What Are Academic Freelance Writers Like?
Every profession, it seems, has its “types.” For example, firefighters tend to be gruff, no-nonsense folks, while kindergarten teachers tend to be nurturing, sweet folks. While of course there are always exceptions, and people are far more than the jobs they do, it is also true that people who are lucky enough to choose their jobs tend to choose them because they suit their personality, their desires, their goals in life. So – what is the typical freelance academic writer like?
It helps to understand right away that all writers tend to have a bit of the neurotic in us. That doesn’t mean we’re a bunch of Woody Allens running around, but it does mean that we see the world slightly differently than perhaps other people do. We like to ruminate about things most people don’t notice; we wonder why he said this, or she said that, or what the world would be like if the color purple didn’t exist. We make connections, and then we attempt to express those connections in creative ways through our writing. So, that’s there from the jump.
Writers also either enjoy solitude or else have learned to tolerate it. As everyone knows, writing is not a group sport. It is a solitary activity, even when it’s done in the physical company of others (such as writing in a coffee shop), and so freelance academic writers are people to whom being alone, and working alone, are not bad things.
Freelance academic writers can also tend to be a bit cantankerous at times. Hey, there’s no shame in admitting that. It can be hard sometimes to write enormous quantities of words with little feedback, especially when that feedback has a negative spin (which does happen sometimes). One of the benefits of working with a reputable company is that the support staff act as a buffer and help the writers through the difficult busy seasons, but still it can feel aggravating. So can the fifth round of revisions on the dissertation you’re working on – feel aggravating, I mean. Over time, that can add up to a bit of the cranky, but don’t let it rattle your cage. It’s situational and hardly an globalized trait.
Because of the nature of the work we do, freelance academic writers are extremely independent and self-motivated. We have to be; no one is going to hand us work to do, no one is going to tell us which website is the best one to find projects, and no one is going to remind us that our coffee break is over and it’s time to get back to work. Not to mention the fact that we tend to work in our home offices, which sounds fancy but is really another name for “a desk in the living room” for many writers. That means we work amidst people coming in and out of the house, dishes piling in the sink, dogs who need walking, children who need picking up from school, and a world that doesn’t understand that we are at work even though we’re in our pajamas. For all of these reasons and more, we need to be self-directed and disciplined or else we won’t ever get any work done.
Finally, freelance academic writers tend to be highly educated in a wide variety of areas. We tend to enter the profession with this high level of education, and our work only increases our general amount of knowledge. This degree of “book smarts” tends to feed on itself, prompting us to be among the more politically and culturally savvy writers and thinkers around, as well as questioners of anything we’re told (in a good way). In other words, we tend to be intelligent people who are curious and thoughtful about the world in which we live.