Taking the Plunge into Full-time Freelance Writing

What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail?

Before I get to the big news (and the not-necessarily horror writer news), I’m glad to report that I’m almost finished with revisions for my next novel. Took a little longer than I expected–and I’m sure it’s not the last set of revisions I’ll do–but I’m glad to say I got everything done to this point in just over a year. Considering how long it took me to get The Imaginings out in the world, I’d say that’s a pretty big improvement.

Speaking of The Imaginings (tremendous segue, if I do say so myself), the new trade paperback format is still available for purchase at my bookstore (www.pauldailbooks.com) as well as major retailers.

But now, without further ado…

Sing it with me! "School's out for EVER!" Image from Flickr Creative Commons. www.focka.com/br Eduardo Gabriel
Sing it with me! “School’s out for EVER!”
Image from Flickr Creative Commons. http://www.focka.com/br Eduardo Gabriel

THE BIG NEWS! After many years of dreaming about this (and actively working toward it the past couple years), next fall I will be going full-time freelance writing.

Well, kind of.

I have only been teaching part-time the past few years, so I’ll only have to replace a part-time teaching salary.

Hmm.  In case you aren’t familiar with teacher salaries, I’ll just tell you that this shouldn’t be too difficult (knock on wood).

Overall, I’m very excited and terrified. Beyond the financial concerns, there are some obvious pros and cons. While I’ve wanted to make my living (or at least enough of our families living) from writing, it won’t be my fiction writing that’s going to do it–at least not yet.  I’ve been doing web content and article writing.  This isn’t always the most stimulating material, but there’s a good market for people who can do it.  However, at these early stages, the amount of time I spend researching and then crafting the articles doesn’t really add up financially.

And I’ve researched enough about medicinal marijuana to probably flag my computer for life (especially given all the research I’m also doing as a horror writer).

* * *

“I write web content…

which means I can tell you 500-700 words

about practically anything.”

* * *

So I’m still navigating the waters and developing my portfolio, and the learning curve has been significant (much thanks to awesome fellow horror writer and freelancer Bryan Hall for some great advice. Interesting guy.  I did an interview with Bryan here). But I’ve gained some good experience and feel like I’m finally on my way.

The important thing is that I’m writing. From my home where I can spend more time with my kids. And I’m getting paid to do it.

Maybe there was a reason I got that degree after all.

What do I want from you?

Again, Bryan Hall was a great help. And I really enjoyed what I’ve read of his works so far. You should support him (www.bryanhallfiction.com). Don’t hit him up for freelance advice just because I mentioned him here. Or at least if you do, make it worth his while. Because a freelance writer’s time is valuable.

For my other writer friends, have any of you done much freelance work? What has been your experience?

For everyone else, just keep thinking good thoughts for me.

Finally, I know posts are sporadic as of late as I continue to pursue the writing career with limited time to commit elsewhere, but if you’ve enjoyed what you read here, please subscribe to receive posts via email or RSS feed (on the right hand column) so you won’t miss anything when I do get the opportunity to say something. NO SPAM, I promise.

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16 thoughts on “Taking the Plunge into Full-time Freelance Writing

  1. Nice, Paul. I wish you the best of luck!

    1. Thanks, Marie. As a teacher yourself, you can probably understand when I say that I will miss teaching, but not necessarily being a teacher, you know?

      How is everything going for you? TESSpecFic has been pretty quiet as of late, but I’m always thinking good thoughts for everyone.

  2. Congratulations Paul!!! The very best of luck with your freelance career!

    1. Thanks, Robyn. A big step, and a big change, but I’m excited about it.

  3. Congratulations and good luck!

    1. Thanks, David. Seems like things are going swimmingly for you and your writing. And looks like you’re having a helluva good time to boot. Glad to hear it.

  4. I’m so happy to see that you’re writing and going to take the BIG plunge. I’m rooting for you every step of the way!

    1. Much thanks, my friend. And the same right back at ya. Nice to have supportive writing friends.

  5. Two of my Austin friends made the switch to writing freelance. They’ve been at it for years now, supporting families and paying bills, (as in: it WORKS, from a financial standpoint). They are happy, and that’s the best thing. I am excited for you, Paul, and I know it’ll be great!


    1. Thanks, Aniko. Always good to hear success stories. I know they’re out there. Bryan Hall was a big inspiration for me. I remember maybe a year ago when he made the proclamation that he was there. I definitely think it’s possible; it’s just a little scary to consider.

      Thanks again. Glad to be hearing more from you these days. Keep fighting the good fight.

      1. I hope to join you out there, away from the standard 9-5, but my time frame is closer to five years from now. That would put me at (gasp!) twenty years in software! I’m already dreaming of a part time job doing something like baking biscuits or washing dishes…. very part time, write the rest of the time!

        I’m also happy to hear from you more often lately!


  6. Well done, Paul, that sounds tremendously exciting. I really hope it works out for you, and I am sure it will. Let us know your success stories via the blog! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Ken. I’m feeling pretty good about my prospects so far, which is something of a relief.

      How is everything going for you?

  7. Congrats, Paul! My advice: establish a schedule and treat it like any other job.

    1. Thanks, Glen. And those are wise words. With two toddlers, scheduling has been a little tricky. I learned a pretty good lesson when I was trying to finish my second novel last year, which was to write whenever the hell you have a quiet moment and sometimes you gotta make those quiet moments by sacrificing things like sleep 🙂

      My four-year-old is going into preschool next year, which is a bittersweet moment for me. But it means I’ll have a little more time to work.

      Anyway, thanks again for the comment. How are things going with you?

      1. Having your day dictated by a toddler can make things difficult. I think taking advantage of little moments of free time is important. Even a ten minute burst of writing can spur the story along in your mind, making your non-writing time more creatively fruitful.

        Our little guy will be three in August, but luckily he still takes a consistent nap. Lately, I’ve been trying to get in structured writing time by waking up early (I’m at the keyboard by 4am), and getting out of the house on the weekends for chunks of time.

        It took me a long time to get into a groove after I quit my job to write and be a stay-at-home dad. The more time that went by, the more pressure I put on myself to produce, which made it even more difficult. But I’m finally back working consistently, and I’ve realized that all those sucky writing days when I only get in a page or two all add up.

        I have a July 31 deadline to turn in my first novel for JournalStone. It’s getting close, but I’m having fun with the story. Even though it’s my fifth novel, the process never gets easier. Some people claim that writing is a breeze, but it’s certainly not for me.

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