How Freelancing Helps Progress My Craft

Year 2014, I was working as a full-time ghostwriter in an online marketing company when I read Elle Luna’s life-changing essay, The Crossroads of Should and Must

But then, I realized reading is pointless if I don’t take actions to pursue my dream — my Must.

Action is the catalyst. Not reading. 

After weeks of reflecting, still, I was confused. I wasn’t sure which path I’m heading to (should or must?).

Am I doing this writing job because I love it? Or maybe it’s just for money and to please my family?

I love writing. And I need money. I want to help my family in some way.

But what I love more is creating or doing things that excite me —  playing music and writing stories or topics that matter to me (not the ones ordered by the company).

I want to create something invaluable for humanity. And this, I think was what I really wanted to pursue that timeIt took me almost a year to decide — I left that job and went freelance.

Is Going Freelance the Answer?

It’s not about freelance, it’s about having more control of your time.

When I was working full-time (office based), I spent most of my waking hours writing from 9 AM to 6 PM. And because it’s in the office, there are rules to abide — which means, I didn’t have the freedom to decide for myself.

I didn’t have the freedom when to take a break, write for myself, read the books I wanted to read, pick up my guitar, meditate, break the routine, and try something new.

Not to mention, I needed to write at least 2,000 words a day, which include topics I didn’t understand.

It was cut-throat.

Unlike freelancing, I have complete control over my time frame. I can write 5 to 8 hours today, and tomorrow, perhaps, less than 4 hours. The only goal is to meet my clients’ deadline.

I can also switch writing for myself anytime I want. No one’s watching. I can take breaks whenever I want. I can read the books I wanted to read. I can switch to playing guitar when writing gets tedious. I can restructure my time to suit my schedule. I can work anywhere and anytime.

You get the point. It’s freedom.

I don’t encourage people to leave their jobs and follow my footsteps. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who have a family to feed. If you have a stable job and you’re happy with it and you can still find time to hone your craft or do what you love or build something on the side, then stick with it.

Because the truth is, freelancing is uncertain and sometimes scary. One month, you are booked with clients and very productive, and then the next month, no one hires you as if your online identity was wiped out from the web. You’re in survival mode again.

Still, I do believe freelancing has advantages for the creatives or for those who don’t want a supervisor poking them every hour, or for people hustling different projects on the side.

If you’re someone who wants more time to learn and explore new things or experiment life or practice your craft or challenge yourself or work anywhere, then maybe, freelancing may work for you.

What matters most is you know why you’re doing it.

Update: After 6 months of freelancing (February – August 2015), I landed a home based full-time job. And it’s the best job ever. While I’m required to work at least 7 hours a day, it feels like freelance — I have the freedom to choose my work hours. I have the freedom when to take a break and do what I love so long as I finish my tasks on time.

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Jade Panugan

Some interesting questions about life and human behavior: What if there's no money? Why we often feel the urge to prove that we're right and others are wrong? Why we react to things beyond our control? Why we hate? Why it's hard to be content? I don't have all the answers, do you? Let's chat.