Freelance writers enjoy creative freedom

Working when you want, how you want and where you want are some of the advantages of a career in freelance writing.

Nine to five at a desk is not the ideal working structure for many and Seton Hall University alum Ryan Astaphan can attest to that notion.

In an email interview, Astaphan said that a backpacking trip through Asia helped him realize that he wanted to lead a life of freedom. Initially he was involved in making websites but it evolved into freelance writing at the request of clients.

Astaphan currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his girlfriend.

“I wake up to stretch and meditate for an hour, I have breakfast, I schedule work to last for two or three hours,” Astaphan said. “Then the rest of the day consists of my girlfriend and I figuring out what to do for fun.”

Working in an office comes with co-workers and built in relationships while freelancing is independent work. Astaphan said that one of the hardest parts of freelancing is being alone. To combat feeling alone, Astaphan suggested that people choosing a career in freelance writing build social activities into their life.

Dr. Matthew Pressman, assistant professor of journalism, has worked on both sides of the freelance world. As an editor at Vanity Fair he received pitches from freelance writers. Now pursuing an academic career, he is on the writer’s side. Pressman said that he occasionally pitches op-eds and other articles to different publications. Pressman has written freelance pieces for The Atlantic and Time magazine. Freelance writers have to go through a process when sharing story ideas.

“You have to find the right publication where it’s going to fit, you need to find the right person to pitch to and you need to find the right selling point for why this is something their readers are going to be interested in,” Pressman said.

Freelance writing often serves to help students to build their resume. Ryanne Boyer, a senior journalism major, took up freelance writing for Black Girl Nerds, an online platform, after seeing an advertisement seeking writers. Boyer said all the work that she has done for them has been published on the website and it has helped her to build her portfolio. Freelance writing gives writers the opportunity to go with their own flow rather than looking to a storyboard.

“It was different because I actually got to write about things that I was interested in and I got to choose what I wrote about,” Boyer said.

Margarita Williamson can be reached at

Author: Margarita Willamson

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