5 Advantages of Being an Independent Writer
The corporate world is alluring. Give or take regular economic upheavals and standard fluctuations in the industry, it is reassuring to 'belong' to an organisation and to identify with the strategy and goals thereof. Of course, any regular employment that you are bound to, also comes with financial security, social benefits and a built-in circle of colleagues, who will hopefully become friends. Not all that glitters is gold, but all-in-all corporate employment is not a consolation prize, it is first prize.
Being an independent writer is also first prize, but in a different way. Comparing corporate employment to being an independent writer is a bit like comparing apples and oranges: about all that they have in common, is the fact that they both belong to the fruit family. Having said that, now that I have done both, I would like to share five advantages to being an independent writer – as opposed to working in the corporate world.
My schedule is flexible. I have plenty of discipline to enforce it, but I also know how to prioritise. This is much easier for me than anyone in a regular day job. Here is an example taken from the past WEEK, yikes!
The things that I prepared for: I have completely reworked my schedule in preparation for the launch of my latest book. My writing hours have changed, my consultation hours have been switched around.
The things that I couldn't prepare for: my oven and dishwasher broke down. Two kids have been sick. One cupboard door has fallen off. A close family member broke her leg and another one was in a car accident.
Wear Your Pyjamas to Work
I very seldom spend my day working from home in my PJ's. But I could if I wanted to. For me, wearing your pyjamas to work is really a metaphor for not having a dress code, code of conduct, mission statement or goals that are defined by anyone but me. Being independent means that the decision about who you are, how you represent yourself to others, what your goals are and how you plan to get there, is yours to make.
Widen and Broaden Your Circle Without Bounds
I used to work in a very large organisation. I am talking about tens of thousands of employees. The corporate circle there is as large as it can get ... not even taking into account suppliers, customers, endusers, etc. However, as a writer, my circle knows no bounds, whether I am interacting with readers world-wide, or whether I am working on telling a story about someone who lived a hundred years ago, or about someone who has yet to be born. My work can take me anywhere, at any time or any place.
Be Something Different Everyday
I have had many professions. Most of us will change numerous times in our career, even within the framework of the corporate world. But, as a writer, I can be any profession in the world: with careful research and support, but without the years of all the necessary qualifications. In the novel that I am working on right now, I experience the world through the eyes of a museum curator, a doctor, a teacher, a marriage councillor, a realtor, and a police officer. In reality, I am actually only qualified to be one of these things. I will let you guess which one.
Work Differently Everyday
It is true, we are creatures of habit. The corporate world leverages this and helps us to optimise our processes and methodologies by introducing us to new modes of operation, project management skills and enhanced processing techniques. As an independent writer, I can reinvent my processes all the time, and be beholden to no-one but myself. Sometimes, I work in writing sprints, other times I work by solving problems. Yet, other times, I set myself goals to write a particular scene. Finally sometimes, I take a step back and put my writing aside, so that I can clear my vision and see whether what I have done is coherent.