I guess it kind of depends on your definition of “career” doesn’t it? For me, when I think of a career I envision something that one does as their primary means of supporting themselves. In my mind, a career is a long term proposition that doesn’t include using the current job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
I wonder how many of us that are freelance writing have no aspirations in terms of moving up. If a career is a job that you love doing, then moving up is not an issue, right? And what does moving up mean, anyway? Does building a big business with lots of clients and other writers working for you equate to moving up? These are all legitimate questions when examining the issue of freelance writing as a career.
Again, each of us have an idea of whether or not our freelance writing is a career. Because the definition changes for everyone, it’s kind of tough to sort out. One of the things I think makes freelance writing a non-career is just doing it part time. This is not the time to open that ageless discussion of full-vs-part time, but in terms of defining freelance writing as a career, doing it full time seems to be kind of a no-brainer for career status.
There are a lot of folks who freelance write in the day time and then work on their novel at night. For them, freelance writing is a way to get paid while they move toward their goal of publishing a book and becoming a world famous novelist. I would say that for these writers, freelancing is not a career.
I think that freelance writing can absolutely be a career. One of the things that is so great about freelance writing is that the scope of projects is nearly limitless. This means that a freelance writer does not need to stay stuck in the same writing rut day in and day out. Expansion to any number of genres (if you will) is possible at any time. When we think about longevity, this variety is key. Unless any of you plan on writing batches of keyword rich articles for the rest of your freelancing days. (Shudder)
Finally, I have to ask, “Is it okay to freelance write and not have it be a career?” I’m pretty certain the answer to that question is a resounding, “Absolutely!” You have to ask yourself if you are receiving any joy from your freelance writing. Does it make you feel alive? Does it provide satisfaction? If the answer is yes, then sally forth and continue to do exactly what makes your writing soul sing.
Career or not, sometimes it’s important to sit down and reflect on your freelance writing. Think about whether or not this is a career for you. If you decide that it is, you probably have a lot more work cut out for you. Treat it like a career and get those goals written. “Professional Up” and do everything in your power to put your freelance writing on a career level.