The Glamorous Life Of A Freelance Writer

I have changed my bio. It now simply says, “will write for cash.

No one cares that I was once a stand up comic, that I have written a sketch show, that I have ghost written best selling ‘biographies’ of the rich and surgically enhanced. Or that I have performed on stage, produced and written endless pilot television shows and written what comes out of the mouths of your favourite celebrities when they appear on game shows. They say my words and everybody says, “wow, him out of Emmerdale is actually really witty” when in reality, all he’s done is learn a script, like a robot.

None of that matters at all when I am constantly chasing an article to write for a penny a word or if I am lucky, one hundred and fifty pounds for one thousand, five hundred words that will take me a day to research and write.

And lets not forget all the offers to do writing work, for free, for exposure.

 Why is it acceptable to ask a writer to work for free? No other profession would stand for it.

When I tell people that I am filming, or that I have a meeting about a project, they assume it’s glamorous and enjoyable. It’s neither.

They assume I am rich, too. Last week a friend got really annoyed with me because I couldn’t go on her hen weekend. I had a fiver to last me three days at that point and not a sniff of work coming up. She didn’t believe me, given some of the work I do.

I felt like shoving my bank statement up her backside.

It’s a constant game of chasing work, chasing the toddler who I can’t afford to send to nursery, doing work, cleaning the house as my husband works all day in a job he loves (which I am thankful for).

I’ll write all the words for your website – for a fee. Hey, I will even help you redesign it.

I will edit your stand up routine and polish it to perfection.

Need help with a script? I’m your writer.

I am constantly balancing my intake of Red Bull against how many words I have written so far (2,000 words and I am allowed another can) and weighing up if I should spend the weekends having fun with my family, or letting my husband take all the slack while I squeeze every word out of my head I can for a penny each while he’s here to entertain the children.

If I juggle anymore I’ll have to start dressing as a clown.

I get invited to all sorts of cool events, but I can’t afford a can of coke on the way home.

I get invited to cool events and have a panic attack about everyone else being all hipster and cool and I am the one in a Primark dress wearing Superdrug lipstick and pants that are older than my children.

I get invited to cool events and have to turn them down because I can’t afford to top up my oyster card.

I get a commission to write an article and the subject cancels. I don’t write a word so I don’t get paid. It happens all the time.

And then I wake up to another blogger on morning television and I think “why them? I am better than them? Why aren’t I cosying up to Piers and Suzanna?”, like a jealous bitch.

And it’s because I write a blog that isn’t a blog, so the PR people don’t know where to put me.

Keep it about parenting” they tell me.

Make it shocking and opinionated.

Don’t swear so much.”

Make swearing your thing.”

To tell you the truth, it’s all soul destroying.

 

 

 

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Diary of an imperfect mum

41 Comments »

  1. First of all I think you’re a great writer, I’m so glad you have shared your stuff with us on the #stayclassymama linky! I really enjoy reading your posts, they crack me up! But I guess that’s what is so frustrating, that you are so good and yet people ask you to write for free – like it doesn’t take anything out of you to write. I get so pissed off with emails offering me exposure, if I want exposure I’ll go flash my tits to some tv cameras. What I want is to be paid for my time and effort! x

    Like

  2. This was such a novel piece for me. I haven’t read anything of this genre before. Thank you for your honesty and the openness with which you share your fears, frustrations, and if I may say, even anger in some cases. The problem with being a freelancer or anyone not holding a 9-5 kind of a job is society’s perception of what it is not. It is NOT a real job in people’s minds. It’s kind of like a side gig so surely it must mean nothing to you to just do something for them for free. After all, you wouldn’t have gotten into the field if you didn’t really enjoy it. I call BS on that. Like someone else commented, about time someone said it like it is. Thank you. #stayclassmama

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like the greatest job in the world 😉 I always think it’s amazing how people expect you to write for free and you’re right, in no other profession would that ever be deemed acceptable. You really do have to love the written word to stick with writing as a profession x
    #Ablogginggoodtime

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  4. I find this post so very relatable, even though I am just beginning my writing career. Mind you I have always been writing, that’s what writers do, but now I’m actually leaving my full time job which pays the bills and putting all my efforts into writing. Or so I thought.

