5 Worst Questions to Ask a Freelancer

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When people ask me what I do, I tell them I'm a writer. Because, well, that's how I make money.  But no, I'm not officially on staff at any publications, and I'm not yet a published fiction author, so long story short, I freelance. I know writers decades older than me who have made a fantastic career from freelancing (and have the New York zip codes to prove it), but somehow being 23 and being a freelancer often invokes some type of cringe from 9-5ers.

Next time you meet someone working much longer hours than you do, for less money, but actually doing something she enjoys, here are some questions you should maybe keep to yourself. I've provided answers, so you don't even have to say the words out loud!

1. But do you want a job?

Yes, I have several. I might prefer to relax with novels on my yacht in the South of France all day, but in the meantime I'll settle for a working life. 

2. Do you make enough money?

Does anyone? Is there really anyone in this country who is satisfied with their salary? Really? And no, I'm not on my parents' allowance. I'm self sufficient, if that's what you meant.

3. But how do you make money? OR: Do you make all your money from writing?

Why are my personal finances so interesting to you? I have friends with "real" office, salaried, benefits jobs who do all sorts of odd jobs to make rent and afford a cocktail or two after working 9-5, Monday-Friday. I edit, translate, ghostwrite and occasionally babysit, now you know. I also accept major creative grants, if that's why you were asking.

4. Do you think any of the companies you work for will hire you?

Yes. They hired me to write words for them. Do you mean full time? That's a different question. Also irrelevant unless you're interviewing me for a position.

5. But what do actually you want to do with your life?

This. I think. Maybe. Actually. I'm 23! Don't ask that.

#WHATAMIDOINGWITHMYLIFE

"If I wanted a stable job I'd be a jockey." -me, on the state of things in the universe

It's been two months since I graduated college and my fans (read: friends I neglect to Skype with) are wondering what I've been up to.

I did it!

Rather than getting my Latin Honors tattooed down my arm and prancing around with a fancy job title like "Assistant to Executive" or "Data Expert" or "Entry Level Person in Charge of Corporate Tasks" I've chosen the most glamorous title of Writer. Professional Writer, that is.

Yes, readers, I am a writer. A professional writer. Crazy, I know.  The title of student has been ripped away from me, replaced by a diploma I have yet to receive in the mail, and suddenly when people ask what I do I have to tell them something legitimate.

A typical conversation goes like this:

"What do you do?"

"I'm a writer."

"What do you write?"

"Words."

It seems that no one really understands what writers do.

With three Columbia friends, I started a culture and lifestyle website, where we aim to put a new spin on media and public relations with local businesses.  It's been a lot of work and a lot of fun, but we all know that's not where the money is. If you do however want to invest in/buy NeuralPop for a large sum, let's talk.   It's nice to have a place to collaborate and share with a new audience, but often leaves me confused on what I should be personally blogging about here, or what I want to share in my NeuralPop voice over on our website.

In the two and a half months of my professional writing career (because apparently everything published before this doesn't really count), I've learned a few things about becoming a writer.

Firstly, it's one of the most independent careers you can have.  If I sleep all day and get no work done, it's pretty much on me.  Unless I have a deadline, which I'm actually pretty good about, thanks to college and stuff. I'm constantly on the job hunt, for contracts and columns, which I actually find pretty fun, as the opportunities are endless.

Everyone's a writer these days.  Not a good one, necessarily, but you have to make your work stand out, have a particular voice and style.

You can't just do one thing.  Ideally, I'd be sitting and writing fiction all day.  But no. There's no money in that.  (And yeah, I'm blaming you, reader who isn't buying books). But I've found creative ways to make money via the written word, without sacrificing too much integrity.

Pieces without bylines will indelibly pay more, but at least it's good writing practice!  I've also been lucky enough to be commissioned to ghostwrite a young adult novel, which isn't leading to any worldwide book tours, but I'm 22, I can wait a few years.

So yes, world, this is what I'm up to.  Any tips or advice or praise are welcome in the comments!