My Journey from a Full-time to Freelance Writer
Change is good, it truly is. But when you’re transiting from point A to point B while the change is taking place, it can get a bit rough at times and this principle applies to your job as well. I have been writing professionally for almost 15 years now. I started working in Mumbai and Pune where I had friends, colleagues, a social network (that was even before Facebook and Twitter happened), I shared a bond with my peers and seniors, I was lucky to have got mentored and guided for various projects and it was overall a superb experience.
Then came marriage and owing to my ex-husband’s transferable job profile, I had to keep moving across the country. In my eight-year marriage, I shifted from Pune, Kochi, Vizag, Kannur and back to Mumbai. My career took a backseat which I didn’t mind at all. I was lucky enough to find a good internet connection wherever I went even, in the most remote part of the country. So thankfully my professional writing continued.
While I started writing for several publications – both print and online, I worked for an e-publishing house in the UK. There were times I would clock in more than eight to 10 hours of work a day. I managed to plot a schedule for myself amidst all the ‘load-shedding’, uninvited guests, household chores and other untoward incidents. One of the major advantages of working from home and freelancing was that I got to explore a variety of writing methods for various clients; be it travel, health or business without having to commute.
But what happened eventually was that I started getting isolated. I missed having friends, a social network, meeting people face to face at the canteen for lunch or during tea breaks. I missed having to sit with my team of co-workers and ideate and attend those weekend workshops and those brainstorming sessions. Most importantly I missed the guidance and mentoring of senior colleagues, who would spot my positive qualities and give me more chances to do well at work.
I have a 3-year-old daughter now and am a single working mother. I still work from home so that I can devote enough time to my daughter and strike a work-life balance. At a personal level even though freelancing helps me to go back to the love of writing about various topics such as food reviews, travel and lifestyle, the meagre payments that come with it sometimes do not justify the efforts and time put in. That’s when I tend to miss working at a full time job that comes with a decent pay package and other perks.
Other factors such as the delay in payments from the client, the constant reminders to them to clear the payments and the tax deducted at source also tend to play a spoilsport in freelancing. Freelancing is definitely good for those who’re planning on taking a sabbatical from work and want to try out something new in the field. It is during the transition phase that freelancing helps, as it allows you to gauge whether this is something you’d like to do.
If you’re not too pressed for the money then go by all means and freelance as long as you churn out quality content/ work for people to read, enjoy and benefit from. There’s never a good or a bad thing about full time work and freelance as it all depends on the choices you make and how best you fulfil them. Working fulltime today sounds very exciting to me, but as a mother it will rob me of my precious time with my daughter. Hence, I choose to freelance and work from home for a few more years until she’s grown up. Yes, there are chances that I may lose my chance to work again owing to my age, but that’s a choice I’ve made and will stand by it.
If you’re planning on a shift to work from fulltime to freelance go ahead provided you have enough backing or support both financially and socially. Freelancing sounds easy but comes with its own share of challenges…
Contributed by Tanya Munshi