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Freelance Writing in the Age of COVID-19 – How We Got to Where We Are

by Kristin Savage

When I think back to my early days as a freelance writer, the content writing landscape was much different than today. Content automation, AI-driven tools, and other “means to an end” were only an idea in the minds of software developers. I look back to the early 2010s with a sense of nostalgia for a time when things were much simpler in the freelance writing sphere. How did I get from there to here, and what drove me to develop my career in the way that I did? More importantly, how does COVID-19 factor into what I’m about to tell you?

I come from an academic background in literature and creative writing, so freelancing as a writer was a no-brainer from the get-go. During my university tenure, I decided to acquire several formal certifications, which would allow me to build a career in writing, one way or another. I’ve worked hard to pass TOEFL and CAE exams in addition to taking translation and ghostwriting projects as they came my way. Doing a quick Google search on what “freelance writing” was all about was the next logical step.

Some of the things which drove me to freelancing consist of your typical assortment of benefits: flexible working hours, creative freedom, and home-based work environment. The freelance writing gig clicked with me from the start, and I never looked back since. I’ve always aspired to make a positive change in society, no matter how minute it may seem from outside. As a freelancer, I get the opportunity to write blog posts, articles, guest posts, and other forms of content from the comfort of my home. And, I get to make a living out of it. But what’s changed since I submitted my first articles back in 2012?

The obvious elephant in the room we need to address concerns the current global climate. No one could predict the impact COVID-19 would have on the world's infrastructure, trade, travel, and other aspects of life we took for granted. When it comes to freelance writing, however, things have been relatively calm as of writing this piece. All of my clients maintain a stable production of new content for their blogs, social media, and other marketing channels. Luckily for all types of freelancers, the majority of what we do is based around digital content output – this goes hand-in-hand with social distancing norms. This means that freelance writing, and freelancing in general, has seen an influx of “new blood” to the market in recent months. While not everyone new on the block is also apt to write content well-enough and frequently, those that do have made the market more competitive.

One of the things that COVID-19 has definitely accelerated is the application of AI platforms in content creation. We’ve all heard the story before – robots will overtake our jobs one day, or will they? Software-as-a-service platforms (or SAAS as is commonly known) have been around for years and have only come to the forefront in 2020. The pandemic has resulted in fewer resources being poured into outsourcing specialists, such as freelance writers, due to their upkeep cost. After all, every article written under a company’s pen name costs money to be written as well as it is. That’s not the case with AI. Artificial intelligence can now efficiently repurpose already published content from major news outlets into “new” articles ready for publishing. This has raised concern in the freelance writing circles as to the role we will play in content marketing going forward.

I’m not too worried about AI taking over our jobs, however. Take any scientific research as an example and find an AI which is fully autonomous and doesn’t require some form of human agency. AI driven by Big Data can indeed repurpose and churn out written content in a matter of seconds – its quality, however, is far from ideal. Given the current events and looming economic crisis, businesses are prone to use AI as a sustainable substitute for freelance writers – at least for now.

What I’m trying to get at is this – freelance writing is here to stay, global pandemic or not. Luckily, freelance writers can work from the safety of their homes and simply publish their writing online without ever meeting another person. While it may sound depressing, this is a good thing with social distancing and limited travel possibilities in full effect. All you really need in order to get started is to have a passion for written words. Open up a free blog domain in your name and start typing whatever your heart tells you to. Work on your writing style, information delivery, formatting, and, most of all, proofreading. Build a repertoire of writing samples which you can then use to promote your services to clients around the web and on freelancing platforms.

Most of all – don’t let current events discourage you from chasing after your dream as a freelance writer. I’ve been in the industry for what seems like most of my professional career, and I’m still typing away as we speak. Yes, life is unpredictable and can often be disappointing. But it can also be beautiful despite the world telling us otherwise. With technologies such as AI and a plethora of online services available, freelance writing has never been as flexible and inviting as it is today. Make the most of it and put your thoughts on digital paper– a successful freelance writing career is just around the corner.

Bio: Kristin Savage is a professional Content Writer at and Chief Writing Editor at BestessaysEducation. She is a dedicated writer and explorer of all things digital, including marketing, sales, business development, and various forms of content writing. Kristin also enjoys a long and fruitful collaboration with ClassyEssay, where she outsources her writing services and aims to constantly improve her writing style. In her spare time, Kristin enjoys reflecting on her career, reading about personal development, and cooking vegan dishes.

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