Freelancers are often idealized as isolated entrepreneurs.

Working from anywhere at odd hours, freelancers are at liberty to pick our projects and dictate our schedules and build relationships and connections outside of the traditional office environment.

Nicole Cohen addresses this idea of the lone wolf writer head-on in her book, Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age.

Cohen is former freelancer who now teaches at the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology at the University of Toronto.

Last Saturday afternoon at the Metro Hall, Cohen led a discussion on the future of freelancing and freelancers’ place in a changing labour movement at a talk organized by the Canadian Media Guild Freelance Branch and the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) Toronto chapter.

It’s true that there is a sort of autonomy and flexibility available through freelancing that offers an attractive alternative to established capitalist models. But Cohen argues that autonomy doesn’t mean solitude. In fact, working alone can work against us.

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