and because it would come with a nice payout.
But, it’s been nearly six weeks since the story ran and I have yet to get paid. This is so frustrating. As a freelancer, this happens quite often. I have to chase down payments from editors and publications, sometimes receiving pay months after I did the work.
With this project, I thought it would be different. This was a national publication, not some indie website, and while they promised to pay fairly well, I have yet to see that.
Being a freelance writer is incredibly hard. When I first started out, I spent months pitching ideas to editors and making connections at publications, but nothing took. I couldn’t sell anything, while I did a few free things to get some recognition (although, those didn’t really go anywhere). It was so frustrating, but eventually, I started to sell pieces. Editors began to see that I was reliable and good at what I do, so they kept me on their roster. However, the work is not always enough so I still have to pitch pieces and find new work.
Right now, freelancing is paying only some of my bills. There are months when I get all of my payments on time and everything feels good. There are other times, though, when I barely have enough to get by and might need to take out a loan.
A few months ago, I started my microgreen business and that has really supplemented my income. I need extra cash flow on those months when I don’t have as many projects but also something with flexible hours. I’ve always loved gardening, and microgreens farming is a way that I can interact more with the community by selling my produce at the local famer’s market.
Still, I want to be a full-time writer and it’s really difficult at times to make that happen. I know of many freelance writers who have struggled for years before they had a steady income, and I know I just need to keep going at it. Also, I have to be thankful that I am landing good gigs like the recent feature. Having that particular publication to my name will definitely help in the future when I am pitching other pieces.
Anyway, I guess I just need to keep plugging.