    It’s annoying how much marketing goes into successful writing. I just want to write but I spend more time looking for people to read my words than I do actually writing words. And honestly, it’s still not enough. I thought I was going to be a writer. Why can’t I just write? #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually got excited when I saw your name pop up on a linky! Love reading your posts!
    Id love to know who you wrote for and what programmes you did. If the agents want you to “stick to parenting etc” why don’t they have a miscellaneous category with your name on it? 😂

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  6. It is hard work and often unglamorous and hugely undervalued and thank you for speaking up. But don’t undervalue the reward of doing something creative, which you enjoy, for a living. Not everyone on the gravy train is so lucky. Hang in there. #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this post and I feel your pain. I’m very slowly building up a pile of freelance writing gigs–some are monthly and some are sporadic at best. I never work for free anymore. I guess once I hit my forties I decided it was easy to say what was on my mind! : )
    Good luck! #StayClassyMama

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m pretty new to blogging and am on mat leave at the moment. My ‘normal’ job is heading up a social media team and I thought I’d try blogging to understand what it takes to be a good blogger. To get people reading my blog, to get followers. Because if I want to hire good bloggers in the future I need to know exactly what goes into it.
    The thing is, I’ve realised that a lot of bloggers work BLOODY hard, work into the night and yet most brands don’t value it. Like they’re happy to partner up with bloggers if they give away free stuff, but they don’t actually PAY them. I think brands are missing a trick here. Mummy bloggers = amazing writers + social media savvy + loads of engaged followers + work and post at night. When are mums (i.e. the potential consumers) online? I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. When I get back to work I’m going to be pushing for the recruitment of bloggers to work remotely in our social media team. I’m clearly not saying this to say stop what you’re doing and go work for a brand. It’s merely to remind you that you’re valuable and talented and maybe this will give you a new perspective on your (highly employable!) skills #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would love to be a freelance writer, but the idea of giving up my current job in order to devote all my time to it and then getting very little in return makes me sad, as did reading this. I agree with you about the injustice of seeing other bloggers on TV/getting opportunities when some of them literally cannot write. THERE IS NO JUSTICE! #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I used to get asked to write for some online travel magazines and then they’d say “oh we can’t afford to pay you” so I’d say “I can’t afford to write for you” – I won’t do it now unless there’s some money in it for me. #StayClassyMama

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  11. This breaks my heart a little bit. I aspire to go into freelance writing but I agree, what is the point? It is shit pay, and no one appreciates you, and the whole thing makes me want to cry and I’m not even doing it yet. Keep going though lady, your writing is incredible and i adore your blog – I love the swearing, too!#StayClassyMama

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You’re right – it’s not fair that writers are expected to work for free. As crap as it sounds – the uncertainty, the fact that it’s not well paid – I’d still LOVE to be a freelance writer. I’ve been writing for a living for my entire adult life, but for someone else – I’m too risk-averse to give up the steady paycheck. Sigh. #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You are brilliant and I know I said it before but I will continue saying as i enjoy your writing so so much. Unfortunately we live in a world where talent is not appreciated as much as it should. Money dictates money

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s a mad world when someone with your talent can’t get enough work to live on. I must admit, I reckon that ‘friend’ can be ditched, can’t she? I once was a nanny a million years ago to 2 freelance financial journalists. They wrote in all the big papers, but no-one would ever remember to pay them. I was a wide-eyed 17 year old, but that’s stayed with me. The injustice of it. Nothing, it seems, has changed. Keep plugging away – you’ll get that spot on the sofa. Alison x #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I am not blowing smoke up your arse (well, perhaps I am a little), but genuinely, I think you might just be my favourite writer. I love people who can write like you, WITH SO MUCH FUNNY.
    PS. I care. I care that you have written a sketch show because it’s my DREAM to write a comedy series (I have the idea, shall we discuss?) and I care you’ve been a stand up comedian because I think that’s probably up there with the hardest jobs in the entertainment arena.
    #stayclassy

    Liked by 2 people

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