Like many careers, freelance technical writing is one that looks great from the outside. Sitting at home all day, working when you want, choosing only those assignments that make you happy - it's no wonder so many people sitting in cramped cubicles dream about taking the plunge. Before you tell your boss that your nine-to-five days are over, however, you better make sure you want to become a technical writer for the right reasons. If any of the following is your main motivation for wanting to leave the working world behind, you might want to think again about changing careers.
I won't have to deal with my annoying boss: No, you won't have one boss to deal with anymore…you'll have way more. As a freelance technical writer, you'll be working for yourself in a sense, but it's crucial not to forget it's your clients who pay your bills. For that reason, you have to answer to them the same way you would any boss. Some of them will be demanding, some will be completely disorganized, and some, like your boss, will be annoying.
I'll get to work when I want: It's true - as a technical writer, you'll largely get to choose when you will complete your work. The catch is, however, that you'll still have to meet regular, often tight deadlines. Often, this can mean working longer days than you did when you had a "normal" job. And while working from midnight until eight a.m. might seem really cool at first, the novelty usually wears off pretty fast.
I'll get to choose what projects I work on: In theory, technical writers get to pick and choose which projects they will complete. The reality, however, especially when you're first starting out, is much different. Like everyone else, you have to pay the bills, and this can mean taking on projects that you aren't exactly crazy about.
I'll be rich: Many technical writers do make a very decent living, and some make an outstanding one. Keep in mind, though, that those earning huge pay checks have likely been in the business for years, and they've definitely worked extremely hard to build their business. For the first couple of years, you'll make enough to get by if you're lucky, so don't become a technical writer for the huge pay check.
Last Updated: 05/05/2014