The Pyjama Myth: The Freelance Writer's Survival Guide

By Sian Meades-Williams

Every single freelance writer is winging it. Sometimes they're even doing it while wearing pyjamas.


What's in the book?

Starter For Ten
You’re doing it, you’re making the jump into freelance writing. You’ve got your new notebooks and a cup of tea. You’ve made your “personal news” announcement on Twitter (excellent gif choice, by the way). You’re even sitting at your kitchen table and not your sofa. So what do you do now? The chapter covers the really early days. You can start freelancing without having a clue what you’re doing – I certainly did – but if you’re smart you’ll have a plan.

“Where do you get your ideas from?”

Your friends and family will ask this question at every single opportunity so this chapter will help you find an answer. This chapter not only talks about ideas, it covers how you spot a unique angle when everyone is talking about the same thing. It’ll also help you muster up ideas even when you are adamant that everything in the world has been written about already.

Pitch perfect

Got a great idea? This chapter will tell you what to do with it: how to hone your pitch, how make it something that an editor cannot refuse and how to spin your idea instead a feature that’s what you really want to write. It will also cover what you should absolutely not do in your pitches.

Writing’s on the wall

This book isn’t a writer’s manual, but this chapter shares tips and stories to help you improve what you do best. It’s about nailing the house style, improving your editing process and polishing your redrafts so the copy gets the thumbs up and you get future commissions.


AKA “can I be a successful writer without a Twitter account?” (The answer is a resounding yes, by the way.)

The bad and the ugly

What to do when things are going down the pan. This chapter covers the bad stuff no one else talks about: dealing with rejection, imposter syndrome, the green-eyed monster (you will suffer from it regularly so we’ll talk about how to harness it for good rather than evil). The chapter will also address burnout. It is real, and it is scary.

File under W for writer

If you think freelancing is all writing features in the park under a tree, skip straight to this chapter. We really need to have a conversation about tax. And deadlines. And folders and colour-coding and all the things you’ve been putting off while choosing brilliant gifs. You need a schedule, you need spreadsheets. You need a budget. Most importantly, you need goals.

The side hustle

Seemingly everyone’s got a side hustle but when you work for yourself it’s really hard to tell if you have one or not (maybe it’s just five different jobs that keep you awake at night?!) This chapter talks seriously – and critically – about the multi-gig economy.

It’s not about the money

You’ll spend approximately 73% of your time as a freelancer sending perky emails while you cry on the sofa about paying your rent. This is the money chapter and it will help you get paid and keep on top of your finances. It’ll also answer the age old question: should you ever work for free?

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