Freelance Writer: What is it exactly?

Freelance writer

Do you know what a freelance writer is? Professional writers have been around for quite some time. However, only recently, the freelance writing business happened to be more in demand. The dramatic workplace changes in the last few years led many professionals to explore other work opportunities.

One of them is freelance writing. Experienced writers have plenty of opportunities to show their skills, either as a full-time job or as a side hustle. You can see their work in newspapers, websites, or blogs. Further on, I will help you understand what a freelance writer is.

Defining Freelance Writer

Before we move on, let’s start with a simple definition. A freelance writer provides a wide range of writing services.

Simple enough, right?

Well, there is more to that!

A freelance writer is a self-employed contractor working with freelance clients, either on long-term or one-time projects. Since it is considered an independent business owner, these writers are not part of the company salary sheet. As a result, they get paid for each writing project.

Now you are probably wondering how it all works! Fear not! I’m here to clarify for you!

What is a freelance writer?

Freelance writing is a broader definition that includes several types of writing. Yet, once you start exploring the different layers of content writing, you will uncover different styles of writers. Next, I will show the most common freelance writing styles.

Content writer

A content writer focuses on writing blog articles, press releases or email newsletters. However, the skills needed to produce engaging content may vary.

Freelance content writers working on complex projects of a content marketing strategy must consider SEO. What is SEO? It is an acronym for “search engine optimization”. As a SEO writer, your goal is improve a brand’s online presence through blog articles, or any other type of content, that boosts a website’s ranking on the search engine results page. An excellent content writer will drive audiences to their content and deliver engaging article writing.

Besides creating new content, you must be an exceptional researcher, editor, and proofreader.


Copywriting is one of the most lucrative careers in the freelance writing industry. A freelance copywriter creates sales copy and uses digital marketing strategies.

As a copywriter, your goal is to convert customers. You work on engaging individual customers or a B2C audience. How? You can do so by writing email newsletters, posts for businesses, or social media platforms.

In copywriting, potential clients might ask you to create social media posts. Your writing skills allow you to create copy and content for posts and advertisements, such as Facebook or Instagram ads.

It is why you may notice an overlap between content and copywriters. Depending on the project, a copywriter creates content about a product or writes a blog post intended to engage customers. As such, writing content is often related to copywriting.

Technical writer

A technical writer creates simple and relatable texts about complex topics. Building a freelance career as a technical writer means you must have a high experience level in your field.

In technical writing, freelance gigs require you to write user manuals, procedures, press releases, or white papers about a service, a product, or a company. Depending on your expertise, your writing portfolio might include complex subjects, such as medical, pharmaceutical, or computer science.

For the message to be fully comprehensible, you must consider the audience. If you write for a customer or another expert makes all the difference. Such as happens with other writers, to become a successful technical writer, you must find the perfect words to communicate with your audience.

Due to its uniqueness, technical writing offers many freelance writing job opportunities.


A ghostwriter creates content for websites, blogs, ebooks, and other publications credited to someone else. Ghostwriting is the most common style in the freelance writing business. The type of content will depend on the targeted audience. As a result, it can be anything from an online post or an imprint publication.

As a freelance ghostwriter, you can work on a variety of projects producing almost anything, from a literary masterpiece to a product description.

Working as a ghostwriter has a few perks. If you love writing and value your privacy, then ghostwriting might be perfect. On the other hand, if you want to publish under your name, it is best to look elsewhere.

What is it like to be a freelance writer?

Many people wonder about this basic question, and I’m sure you do too. Setting up a home office, defining your schedule, and working on your life-long passion might seduce you. However, the freelance writing business is not all roses.

Freelance daily routine
As a freelance writer, you can work anywhere! – Photo credit: MacroVector | Freepik

You are your own boss!

It is exciting, isn’t it? You decide your work schedule, no questions asked! As a freelance writer, you will notice that not every day is the same. Sometimes you are hit by an inspirational lightning bolt and other times nothing pours out, no matter how much you try.

Being your own boss means you can work as many hours as you need, or whenever you feel inspired.

However, there is a downside…
A freelance writer has many names. For instance, you might find expressions such as self-employed writer, solopreneur, or independent business owner. Regardless of what you might call yourself, it means you are responsible for your taxes our business expenses.

Especially when you are just starting, sometimes freelancing means you must attend to a bunch of tasks. You will have to work as a marketeer, advertiser, computer engineer, public relations, and customer service. And, of course, finding the time to write. In the end, you likely find yourself working longer hours as a freelance writer.

Every project is a new challenge

Freelance writing is a constant search for knowledge.
Each time you take on a new project, regardless of your writing experience, you walk into the unknown.

To deliver well-written content, you must do your research. Every day there is new information that might define your work. As a freelance writer, you must be relentless.

Furthermore, each project will force you to adjust. The goals and target audiences are different from one project to the other. Besides, each client has a vision of the final content. To become a successful freelance writer, you must meet your client’s expectations. Consequently, you must adjust your writing skills to your client’s needs.

Work anywhere you want

Can you imagine working on your laptop while overlooking a golden-sand beach and having a cocktail before lunchtime? It is a vision that seduces many beginners. And, to be honest, it is not that far from reality!

Most freelance writing careers allow you to work anywhere you want! You can set up your home office, write inside a local coffee shop, or use a coworking space. It is irrelevant where you are, as long as you have a plug and internet connection.

Although this sounds tempting, you must stay focused! This newfound freedom may take you off track if you lack discipline. When setting up your own office, remember to avoid anything that might distract you.

Sometimes, working anywhere means working everywhere! A healthy work-life balance is vital to any professional and must constantly be improved. If you work from home, try to find a space only for work where you will not be interrupted and avoid it when it is a relaxing time.

Getting paid for your work

Working as a freelance writer means getting on an hourly basis or by word count.

What does this mean? It is simple!

You set your rates and get paid for what you do, no more and no less. Contrary to working as an employee, working longer hours or writing faster might help close a project earlier than expected and receive payment sooner.

Also, you can earn much more than working a 9-to-5 job. Since you receive payment directly from your clients, you will receive more money than as an employee. However, as mentioned previously, you are an independent business owner. Although you might earn higher wages, you must consider taxes, insurance, and other formalities.

Finally, a freelance writer’s career doesn’t provide a steady income or workflow. While sometimes you struggle to meet all deadlines, other times there are no new projects.

Therefore, you must consider how this pressure would affect you. Would you feel comfortable not knowing what to expect?

Final thoughts

Hopefully, now you know what a freelance writer is and how they work. If you consider becoming a freelance writer, you will find many opportunities.