Full Disclosure

I’ve ghostwritten several short stories and novellas for clients and even a couple of novels, but I have barely been published under my real name.

When I wrote that sentence, I actually wrote: “I have never been published…” But before I even finished writing it, it occurred to me that I have been published under my own name. Once.

One of my freelance writing gigs was for How Expert Press. It was a short non-fiction piece called How To Write Fanfiction available on Amazon (I don’t receive anything for it if you click on any links or if you buy anything from any sites I link to, not even that book I wrote). How Expert wanted me to write a book on a topic I was passionate about, and I figured it would be a great learning experience, so even though I’m a fiction writer, I took the job. At least I can say I’m a published author, right?

All that is to say that although I don’t have a huge volume of officially or commercially published work, I do have experience writing. I’ve written nearly a million words of fanfiction, most of which is available to read at the Archive of Our Own under my “pseudonym” — sabaceanbabe.

You may be wondering why I’ve posted this. Well, it’s kind of a bridge between my last post and the next. I guess it’s also a presentation of credentials, so to speak since this is a blog about writing.

If you have any questions or any topics you’d like to read about, please leave them in the comments.

Is Freelance Writing Worth It?

“I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better.” – A. J. Liebling (1904-1963)
There are people in this world who can write 5,000 words in a day on top of having a full-time job. Those who can do that will have time to edit and polish their words before a client’s 30-day (or less!) deadline. Thirty days can be plenty of time to write the first draft of a 50,000-word novel (hello, NaNoWriMo!). But without that time to edit and polish, those words won’t necessarily be good. And that can become problematic when a client publishes without proofreading. (In the world of low-level freelance ghostwriting, that is a thing. A big and ugly thing.)
Freelance writing can be long hours of work for too little pay. You can ghostwrite something you’re proud of, but you can’t share it because it’s not yours. Four years as a freelance ghostwriter has taught me writing-for-hire isn’t for everyone. More important, though, is that it’s taught me that it may not be for me.
The allure is there. I’ve written several novels and novellas that made clients happy. For me, they were at best unsatisfying and at worst damaging to both my desire to write and to my chill. And not everything satisfied every client. For the most part, that was because I sometimes write at a snail’s pace and can’t get myself to work any faster. My brain, which grew up writing fanfiction, has developed some kind of inhibitor inside it. It won’t let the words flow if there are other issues involved. Issue such as a client who is a misogynist. A client who doesn’t give feedback on the story increments they requested. A client who doesn’t answer questions to clarify something before you can continue. A client who wants a billionaire-bad-boy-biker-werewolf-alpha-pseudo-BDSM-white-savior-submissive-female romance* of at least 30,000 words in ten days.
Don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from my freelance writing, much of it’s been fun, and it all has made me a better writer. But as deadlines loom and words stop flowing, it’s not cool to say, “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to meet that deadline we agreed on.” It’s better for everyone involved if I work on my own fiction going forward.
I’ve had a science fiction trilogy in the works for a couple of years now. It languishes neglected in a corner because I’m too busy writing things for other people. That story calls to me every time I listen to music. I hear a song from my playlist or that would be perfect for it that sparks ideas. And, too, I’m working on learning to write short stories. Yes, I’ve written them before (see reference to fanfiction above). But I’d like to actually know what I’m doing regarding writing those original short stories I’ve started.
So, until further notice, unless the right project comes along, I’ll be writing for myself. Okay, I’ll be writing for myself and for eventual publication, either traditional or self. And while I work on those novels and stories, I’ll share here some of the things I’ve learned and will learn about writing.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate it. Feel free to ask questions or leave topic suggestions in the comments.
*That’s not actually a real thing. But it could be. And that scares me.