Why I Started Freelancing – the Feast or Famine Adventure!
Freelancing is a
Feast or Famine Adventure!
Freelance writing was merely a delayed career choice for me. I have enjoyed writing since my early teens, around junior high school (about 45 years ago!), but I never did anything serious or significant with it until about 9 years ago.
I don’t know why it never occurred to me to pursue a career in writing or journalism before 2008. Strangely enough, I recall looking at the Writer’s Market book (the 2007 edition) and a local weekly newspaper laying on our coffee table at some point, and having that fleeting thought, “Why not pursue writing?” Yet I didn’t immediately take any action on it.
Then, in January 2008, I was home on doctor-ordered bed rest due to a dangerous flu strain I had contracted. I had been working as a traveling speech-developmental therapist (Speech-Language Pathology Assistant/SLPA), covering 350+ miles/week. That was also during a time when gas prices had spiked into the $3.90s and even $4.00/gallon. The combination of that expense, PLUS the illness … it made sense to my husband and me to bring me “home to work.”
I was also approaching the end of my Master of Education program and it was nice to have the time to put into my final few courses. Meanwhile, I began browsing “work at home” sites and various social and professional networks, and discovered there were substantial opportunities to work from home as a freelance writer.
And the rest, as they say, is history (or “her-story”?) 😉 I have worked in various capacities for numerous writing clients and companies since February 2008. I have learned that the freelance adventure tends to be “feast or famine” — meaning it’s rare to find a long-term or permanent freelance position.
So during “feast” time, you tend to take several individual smaller jobs or gigs when they’re available. Other times, you hit the “famine” stage when freelance opportunities tend to dry up. That’s when it becomes a struggle and induces the fear you aren’t going to make it. Yet that’s when you need to be persistent and keep going!
So as of February 2017, I am beginning my 10th year as an instructional designer and educational consultant. I have authored, co-authored, and/or reviewed about 15 courses. These projects varied from creating individual sample lessons, to entire courses, from scripts and storyboards to full online course content and instructor guidelines. I have also written reading passage and assessment/test items and content for various clients and have served as an English Language Arts (ELA) Subject Matter Expert (SME).
As close as I can calculate, I have over 3,200 articles published online and have written one book, Fatherly Reflections, a tribute to my late Dad, to other dads, and to fatherhood in general.
I have also co-authored a second book with Dr. Christine Mason of the Center for Educational Improvement (CEI – a non-profit organization), entitled Heart Beaming. The book is “a free tool teachers can use to help students relieve stress, improve performance, and enhance classroom interactions through song, dance, movement, fun, laughter and positive thinking.” The simple exercises would be equally effective for parents to use at home with their children.
Along with acquiring several years of experience in primarily educational and social services positions – including speech and developmental therapy – I have amassed many years of experience in various forms of editing and writing through academic, professional, and life experience. Now I offer these services to others…
*Proofreading and editing: Review and correct all common English language errors, including grammar, spelling, punctuation, word usage, fluency; AP style proofreading/editing.
*Academic writing and editing: High school through graduate level compositions, content development, research papers, MLA and/or APA style; please note this does NOT include the unethical practice of writing papers for OTHER students! I provide editing, proofreading, and formatting assistance for students – but I will NEVER write papers for them!
*Creative writing: Essays, prose, and blog and forum posts.
*Professional writing: Journalism, documentation, resumes, business, and web content.
*Blogging: Content for various types of blogs; setting up WordPress and Blogspot blogs.
*Instructional Design: I am familiar and experienced with the instructional design framework, based on Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction, as well as Bloom’s Taxonomy, and understand the importance of strong objectives, goals, and assessments.
*Curriculum Development and Review: I have experience in developing and reviewing high school and college courses, as well as individual adult education and career training modules.
*Assessment/Test Items and Sample Reading Passages: I have experience in developing and writing ELA/ELL assessment or test items (terms used differently by various clients), and sample reading passages, as well as corresponding rationales for right and wrong answers.
*Tutoring/Instructional Facilitation: I can provide online tutoring, primarily in English grammar and writing skills, having gained experience working as an online writing tutor for the online writing lab at Smarthinking. I have also received training as an online instructional facilitator.
*PowerPoint: I can create PowerPoint presentations as stand-alone modules or add them to enhance web content. I am currently studying graphic and digital design, to further develop my skill sets.
And while the freelance life tends to be “feast or famine” in nature, I count it a privilege and honor to engage in freelance work through a virtual relationship with clients across various industries, although my primary focus is in high school and adult education. I thoroughly enjoy communication in any form and consider every opportunity as a new challenge for my creative skills. While I am experienced and proficient in many areas, I would not yet call myself an “expert” in all areas, as I believe there always is room for growth!
So What About YOU?
Do you live the freelance life, or another self-employed status?
Do you think you would prefer to work from home, if it’s feasible and possible for you?