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The Reality of Freelance Writing

I guess I’m living the dream right now.

After I left my boring office job four months ago,  I’ve been spending my time travelling the world. I’ve been to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Mexico and Amsterdam and am currently planning a trip to Romania and another trip from New York to California.

This is what I have wanted to do ever since I can remember, and I now have the perfect job to go alongside it. I don’t have to choose between this job and travelling because I can work whilst travelling.

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via meowbutts.tumblr.com

I am now working as a freelance writer, which basically means I get paid to write stuff from anywhere. That’s right folks. I get paid to work from home.

I can wake up at 1 pm and spend all day in my pyjamas. I can work directly from my bed. I can work as I want when I want, as long as I meet my deadlines. I can work from my home, from the park, from the airport, from Amsterdam, from a restaurant, a bar, a sailboat…

How can someone get such a job, I hear you mutter. Surely those jobs don’t actually exist, surely they are just scams that you read on pop-up adverts whilst you’re trying to illegally stream a movie. Surely no one can actually be paid to do what they want.

Well, it’s not quite like that.


I’m on a website called Upwork, a website that lets companies and individuals post adverts for freelance writers. People like me can then sign up on the website and bid for these jobs, and if you get the job you are paid an agreed amount for your work. You’re obviously not going to make loads straight away, but if you find several jobs you can earn more than you would think, and of course you get to pick the work you want, work when you want and work where you want.

There is a range of diverse jobs to choose from. Since I’ve joined Upwork, I’ve been paid to record myself saying phrases for Google, which will then be tested on a virtual assistant for Android mobile phones. I’ve been ghost writing for a tech website, so I now know way too much about fingerprint scanning and vector diagrams. And I was paid  to write a travel guide about Stratford Upon Avon aimed at business people who want to find places to hold their conferences/meetings. I am excited to get more work and build a portfolio so I can pursue my dreams of being a professional journalist.

Of course, it’s not as great as it sounds. Nothing ever is. Whilst being able to work from your bed whilst you’re half watching Scrubs may sound like a dream come true, in reality you often feel like you’re not really doing anything. You miss talking to your colleagues and having lunch breaks and after work drinks. You miss having that structure, even though it was always so restrictive when you had it.

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via scrubs.wikia.com

You even start to miss the commute and having to work in shifts, because at least when you got home you were done for the day. With freelance work you almost have too much freedom, so you feel guilty if you’re not working even if it’s 10pm. When your bedroom has become your office, it stops being such a relaxing fortress of solitude.

I think working at home would feel a lot more like an accomplishment if I didn’t still live with my parents (blame the crazily high rent prices in London at the moment, and trust me buying isn’t even worth thinking about).

It’s always a dilemma, because the prospect of spending every penny you earn on rent, bills and travel – whilst you share with six randoms because you could never afford to live alone – doesn’t sound great. On the other hand, living with your parents indefinitely – until you turn 40 and become one of those people who live in their parents basements – is equally terrifying.

Now that I have to spend so much time at home because I’m still not earning enough to justify sitting in coffee shops all day, like the pretentious hipster I’m becoming, I’m starting to feel like some kind of regressive adolescent who isn’t living the life of a 23-year-old.

Freelance work  is meant to be like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, spending all day shoe shopping and drinking cocktails, then typing a few words in your massive swanky apartment in a big city. It isn’t meant to be typing away in your childhood bedroom until your mum shouts at you to take out the recycling.

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via hercampus.com

Please don’t think I’m complaining, however. Life may not be perfect, but it’s still going pretty well. I have a job I love, even if it’s not quite how I imagined it. Life is pretty good, and I have a feeling it’s only going to get better.

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