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Allena Tapia

What Kind of Writer Are You?

By September 30, 2008

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What kind of writer are you? Are you a full time freelancer (or wanna be?). Are you doing this part time for just a little extra money? Or is writing more of a hobby for you? Do you view yourself as an artist- are as a salesman? Read this article about the 6 different kinds of freelance writers, and then come back and tell me where you fit in. I promise to target at least some articles to each kind of writer that replies!
October 1, 2008 at 5:38 am
(1) RANDY says:

I have read over the type of writers out there and I would describe myself as an artist. Does that make a difference in the type of freelance jobs for me?

October 1, 2008 at 5:40 pm
(2) Steve Lanning says:

Hey, Allena,
Good to find you in the White Paper blog–or was it their Website.
Anyway, by way of introduction, over the past 35 years, I’ve been helping folks market their professional services in the US and Canada from bases in and around the Washington, DC area.

In 1997 I created and co-founded the National Association of Business Coaches (NABC is still on my car’s plates) that I sold in 2002.

I’ve been consulting (enjoy coaching much more) since that time, but as an older guy my get up and go has left the building. But I’d like to find someone who would like to help me on a big piece-of-the-ownership basis with building a group for freelance academics. Know anyone. (I selfishly thought of you, I must confess. But I’ve found more folks are too busy earning a living to earn any money.)


PS Speaking of writing, one of the great ‘benes’ I used to give my consulting clients was free literary agent access…me.
In the early 1980′s I was contacted about every six months by editors every McGraw-Hill, Wiley and every other other publisher it seemed. They all asked the same question, “Any of your clients doing seminars on the proverbial next big thing where we could get them to write a book?”
Now that was a true win-win-win.

October 2, 2008 at 11:42 am
(3) Allena says:

You know, Randy, I feel that artists focus more on what actually and very much interests them, whereas others (me for example) really want to get the bills paid. So, as an artist, you’d get burnt out writing copy, etc. If I were you I’d focus on the writing that you WANT to do, your pet projects, and the money will follow (if that’s even on your radar).

October 2, 2008 at 11:44 am
(4) Allena says:

Hi Steve. You could email me. I do get to my email as often as possible. I do see myself in this statement though “more folks are too busy earning a living to earn any money.”

October 2, 2008 at 12:27 pm
(5) Carlang says:

Hi Allena,
I find myself a mixture of the first and second.
I currently hope to make a bit of extra spending money alongside my current job. This is however the first step towards my eventual plan of taking a Full-time stab at writing.

To this end, i really do not care what genre or form of writing i have to do.
If i was going to choose though, i would say the strong point of my writing lies in my humor.

Right now though, i am more concerned about feeding my body than I am my mind.

What suggestions would you have for me?
Particularly in the area of building an impressive resume which will allow me a firmer transition into my Full-time aspiration.

Thanks Allena.

October 2, 2008 at 12:30 pm
(6) Carlang says:

Hi Allena,
I find myself a mixture of the first and second.
I currently hope to make a bit of extra spending money alongside my current income. This is however the first step towards my eventual plan of taking a Full-time stab at writing.

To this end, i really do not care what genre or form of writing i have to do.
If i was going to choose , i would say the strong point of my writing lies in my humor.

Right now though, i am more concerned about feeding my body than I am my mind.

What suggestions would you have for me?
Particularly in the area of building an impressive resume which will allow me a firmer transition into my Full-time aspiration.

Thanks Allena.

October 2, 2008 at 3:51 pm
(7) TL says:

While the mental exercise seems to be what gets me going, I usually find something in my writing that I feel people need to know. So I write in the mental exercise category, publish in the “people need me” category, and research writing tips and advice because I am always looking to achieve the level of “artiste.” When you nail it down, I guess there is less reality in the reasons I write than I ever realized!

October 3, 2008 at 3:56 pm
(8) JR says:

I am an “astiste” and I write things people should read. I have written all my life as a hobby; and many times for others (speeches, cards, poems, etc). So what advice do you have for me?

October 4, 2008 at 12:21 am
(9) Jennifer says:

I would put myself in the category of needing some spending money. I am a stay and home mom of two. How do I go about getting paid to write?


