Paula Hendrickson was the featured guest at the March In Print meeting. She said there is a glamorous side to being a freelance writer. One example was having the opportunity to interview Oprah Winfrey. There is also a non-glamorous side, such as spending several hours transcribing an interview so it can be turned into an article. Paula has been a full-time freelance writer for seventeen years. However, she has not spent all that time writing.
“Only ten to twenty percent of my time is spent actually writing,” she explained. “The rest of the time is running the business.” This includes staying organized, paying bills, and sending out letters to get future work.
“You have to stay in balance,” she said. “You have to send out letters while you’re busy so that new work will be coming in when you’re finishing up the current work you have.” She did have some warnings about keeping track of your own expenses for tax purposes and occasional problems with dealing with late-paying (or no-paying) clients, but – for the most part – her experience as a freelance writer over the years has been primarily positive. Paula provided In Print members with a resource list, designed to help new freelance writers to find the good sites to work for and avoid the “content sinks” where writers are not respected nor paid well for the content they create.
“Ultimately your name is the only thing you own,” she said. “You have to make sure it’s associated with places you’re proud to be linked with.”