A friend of mine is thinking of quitting their day job. They’ve had a novel published, which is doing very well indeed thank you very much. Their publisher is solidly behind them and eager for more books. The friend has turned to me for advice. On account of how I’m already a freelancer.
However, their situation is very different from mine when I went freelance. I had come to the end of a fellowship so instead of seeking employment or another fellowship I opted to try my hand at writing full time. My friend would be leaving a job which has a clear path of promotion in a secure industry with great health insurance and all sorts of other perks. Also the friend likes the job, but they love writing. And the job is so full on that it’s very difficult to make the time to write novels.
My first impulse is to say, “Keep the job!” But the friend is a brilliant writer. Keeping the job means a book every three or four years. Tops. At the moment the money is about the same between the two options.
What to do?
Here’s my list of pros and cons of freelancing.
very irregular pay
have to provide your own health insurance
your own super (savings for retirement—dunno what they call that in the US of A)
can be very isolating working long hours on your own
stationery no longer free
life ruled by deadlines
concentrate on writing
your time is your own
work uniform is pyjamas
can work wherever you want
can work whenever you want
travel is easy
no office politics
if you need to get out and go for a walk/swim/ice cream you can
I’m a bit stupid today so I’m sure I’ve forgotten heaps and some of them are a bit repetitive. Please chime in with your own pros and cons to the freelance life. What would you do in this situation? What’s your advice for my friend?