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Self-Publishing vs Freelance Writing: What’s Better?

by Syed Zain Ali Gardezi 5 months ago in list
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Lessons Learned From Four Years of Writing Experience, the Good, the Bad and the Worst

Self-Publishing vs Freelance Writing: What’s Better?
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Running through the forest, Haris was sweating like a sinner in a church, the clock was ticking, and he was up against the challenge set by himself, the challenge to reach the summit within 30 minutes. He had done better in the past, but now, four years later he just wasn’t in the desired shape as he once used to be. And in that moment of urgency and race against time, he makes a terrible mistake, the mistake of one bad foot placement and the journey that was filled with excitement was now turned into an accident. He fell hard, landing on his left leg at an angle against a boulder, he felt the strain and stress impacting his bone. While he was saved from a major injury, a minor hairline fracture, but was precautionarily recommended for two weeks of bed rest. But guess what, he’s a freelance writer so as long as his fingers and mind are working, he can still go to work from his bed. BUT! The medication recommended to reduce pain also induces sleepiness, so here we are, unable to work effectively for two weeks. When the mind isn’t in place, you just don’t feel confident enough to take on a new project.

Hope you have got the point, or at least half the point here. Anyways, let us break it down further and deeper.

Freelance writing is, in essence, a job where you come to work, do the task you are supposed to do and without any long-term entitlement are supposed to be paid against the hours and amount of work you deliver. Self-publishing, on the other hand, is more like an investment business, and like any other business, it runs the risk of going bankrupt, not being stable and pre-determined as well as never taking off despite putting on a lot of effort. However, if it does take off, which necessitates adaptive learning, you, like Haris won’t be driven by the fear of falling into a financial crisis when an accident or God forbid any other incident hits you. Of course, you won’t be making the same money, but you’ll still survive on the uninterrupted revenue stream you are enjoying.

Let’s discuss this in a bit more organized fashion with my recommendations:


The Good

Quick payout, you’ll often receive a considerable amount against the agreed project and can be expected to receive that money within a period of 15 days or even less as in the case of Upwork.

Helpful for early birds, learning from client reviews and feedback as well as developing a writing habit.

For those looking for a quick buck, it is certainly a viable option.

The Bad

It’s a job, with no extended protection mechanisms or golden handshakes. While you climb your ladder, you quickly fall as soon as you stop working.

You are limited by the number of hours you can devote to work, making the profession unscalable.

The Worse

Being a freelancer never guarantees you the desired level of financial stability.

The ups and downs, and the fear of one bad review tarnishing your profile always remains, and you always remain a hired worker who GHOSTWRITES, so no matter how exceptional your writing and ideas are, it won’t carry and celebrate your name.


The Good

Allows you to build your own name and brand.

Highly scalable where your works for even two years ago could still be paying you off.

Allows you to work at your own pace and build an audience that appreciates your ideas and thoughts.

The Bad

It’s a slow process, and for those who are aspiring for quick returns, it could just be very disappointing.

Your feedback is your views and audience, instead of a critical one, so you have to research yourself to improve your content quality. This means that while improvement is critical, the process must be self-encouraged as there are relatively lesser external indicators.

The Worse

Nothing particularly worse about it, just that it requires extensive commitment which can at times be very arduous.


So, listen guys, my recommendation would be to you is to become a juggler working both in freelancing and self-publishing. I know it’ll be a bit tougher, but like it or not, money is a strong motivator, and everyone naturally aspires to sustain himself if he wishes to pursue writing as a profession. Enjoy the best of both worlds, borrow lessons of freelancing, and apply in self-publishing and in the end, slowly transition towards Self-publishing as it starts to take off.

All in all, the lessons can be applied to not just writing but to diversified fields of professions, so whichever profession you are in, it’s always nice to build something of your own with your name on the top of it. BEST OF LUCK!

Originally Published by author on Medium


About the author

Syed Zain Ali Gardezi

A ridiculously motivated writer ambitioned by art, crypto and gardening. Busy enlghtening the world :)

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