Why I Am a Freelance Writer

by John Soares on July 29, 2014

Why Am I a Freelance Writer?

This is an important question that all freelance writers should ask themselves. We’ll all give different answers, but we need to know what motivates us to pursue a career that can have a high level of uncertainty and significant amounts of frustration.

Sunset on Kauai, Hawaii. I lived here for 3 years.

Kauai, Hawaii. I lived here for 3 years. (Credit: Rob Murray)

Here are my top five reasons.

#1. I get to live wherever I want.

Here’s where I’ve lived since I quit teaching college in 1994 to become a full-time writer:

* Chico, California, a beautiful mid-sized college town in the Sacramento Valley beside the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

* Kauai, the most beautiful of the Hawaiian Islands. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean.

* The coast of far northern California. I owned a home on five redwood-studded acres just three miles from the Pacific Ocean.

* Mount Shasta, California, at the base of a 14,179-foot-high volcano just south of the Oregon border. Great people, great hiking, and the subject of one of my hiking guidebooks.

* Ashland (my current home), a famous small town in southern Oregon, well-known for its beauty, its friendly people, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

#2. I love the intellectual stimulation.

My main specialty is creating learning and teaching supplements for college textbooks. Over the last 20 years I’ve worked on over 300 projects in a wide variety of subjects ranging from geography to history to political science to environmental science to education. I love to learn and I love to think, so this is the perfect niche for me.

#3. I get to set my own hours.

This is a big one. The last time I worked for someone else was back in 1994, when I taught American government courses at Butte College in Chico, California. Even then, I only had to show up at the specific times of my lectures. (Oh, when I lived on Kauai in the late 1990s, I worked for two days as an extra on the movie Six Days, Seven Nights with Harrison Ford.)

I really appreciate being able to work at my peak times, and to have the flexibility to schedule workouts, recreation, socializing, and vacations around my writing.

#4. I make a good living.

Not as much as some top freelance writers, but my niche pays me well enough to provide me with an excellent place to live, healthy food to eat, and opportunities for recreation and fun, while also funding my retirement accounts and adding to my savings.

#5. I enjoy writing.

Not all the time, of course. But most of the time.

Your Take

Why are you a freelance writer? Tell us in the comments below, or perhaps you want to write your own post?

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