I learn something new every day, and today, I owe my gratitude to Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe. In one of his many educational interviews, he mentioned in passing the etymology of the term “freelancer”.
First coined in 1820 by Sir Walter Scott in his novel 'Ivanhoe'
, the term "free-lance" was used to describe a "medieval mercenary warrior", indicating that a knight's lance is not sworn to any lord's services, but rather, open to hire (not that the lance is available free of charge!).
Seeing how a writer's pen (or artist's brush), digital or otherwise, is akin to his or her sword, it seems an excellent turn of phrase for this noble profession.
To all my friends who are great freelance writers, editors, designers, photographers - all artists in their own field - I say stand proud! Because each of us is a distinguished knight - so dubbed by a knight himself!