Software and Web developers may rule the roost when it comes to online freelancing but that isn’t the only kind of work one can do online. There are a number of opportunities out there. It could be passion or a talent that hasn’t yet been realised, fully explored or it could purely be out of necessity.
I managed to interview a friend of mine who has been freelancing as writer for some time, and writes under the name Jo Hayward. She has a full time job and writes when she can and posts her books and stories to sites like Wattpad and Dreame.
How did you get into writing fiction?
“I got into writing after reading multiple novels and thinking to myself I could actually write something. My English teachers used to enjoy my compositions back in high school so that was also a push. Reading novels by Wilbur Smith, Danielle Steel, James Patterson was an eye-opener to the world of romance, crime and adventure. The vocabulary hunt for my high school essays was also the drive towards reading books by such famous authors which made me wonder if I could write my own piece but make it more palatable to everyone, because not everyone speaks English in the way its written on some books…”
When did you realise that you could make money out of your talent?
“When the website I published my books on chose me for a trial run to see if writers could generate money using online stories I jumped at the idea. It was an opportunity I couldn’t miss out on. Especially since I was in search of school fees at the time. But the amount generated was not much in the end.”
Which company(s) or websites have you published your work through?
How do your books and stories generate money on these sites?
“With Wattpad one generated income from readers viewing advertisements that were placed between each chapter of my stories. So for a reader to go to the next chapter they had to view an advertisement.
The more readers one had the better the chances of accumulating more revenue. In good period I could make US$100 quarterly on Wattpad and in bad periods around US$30
With Dreame an exclusive contract is signed, they pay upfront to have a book or story exclusively for a period of time. But also, the more readers and followers I get on Dreame will result in my story generating revenue after a certain threshold of followers is passed.”
So how do you balance freelancing as a writer and working a full time job?
I write when I have the time from work and my studies. Writing is also an escape from the harsh realities of life.
How many hours do you put in to your writing on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis?
Haven’t calculated. I only write upon inspiration. Sometimes writers block really makes things become stagnant such that my followers start to ask for an update. I don’t really have a schedule, as I can be overwhelmed by work at times and other times I am too exhausted after work though ideas are right on the tip of my fingers.
How do you receive payment for your work?
Wire transfer when possible, but more often using a friends’ PayPal account. The money my friend receives she pays forward to my distance learning program.
What challenges have you faced while freelancing as a writer?
Receiving payment, it would be easier if Zimbabwe could facilitate PayPal.
Writers block is a huge challenge as you have to make sure your story is unique and not clichê
Do you at some point want to make this your full time job?
Not really. This is just a means of distressing, having fun, and supplement my income for other purposes like my education.
In another life maybe I would be a full time author but I also have a love for sciences and helping people in the medical field.
Is there anything you’d like to say to others out there who may have a talent but don’t know how to make a living from it?
People shouldn’t sit on their talents. If you can use it to generate some income whilst having FUN do it. People tend to be stuck doing things they don’t have a passion for. Who knows you could be impacting someone out there positively whilst making something for yourself. Besides you only have this life to do all you can and enjoy it to the fullest.
There could some very talented writers out there who have stories they want to tell. You can make money out of your talents and there are sites where you can showcase your talent.
With how the internet has intertwined the world, you may never know who may be reading your work, and where it could take you.