Fearful of being a freelance journalist.

By Annette Stevens.

I have a confession, my dear readers; I am fearful of being a freelance journalist. I always thought that, until recently, journalism could be a nine to five job, where you walk in, write a few articles, and walk out the door at 5pm. Turns out, it’s nothing like that.

I’ve been considering going freelance for a while; yet I wasn’t sure of the options or how to work in that field. So, I decided to ask a professional about.. say hello to Lauren Holden:

Freelancer, Lauren Holden

Freelancer, Lauren Holden

She spoke about why she went freelance:

“I went freelance full-time partly out of necessity; the company I previously worked for went into administration and nothing suitable came up job-wise. However, going freelance and working from home was something I’d always wanted to try.” 

But was it something for her? No.

“It turned out it wasn’t really for me – the working from home thing wasn’t at all what I expected; I missed the social aspect of being in an office, and Fridays at 5pm just didn’t feel the same. Getting back into an office was a huge relief for me in a lot of ways. That’s not to say it doesn’t work for some people, just not for me at that time.” 

This is something that I would probably miss as well, although I would like how unpredictable my days would be.  But what about qualifications? Do we need A-Levels in different journalism related subjects?  To Lauren, they can help jobs:

“Of course, qualifications can help, but they’re not the be-all-and-end-all. I didn’t take a formal journalism qualification (something a lot of journalists will tell you is necessary); my experience volunteering at The Visitor aged 16 stood me in good stead when it came to getting a job.” 

But what do us freelancers need to be?  We haven’t really got anyone as our boss, and we have to make contacts outside our four walls, all by ourselves:

“Very, very motivated. There’s no-one on your case telling you what to do when, it’s like being at school all over again and managing your revision timetable. You’ve got to really want to get stuff done. Ensuring you have plenty of breaks helps, as does getting out and about for a spot of fresh air when possible – being cooped up all day on your own isn’t the stuff of (journalistic) dreams.”  

Thanks Lauren! Read her blog, and experiences of freelance journalism, here:

And from Amy Packham, I have some tips for you:

+Go that extra mile and do things not expected of you 

+Read up and research the publication WELL before you go 




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