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You may have heard of the website “Barefoot Writer”. It sounds so appealing doesn’t it, making money writing? Spend only a few hours of your precious day pool or beachside, feeling the sand squish between your toes, bathing in the warm sun as you gloriously type away a few hundred words of brilliance and are paid a mint in return.
Now, according to The Well-Fed Writer, Writer for Hire, Mike Shreeve from Work Smarter on Facebook, and countless YouTube advertisements and how to books, this model is totally attainable. Writing, living totally self-sufficient, traveling, raking in six figures, spending your work day in your pajamas, making your own hours, living where you want, writing where you want, and LOVING what you do.
I call Shenanigans!
I’m sorry, but I do. I think it’s time to stop getting sucked in by attractive barefoot and comfy pants writing models.
Here’s the thing, what is the one thing all those barefoot writer model websites, Facebook posts, YouTube advisements, and how-to books have in common?
They are trying to sell you something. They come with some sort of price tag, caveat, membership fee., or they offer “FREE” training, ebooks, and how-to’s only to rope you into buying the full monty.
You pay money, they give you “tools”, “access” or “membership” to pave the way to be as successful and carefree and happy as them.
The WellFed Writer, written in 2000, is a great book, it has a lot of resources and ideas for tackling commercial writing. However, according to The Well-fed Writer, you can make your own hours, and work only a small number of hours per week and get $2,000.
Now, here’s the thing. I don’t think getting $2,000 a week is an absolute fraud. I certainly would like to make that much. Right now, my goal by the end of the year is to get to 2,000 a month, so maybe that sort of puts it into perspective.
It’s this whole, work in your pajamas, make your own hours, little effort for a big payout that I have an issue with.
My current job is full-time, I get paid monthly, I am required to write 4 articles a day, those articles are around 300-500 words each. I need to get my first article in by 10 am. Sounds easy right? Sounds like I can just roll out of bed, spend a few hours hammering out some articles and go on with my day.
Wrong. It’s work, plain and simple.
First of all, I have to get up, walk the dog, make coffee, start up my computer, head to my “office”. I can’t write in pajamas because my productivity completely plummets, so I get dressed for my day and set down to work.
In order to make my job worth it, I need to get my articles done in about an hour. That’s an hour of writing time. However, I like to research, read up on other articles dealing with the same topics, get a real feel for what I’m writing about, that takes time.
I go through and thoroughly edit my work and send it off to my editor an article at a time.
My job takes up about 5 hours of my day (and that’s a good day).
There are pitches, applying for jobs, working on the projects outside of my job, and completing my own personal projects.
For me, freelance writing isn’t an end all. It isn’t the only thing I want to do, it’s a way to gain time to pursue passion writing projects like poetry, working on my own stories and film reviews.
So where is all this six-figure income for 3 hours of work a day? Am I working too hard? Or am I actually just working? Treating freelancing like a career, not a free pass to a life of luxury?
Something to hone, and work on, and improve. An ever-evolving business that yes, may take me to a pool or beachside, and maybe I can live wherever I want, but I’ll be spending a lot of my time writing and working.
Think about your writing goals, really think about it. Think about how much time you want to spend per day, and think about how many words you can write without fizzling out. Then look at those freelance writing platforms peddling the barefoot writer model and trying to sell you something and see if it’s a sustainable reality or a nice pipe dream to get some money from you.