Starving Writer Woes

Writing for a living the past six months feels like a rollercoaster of a ride: terribly frightening but I’d queue up to do it all over again. Hope I’m still alive by the end of it, fingers x

It’s been a little more than half a year since I’ve started freelancing as a writer and it is definitely not as glamorous as it sounds:

Just last week, a client has decided that they wanted to work with a new pool of writers, meaning they didn’t have any plans to continue their contract with my batch of writers anymore. A few days ago, the pay out for a site I’ve been writing for was cut by almost 50%, with new penalties put in place (up to 70% deduction of pay out if editing exceeded a certain limit).

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These two sites have been my main source of income for the past half a year, and the sudden cut in income from them (within the same week!) gave me a mini heart attack. Okay, maybe more than a mini heart attack – I had an episode over the past week. I’ve been applying for new projects, submitting “written test” write ups, waiting, waiting… and still waiting.

I guess you could say this is my first crisis of sorts in this line of work, and it’s probably a lesson that’s going to add to the wealth of my life experience. The things you do for love, really. As a result, I’ve been hunting for part time administrative jobs and anything that’s going to tide me over the next few months at least.

Is this worth it?

Over the past week I’ve been asking myself if this was all worth it: I’m earning half of what most entry-level jobs are paying, I have no job title, I’m still using the small wardrobe I’ve been using since I was eight (I’m 23 now) because I haven’t got the money to get a new one. Is all this worth it, really?

More importantly, do I really enjoy what I’m writing now? Over the past half a year, I realise that most of what I’ve been writing aren’t quite the things of my heart. This is quite a silly dream but I dream and hope to publish my own books, and write content that bring more value to people’s lives. I know that chasing your dream isn’t at all glamours and sometimes, you need to do certain things you don’t like doing along the way.

Striking a balance

Perhaps this slow season came at a timely moment for me to realign myself. Sometimes, I spend so much time writing content for others that I can’t find the energy to write for myself anymore. It’s been in my heart to talk about this freelance writing experience for some time and I actually put this off for more than a month! I don’t want to be the person who’s so caught up in the demands on others and eventually forget what I had set out to accomplish. Having all this spare time in my hands could actually be a good thing because hey, I’m finally writing for myself again.

Don’t pull yourself down

It’s really easy to feel shitty and down, question my life decisions and give myself the pep talk on how I should stick to my pragmatic Asian values (“if you were a teacher, you’d have that iron rice bowl”). Nonetheless, I’m already six months in to this and it’d be a waste not to venture a little deeper. No matter how un-funny things can get, sometimes a good dose of humour will be enough to see you through. There are enough voices out there holding me back, the least I can do is cheer myself on.

Honestly, I’m really not sure what’s in store for me over the next few months, but I guess something will come up. Something always comes up, and the best I can do for myself is to look up: Dear God, please help.





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