The Freelance Writers Handbook

Andrew Crofts Take on How to Make Money and Enjoy Your Life


I posted a couple of weeks ago that I was going to conduct a real time experiment and report back on my progress in becoming a real world published writer. So far you’ll only find my work online unless you look for some very obscure tracts written years ago while working as an accountant and dealing with the 1989 budget..and don’t we remember that well !


I am pleased to say that I have taken delivery of Andrew Crofts “The freelance writer’s handbook” and have read most of it by now. My impressions are that the first half of the book is great, very useful and to be honest it has served more to reinforce my own ideas of how to go about dealing with writing practicalities, rather than provide much in the way of innovation or insight. The second half of the book starts dealing with some of the more detailed aspects of the profession and speciality areas such as writing for children or ghostwriting. You can pretty much skip through this lot unless you have a need for it.


If you are contemplating starting life as a writer for profit then you can read my earlier posts, but to be frank, Andrew seems to have covered all of the bases far more succinctly than I, with his opening chapters. Chapter One is brilliantly entitled “Why Do It?” and unlike many other publications on becoming a writer, I really agree with him with what he has to say. I’ve written previously that there is not enough on the “Why” and far too much on the “How” when it comes to writing, but unless you have it clear in your own mind why you are doing this, I honestly don’t see how you can expect to be successful. One criticism I have is he spends far too little time on “Why” except to outline some of the perks.


Personally, I’m coming to a realisation that writing is another form of expression for the natural extrovert that I am. I’m enjoying the satisfaction derived from writing because of the emotional desire to connect and communicate as well as being the very centre of attention; if you’re reading this I am your centre of attention but it must be a vicarious pleasure as I’m not directly here in person. The reason why I write is to satisfy my urge to perform; making money is essential but there is nothing stopping me from getting a “regular” job back in sales and marketing with some blue chip instead of scribbling.


This is why I write. The satisfaction of an utterly selfish desire for attention. It’s taken me two years to figure this out. Now you can be completely honest with yourself and try to discover why you are thinking of stringing sentences together for a living.


Andrew’s book hasn’t really given me anything more except affirmation however that was worth the £5 or so I paid for it on eBay. I have the rather weightier “Writers Handbook” to wade through, which seems to be a serious reference manual for finding publishers and agents to get yourself into print. I’m going to take a few days to come up with a plan of action for addressing how I’m going to get myself the title “Published Author”; as Andrew says, this is called “thinking time” should anyone be bold enough to challenge me as to why I’m staring blankly into space.


The by-line for the book is “How to Make Money and Enjoy Your Life” and my personal experience with writing confirms that this is indeed an enjoyable way to make a living and more importantly to get on with living itself. My private life aside, I’m enjoying the business of writing but it’s clear to me that there is so much more going on than I’ve so far divined. It would be nice to make some more money though as my car is due for an MOT in a couple of weeks:)