October 5, 2008 at 4:59 am
(10) Jill says:

I would say I am a combo of several types. I am a stay home mom, I NEED to get the bills paid, I am in my 40′s trying to start a new career, My dream since I was young was to write and I definitely have the ARTISTIC in me. I have a dream of writing a book which I have started several years ago, but, need cash now. Do you have any advice to help me??

October 5, 2008 at 9:42 pm
(11) Keith says:

I chose this career outright. It’s offered me great flexibility to spend time with my daughters for the last three years as a full-time freelancer. Previously, I had a career as a full-time journalist. Great site, BTW!

October 5, 2008 at 10:11 pm
(12) Celeste says:

Just like the poster above, I chose freelance as a mid-career change, after 13 years in the trenches of full-time newspaper and magazine reporting. I’ll write about any subject, as long as it pays the bills and helps me reach my goal of independence.

Thanks for asking us!

October 5, 2008 at 11:45 pm
(13) Valerie Russo says:

Hi Allena,
I’m a career-changer, my third career in 20 years. But there are other types you left out. Some writers are in it for sales. They own businesses, for example, and write about trends to establish themselves as experts in order to generate more sales down the road. I also know people who have retired and are now writing for a variety of reasons, including earning spending money, learning new things and meeting different types of people.

October 6, 2008 at 12:22 am
(14) Trudy says:

Hi Allena,

I would say that I fall into the Artistic category. I write a weekly (well almost weekly-when inspiration allows it)email that is geared toward encouraging women. I have approached one or two self publishing companies but was told there is no market.

I do not beleive that is true based on the reactions and feedback I have received from some of the people who receive the emails. Many of whom I do not know, in other words the email is being circulated and shared.

I also have some copyright questions-just to make sure I am on the right path.

So far I have not been able to find any freelance jobs in this genre. But I do appreciate your newsletters and tips as I serch and research.

October 6, 2008 at 12:57 am
(15) Starrpoint says:

I would have to say an artist. I don’t think I can write what someone else needs done anymore.

I want and need to write about things I am passionate about.

No more nuts and bolts, no more parts manuals and lists of how too and proceedures.

October 6, 2008 at 1:50 am
(16) Roger Williams says:

“What kind of writer am I” is a hard question.
I am a semi-retired executive, fighting retirement. I’m looking at a “late” career change, I definitely like to work my mind, and I have interesting ideas for topics. My ideas seem to lean toward historical topics. Often I find myself writing to explain how things became as they are, such as bridges, tunnels, industrial sites, etc.

October 6, 2008 at 8:37 am
(17) dbaugher says:


I, too, am a combination of these types. I have always been an avid reader and loved to write. I wanted to write romantic suspense novels. Writing is what I have always wanted to do for a living, but life happened and I never got the opportunity to actually do it, except for a few years spent as a copywriter at a small radio station. I am now in my 50′s and made a big change in my career life. Not only have I gone back to college, but I started freelancing about 8 months ago. I am pleased with how well it has gone. I am making money steadily writing web content and articles. I am proud of what I have accomplished, but I do want to step it up so I can leave my part-time job and make this my full time career. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and now I am. I just need to keep going and decide which way I need to move to go to the next level. Any ideas?

October 6, 2008 at 8:53 am
(18) Jay Nair says:

Hi, I fall somewhere in the middle. I’ve always loved writing and regret not making a career from it earlier.
My daughter has recently turned 4, and though she seems far too small, has started school. This leaves me in an awkward position, as I need to be earning money, but unfortunately, I’m not really able to go out to work due to a lack of alternative childcare and my husbands unsociable working hours. I’m a member of an online writing group, and though I’ve tended to lean towards fiction in the past, I have done some non-fiction exercises and was surprised by how much I enjoyed doing them. The idea of making a career of something I love is very exciting to me.

October 6, 2008 at 10:09 am
(19) Denise says:

I’m a combo of the first three: I have a journalism degree from a small state college. I shot my writing career in the foot when I fell in love at school – I could have asked my parents to help me transfer to Mizzou (when I realized that Mass Comm was my thing), which has a nationally recongized journalism program – but noooooo, I was in loooove and didn’t want to transfer away from my cutie pie. Thank God I married him, or that part of my life would have been a complete waste! Since I didn’t get the best journalism background at school, I ended up working in printing. So now I’m a stay-at-home mom, looking for a midlife career change AND some cash to help out with the bills. I’m NOT an artiste, I’ll write anything – it’s a craft, and a craftsman can apply his/her skills to any task.

October 6, 2008 at 12:12 pm
(20) Mick says:

Hello Allena,

I knew at age 12 that I both want and need to write. I prepared to bring the world to my door, clamoring for more prose, poetry, and passion. However, the world moved on and other careers chose me. I have written, and still write anything and everything from sonnets to articles for a technical journal. I currently write grant proposals and press releases for a classical music festival, edit when and where I can, and free-lance occasionally for a technical journal. I have never been able to connect with a publisher for my poetry. Starting as a technical writer at a university, I was channeled elsewhere when economic times grew difficult. I seem to click on all six of your categories and have multiple shingles hanging in front of my virtual office.

However, with such a varied portfolio, I find it difficult to convince potential clients that I fit into their worlds. I have also found it difficult to cross the career line into writing that pays enough for me to get away from faceless organizational writing. At age 58, cast away from my 17-year career with a university for economic reasons, we scrape by on what I can earn writing for an under-funded non-profit. How can a generalist survive in a world filled with specialists and niche players?

October 6, 2008 at 12:34 pm
(21) Petula says:

Good article… I chose the career outright and I am an artist.

October 6, 2008 at 4:07 pm
(22) Deborah says:

I would have to say my style is kind of a combo. I have always written….as a child it was poetry, simple, basic, but still poetry. Also, I loved doing my book reports. For many years as a young girl, I journaled. As an adult, I started writing for Hubpages, EHow and several other self-publishing gigs before I landed my job here at About. I have written poetry for years and started a book many years ago that includes poetry and prose about my life experiences. It is called “From Gold To Stone”, and is not published, but I read it from time to time to remind me of where I have been in life. Currently, I am working on a book about COPD.

October 6, 2008 at 7:13 pm
(23) Allena says:

wow all, what a response! Ok, so we’ve had “artist” mentioned 6 times, outright career choice mentioned7 times, midcareer changers(I’m here, too, went back to school after being a secretary for 5 years) coming in at 5, those who write because they have a message are 2, mental exercise at 2 and spending money at 2.

I will definitely target a thorough article for each type. I do believe that different people will do best with different kinds of writing.

For example, I know Starrpoint from the forums, and she doesn’t want to write copy anymore- wants to go toward artistry. I really think that you have to write according to your goals or you will get burned out!

October 6, 2008 at 11:20 pm
(24) Tsia says:

Oh Give me A Cause and I’ll give you pause(sung to Home on the Range)…never knew I could write until I got uneasy. Ruthless bigshots, selfish money grabbers, hapless addicts, abused pets,champions of the underdog,unsung heroines…their stories matter. Points of view that rarely capture the spotlight, yet seize the heart. Writing for me has to cause reaction. Making a point with few words emains the challenge. So much information flies towards us. Hurtling the pie in your face is what I aim for. My goal is to grab your attention yet leave a sweet aftertaste. Most of all you’ll have to wash me away wanting more of the taste.

October 7, 2008 at 12:49 am
(25) Kate says:

Wow, 6 types. Nothing like being put into a category to make you feel unique.

October 7, 2008 at 1:03 am
(26) JB says:

I seemed to be an interesting mix of “You Chose This Career Outright” and “artiste”.

October 7, 2008 at 8:03 am
(27) Paul says:

Hi Allena,
I write for the art and to exercise my imagination. To get lost in the story and if others like it then I’ve scored a hit. Love your web presence. Keep up the good work.

October 10, 2008 at 11:53 am
(28) Shelly L. Maier says:

I’m the type of writer who’s just starting out!
Through looking at everything Iíve gotten the idea that serious writers who write books especially use another program other then word. Is this my imagination or could I just continue using word and still be alright?

October 11, 2008 at 7:50 pm
(29) Misty Cryer-Davidson says:

I chose this career outright.

