An exotic island in the Mediterranean. The east coast of New Zealand. A beach in Africa. What do all these places have in common? A recent request for assistance from freelance writers received replies from every one of these locations.
In each of these and in many other remote locations, I know of writers who are freelancing with a fair degree of success. It is indeed possible for freelance writers to work from anywhere in the world.
Consider a recent experience of my own. As the editor of the Worldwide Freelance Writer website, I publish a newsletter that goes out to thousands of freelance writers all around the world.
I can recall one particular issue in the middle of 2002. I began planning the newsletter in the heat and humidity of Hong Kong. When the first draft came together I was in Indianapolis, Indiana. And by the time I completed the final version and clicked the send button, I was at a lakeside cottage in Canada with snow lightly falling outside.
Maybe you're interested in a freelance writing career but you worry that you might not live in a suitable location. Well, think again. Freelance writing is a job that you can do from anywhere!
It's true that if you live near New York's editorial offices you may be able to use your proximity to some advantage. But many, many freelance writers are working very successfully from more distant locations, and in many cases enjoying a much better lifestyle in the places where they live.
Take Ron Irwin, for example. Ron, an American, freelances from a small house on the beach in Cape Town, South Africa, and the majority of his work is still for North American markets. Also consider Vella Corinne, Malta native in the center of the Mediterranean Sea. From this island steeped in history - the Order of St John was based here and the temples are thought to be older than the pyramids - she writes travel and lifestyle features.
Writers in locations such as these, far from being at a serious disadvantage, can actually enjoy many benefits. For starters, these writers are in an excellent position to write about their own locations, the local people, and the culture. Also, the costs of living are often less than for writers in major cities. And if that is not enough, how about fresh, clean air?
Writers working from remote places usually live in a cleaner, more peaceful environment, and they often live closer to outdoor and recreational activities. Vella details how she enjoys the warmer days: "Once I pack up my computer, I just head to the beach. The distances are short, and the island being small, I'm always close to the center of whatever's happening here. I can control my own time in a way that I could not if I lived in a busy city."
Twenty years ago, writers in remote places were often frustrated by the slowness of communicating with editors on the other side of the world. It literally took months to receive a reply from an editor. Waiting for a response to a query was about as exciting as watching grass grow!
In recent years the availability of the Internet has made it easier than ever before for freelancers to communicate almost instantly with anyone, anywhere in the world.
In my own example above I traveled through several countries over a three-week period, and managed to conduct my freelance work at the same time. Many of my clients didn't even know I was 'on the move'. Little did they know that between receiving and replying to their messages, I was fishing in the lake and hiking through the woods! I could easily keep in touch with important contacts, as well as write and send out my newsletter.
But do you know what was even more exciting? While I was traveling my website was hard at work the entire time, 'day and night'. Even while I was flying at thirty thousand feet, taking a nap, I was effectively selling a bunch of writing-related books and products. Now if that isn't a freelancer's dream becoming reality, I don't know what is! Such accomplishments were definitely not so easily attained before the advent of email and the Internet.
Kathy Crockett freelances from Gisborne, New Zealand, on the east coast of the North Island. She told me the difference technology makes when working from such a location. "It's a city of 35,000", she explains, "the closest to the international dateline, and the first city in the world to see the sun rise each day. Its closest city-size neighbors are three hours drive on windy roads. The internet, mobile phones - technology lets me be wherever I want to be and fool others into thinking I'm where they'd like me to be!"
Of course working in remote locations isn't always easy and there are a number of challenges that freelance writers typically face.
Isolation is a common issue. Vella explained to me she has a way of dealing with it. "At times it feels like I have a totally atomized existence. I balance that by scheduling some 'face time' each day", she explains. I agree with her. Sometimes you have to make a conscious effort to spend time with your family, friends, or other writers.
Another challenge for freelance writers may be difficulties with technology. Finding a computer repair shop may be next to impossible. Internet access may be unavailable or unreliable. There are many, many places in the world that don't even have telephone lines yet, not to mention email access.
You can still work as a freelance writer from these places, but it won't be as convenient. If you have any real choice where you live, you should try to choose a town that has phone lines and reliable Internet access.
And that goes for working while you're on vacation too! Check the available technology in advance. In the example of my trip above, I received a surprise. There was no phone line or email access in the cottage.
My initial panic subsided when I discovered that there was a phone not too far away. In freezing temperatures, I trudged up the road. When I clicked the button to send out my newsletter, my notebook computer was plugged into a payphone.
Are writers in remote locations at a serious disadvantage? No way! I believe in the concept that you can work as a freelance writer from anywhere in the world. And while you'll face some challenges, none of them will be insurmountable.
So if you're looking for a career you can do from anywhere, look no further. The freelance writers I referred to above (and many others) are working successfully right where they happen to live. And so can you. Open up your notebook. Start writing. You can start to build a rewarding career as a freelance writer today.
About the author:
Gary McLaren is the editor of Worldwide Freelance Writer, an extensive source of information on freelance writing markets all around the world. His new book 1001 Writer's Guidelines Online, is available at
More Interesting Articles