To All Aspiring Freelance Writers: Just Wing It…?
by Ong Hui Wen; edited by Edward Goh and Lee Russell
Winging It was a compelling sharing that highlighted the good, the bad and the ugly of freelance writing. This session definitely forced me take off my rose-tinted glasses of the writing world and keep my feet on the ground. Contrary to its namesake, freelance writing takes a whole lot of effort and soft skills for an aspiring writer to establish oneself successfully.
The first speaker, Eugene Tay, started us off by sharing several protips such as negotiating a reasonable price for your work and putting yourself out there by networking. Perhaps the most important differentiation he highlighted is that writing is a skill, whereas freelancing is a career, a personal commitment that requires hard work and dedication. (Yes, even in the face of job lulls where you might just be sitting at home, bored out of your skull as you wait for opportunities to roll in.) Also, always be more inclined to swallow that ‘no’ sitting at the tip of your tongue whenever an opportunity presents itself to you; don’t turn things down too quickly, especially when it is within your capacity!
The next speaker, Pip Harry, emphasised the importance of using social media in this advanced age of technology to market oneself such as using LinkedIn or clippings.me to establish a well put-together portfolio and connect with like-minded writers. Indeed, which renowned author that started out small can deny the importance of self-promotion on social media? As millennials, we definitely should put our tech-savvy skills to good use.
Lastly, Melanie Lee advised us to write for ourselves; to find our individual unique voice and be genuinely invested in the topics we are passionate to write about. Even if it’s something as inane as your personal hobby, build a niche out of your interest and you will find it much easier to advance as a writer with passion driving your determination.
I have to admit, writing in the real world as a career isn’t as glamorous as it seems. Yet, the fact that these experiences will make us grow in our character and as writers left me feeling strangely inspired and hopeful for the future literary scene. Renowned writer Sylvia Plath says it best: “everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Don’t let the challenges of free lance writing hinder you from experiencing the best that will come out of it!
About the Panellists
Eugene Tay is the author of the Supernatural Confessions series and the founder of a creative writing school for young budding writers.
Pip Harry, award winning author of her debut YA novel I’ll Tell You Mine, was previously a senior writer and editor for magazines.
Melanie Lee is a freelance writer and lecturer. She is the author of several children’s’ series, such as The Adventures of Squirky the Alien and Imaginary Friends:26 Fables for the Kid in Us.
All photos used in this article were obtained from the All In! Facebook page: