Have you ever thought about what a potential client thinks when you describe yourself as a “freelance” writer? The dictionary software on my Mac defines freelance as follows:
“working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company”
A person who can’t hold onto a job for a time is generally looked down upon, since we value people who can commit to an employer for a time. Companies recognize long-term workers and may even provide them with gifts or bonuses in return for their years of service.
If you tell someone you are a freelance writer, what does that say about you? It certainly is an accurate term if you work for clients, as opposed to being an employee who provides writing services, but is it the best way to describe what we do?
I am not suggesting that “freelance” be considered one of the words that we no longer say out loud. It’s not the new “F” word, nor is it a put down like the “R” word or the “N” word. Since writers are all about words and we are usually very precise about the ones we choose to use, let’s consider for a minute other kinds of work that are performed independently that aren’t referred to as “freelance.”
Anyone who operates a business independently is technically a freelancer, but we don’t refer to our doctor, dentist or plumber in that way. We work for ourselves because we choose to do so, not because we can’t commit to a job or (horrors!) no one would want to hire us full time.
So instead of calling yourself a “freelance writer,” why not just say “I’m a writer.” Or an independent writer. Or a professional writer. Or a communications consultant. Heck, you can even call yourself a wizard of words, since there are times when a writer needs to work some magic to pull off some of the assignments he or she takes on. Let’s face it, any job title that implies you get to wear flowing robes and use a wand can’t be all bad….
How do you define yourself as a writer? Are you a freelancer and proud of it, or are there other terms you feel more comfortable with?