October 12, 2008 at 6:34 pm
(30) Mary says:

I’ve been writing since I was about 10 years old. All I know is that if I’m not writing in some form or another, I would die–perhaps not literally, but definitely figuratively.

I would love to make money from my writing, but I’m content to write in different discussion forums, and to write about a wide variety of things, from politics, to animals, to television, to almost anything and everything under the sun.

I have spent various parts of my life writing poetry, a couple of novels, short stories, vignettes, exposition, political essays–you name it, I’ve tried my hand at it.

And it’s part of who I am: writing is such a part of who I am on an intrinsic level, that the day I stop is the day I die.

Some people who have read my work tell me I have a natural talent for writing. And even those who disagree with my point of view have grudgingly admitted that, too. I have not, however, disciplined myself to write to deadlines, to be persistent enough to follow through on assignments, or to compromise on content. Sometimes I envy those who can do these things, other times I believe those who can do these things have sold out to their own visions.

Writing is a love for me–an obligation to me to bring my vision to those who read. It’s a chance to challenge some people into thinking differently about some subjects, even if their minds are already made up. That is all I want to do, even if I’m not getting paid to do it.

October 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm
(31) Rachael H. says:

Just add to add my (long) comments as well…after all, we are all writers, right? Ha!
I knew I wanted to “grow up and be a writer” at a very young age. In fact, when I was in third grade or so, I glued page upon page of moving/packing paper together (we moved a lot) to “make” my own BOOK. I then feverishly filled about 167 pages and 30-some chapters about the adventures of a horse. I look back on that today (at age 39) and still can’t believe I came up with all that. (Where did that unbridled creativity go over the years?) I continued to write poetry and all sorts of short stories, and eventually got a dual English & Spanish degree in college. Of course, out of school, I discovered that getting a writing job was far tougher than I ever imagined. I landed in a receptionist job at a great company, where one of the employees was neighbors with a publisher of a local magazine. The co-worker hooked me up with his neighbor, and voila! I got what I like to call my official BREAK! I wrote for that magazine (while mainly also performing secretarial work — I didn’t care…I was getting PUBLISHED each month!!) for about a year and moved on to an economic development magazine where I also was fortunate enough to travel nationally and internationally on press trips. After 5 years there, I became a Mom, and as I had always known it would, it was time for my deep-rooted desire to be a writer to allow me that freedom to work from home AND be with my kids. I got laid off from the economic development publication and knew it was time to make the jump to freelance. My son had just turned one. I have never looked back!! And now also have son #2 underfoot as I struggle to meet story deadlines, edit magazine copy, pitch new ideas and make new professional connections. My ultimate writing goal in life is get some children’s stuff published, but for now, my experience has afforded me assignments that bring in nice part-time income. I tell my husband and friends that I doubt I would EVER be able to go back to work in a “traditional” office environment. This is what I was meant to do. Love your site — keep up the great work!!! And from one writing Mom to another, good luck staying balanced and sane!!!! LOL

October 12, 2008 at 10:27 pm
(32) Michelle says:

Hi Allena,

I have been a subscriber to your articles for a while, but I wasn’t sure if freelancing applied to fiction writing. It has been suggested to me by an editor I met through an already published writer who suggested that I consider submitting to magazines to get my name and work out there – but I am not sure how to go about it. I have submitted to contests without winning and wanted to find another venue in magazines that’s not a contest. I would appreciate any advice you can provide.

Thank You!!


October 15, 2008 at 9:38 pm
(33) education says:

I am an artist!

October 15, 2008 at 9:45 pm
(34) freelancewrite says:


There are several software programs, but I know MANY novels are started in Word.

I LOVE the long responses- I had an emailer recently that noted that they learn as much from the comments as the articles.

October 15, 2008 at 9:50 pm
(35) Writing Jobs says:

Writers indeed are different from each other. When I was in my early years of studying, I used to submit stories for the Christmas paper. But, I never really imagined that I would end as a freelance writer. Writing jobs was never in my vocabulary before but now, it is my life. My purpose in becoming a writer? It is to move people, to make them hear me. That’s all I can say for now. Nice post dear.:)

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