Freelance Writers Online: The Difference Between Us and Them

It was 2012 and I was working for a newspaper in central London.

No, I wasn’t a writer, just one of many minions working in the recruitment advertising department. I contributed towards making the cogs turn in a huge national corporation that had been revamped and resold so many times that I’m not even sure the people around me knew who ran the place.

‘Management’ was just some vague notion – a bland sea of ties against crisp white shirts with blurred faces that made our working days as limited and unremarkable as they could be.

And how could I have been a writer anyway? I’d had no relevant training and although I knew I could write, somebody needed to give me my first big break, right? So as much as I knew doing unremarkable things in an office all day wasn’t for me, I continued to do it anyway. Because, just like everybody else, I was a product of a machine that was installed way before I was even born.

I needed to work to live, yet I lived only to serve. I wasn’t working towards my own goals, my own hopes, my own dreams and aspirations, but instead for some vague, well-dressed entity that didn’t even know my name.

How could this be? Moreover, what could I do?

Well, I’ll tell you exactly what I did:

I quit.

I quit that job and I never looked back. Instead, I concentrated on building a career as a freelance writer online so I could do all the things I loved to do instead of all the things I loathed.

The way I look at it, if you don’t like the way your life is at the moment, especially when it comes to your work situation, you have only three choices if you want to see a positive outcome:

1. Resolve to fully accept your situation – flaws and all. And I mean truly accept it. Learn to love it. Don’t complain about it, even to yourself. Rejoice in where you are in your life right now and seek out only the good in it.

2. Change your situation. If you’re in a situation at work you don’t like, get up and do something about it. Speak to the right people and reduce your hours to work on what does matters to you, or seek out a role you’ll enjoy instead of resent.

3. Remove yourself from the situation entirely.

They, my friend, are your three options. You don’t have any others. I went with option three, and although it may seem a tad drastic, it was necessary for me and I’ve been a lot happier for it. Since I chose option three, I’ve built a full-time living as a freelance writer online, taken some huge, life-changing trips to different parts of the world and written for some of the biggest global travel names on the planet.

Was it a rash decision? Perhaps.

Has it all been garlands of roses and skipping through meadows? Certainly not.

Was it especially difficult though? Surprisingly not.

It’s been fun, it’s been challenging and it’s been rewarding. It’s been a massive learning experience, a time of growth and change and it’s been an economic, emotional and spiritual revelation. In other words, it’s been life.

I wasn’t living before. I was existing. The mass media and society at large will have you believe that living your life means going to the same place every day to earn money in which to support yourself to continue to work. They’ll happily sell you the ‘dream’ of collecting stuff to place in the house you see only in the evenings and at the weekends. Why? So you can continue within their economic framework that was set up before you were even a twinkle in your father’s eye.

And that’s fine. If that’s what you want.

But I know (mainly because you’ve read this far and there aren’t many eye-catching blog conventions in this post) that this will never truly sit well with you. You’re like me; you want something different, something more from life. Something less man-made and synthetic and something more… authentic.

Here’s the thing: you can seek that life and you can live it.

For as long as I can remember I’ve longed to get paid for doing something I love, but I only ever loved to travel, read and write, and who would pay me for that?

Answer: Nobody in my old world. Lots of people in my new one.

To find out how to build a career as a freelance writer online – from scratch and without the bullshit – take my Udemy course.

Image courtesy of Jaroslav A. Polák via Flickr.

10 thoughts on “Freelance Writers Online: The Difference Between Us and Them

  1. Kirsty you rock!!! This is such an important message. At the age of 44, I finally quit doing jobs I hated and living a slow death. I started my own therapy and training business even though I was only learning about therapies at the time. That wasn’t a problem. I came from from my heart, kept learning and gave people my all. My business just kept growing along with me. 13 years later it continues to thrive and many people from those early days are still my clients. My expertise is now serving me well as I develop my freelance writing career and plan to launch my own blog in a couple of months. To anyone stuck in a job they hate, just quit and follow your dreams, YOU can do it! Thank you Kirsty for being an inspiration : )

    1. Good for you Norma! It’s funny how things seem to just fall in place when you follow your instincts about your own life choices. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. 🙂

  2. A lot of individuals will truly relate to your personal story, thanks for sharing, Kirsty you’re an inspiration, keep doing what you do.

  3. Kirsty, I admire your courage,determination and commitment to go beyond the norm. Just the other day, I was speaking to a friend about achieving your goals, one has to use what you have and go for it. Most people wait for things to change or get better for things to happen and miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime.

    You can use your gifts, talents, skills and knowledge with faith in God, where you are at this moment in time and move forward. I’m in the process of publishing my first book. Due to being unemployed, I don’t have the finances to go through a publishing company, thus, I’m checking out printing companies and I’m quiet pleased with the results from one of them. I’ll have to do advertising, marketing, distribution, sales and shipping, however; my book will be on the market and several friends I’ve spoken to are ready to support my efforts.

    Refuse to allow what you don’t have deter you from accomplishing your purpose in life. Be creative, innovative and trust in the Lord no matter what! Thank you for sharing your story. It’s uplighting!

    1. Thanks for your wonderful comment Vernita. It’s a great point that we have to use what we have right now and simply begin. Thanks again for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  4. Kirsty – it’s as though you looked inside my head! This was exactly how I felt before I did what you did and quit. As you say, it hasn’t been a bed of roses, there have been tough times and difficult decisions but at no point EVER has it felt like the wrong thing to do.

    Now I’m hoping to make the move from consultant to full-time freelance writer as I’ve realised that the blog I set up to give people advice is the part that I love the most about my business.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story and your advice.

    1. You’re very welcome Heather – I’m glad this resonated with you!

      You’re making the right move by focusing on the part of your business you love the most – you can’t go far wrong with that approach. All the best with it.

  5. Thanks for the advice. 🙂 I really do appreciate that decision of yours. You know ? In this present world ,making a difference is a tough job and that needs a lot of guts. So I am saying that in your situation, you took that right decision which also shows that you are indeed courageous. You are also true when you said that you want to get paid for something which you love doing. And that was a wonderful article of course! I am expecting more from you,Kirsty. Thanks. And this is my first comment on your article. Sorry for not doing that early. 😀 Keep up your work. It’s really nice indeed!

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