Freelancer: Writing with Intent
Well, it's after 1am in the morning as I'm writing this page for you reading pleasure, and I think that the reason why I wanted to get this done at such a late hour is because this is one of those articles that as a freelancer will get you to think very hard about how you approach what you do when it comes to your writing each and every day.
A few days ago I wrote three articles for a client from Writers Access that I usually get assignments from because I happen to be a writer on their love list. I wrote those articles the same as I usually do, and the articles were accepted by the client, but they rated the articles a "3" and naturally I was less than happy with those ratings. So I contacted the client and asked for some reason as to why they rated the articles a 3 rather than the usual 4 that I'm used to receiving. Three days later, I'm still waiting for an explanation for the ratings but I may never get an answer, so I decided to just not worry about it and go along my merry writing way.
Then came a request from a different client for a revision, and of course my bubble just burst after seeing that revision request. And what was worse for me was that it was another "Writers Access" client. It took me a while to finally get the revision done for the client, and I had to re-write a few paragraphs to better reflect what the client wanted from the article.
Now I should point out to those of you who may be just getting your feet wet at this point with freelancing that "Revisions" happen to the best of writers and they are part and parcel of writing articles for others, so never take it personal...it's just business, and I know because after five years as a professional business blogger, and more than a year of freelancing I've talked with many others who go through the same thing.
But for me, I took a step back today (well, technically yesterday now) and had to figure out if I was just being too complacent with my writing and how I approached each writing assignment. So here is what I found out after some careful evaluation of my own reasons for pursuing a career as a freelance writer.
Is this a job or a Career?
In my case I'm still not quite comfortable with saying that this is a career (even though deep down, of course it is) but I still approach this as a job for now, as I try to come to terms with my (not so new) situation of being 54, and adjusting to life outside of the traditional workforce...something that I should be very happy about but still have issues coping with everyday.
Because I take the approach that this is just a job, I tend to sometimes just write an article and move on to the next assignment...not a great approach and I'll explain why that is. As a freelancer working for several sites that provide other freelance clients with competent writers at affordable prices (notice how I didn't mention Content Mill..oopss!) sometimes you tend to take that work for granted, because sometimes the payment for a job is pretty bad, and in order to make the amount of cash that you need a day, you may have to take on several projects because of what you may get paid to do a 300-500 word article.
And so when your working that way, you tend to think of the content that your creating as disposable, and while that may very well be the case, you really can't afford to take that stance toward your work, because that attitude will carry over to your other projects and affect the way you write your content for other jobs that your getting paid a better fee to write for.
Approach each job like your life depends on it
Don't take the sentence that you just read for granted, because quite frankly your life and lively hood all count on your approach to each writing assignment that you take on. What I've learned is that you have to be a professional whenever you doing something that reflects on you...especially if what your doing is a reflection of your business and your approach to it, and notice that I said "Business," which also is a shift in thinking about what this means to me in terms of a career.
My business, KeyWords Media is something that I am very proud of, and while it's very scary to do this without a safety net (a regular job) I'm proud of what I've accomplished thus far in the year that I've been doing this, and I realize that anything that I do when it comes to writing either reflects well or not so well on my business's reputation, and so I have to take the stance that each job is important and once I agree to take a writing assignment on it's just as important if it pays me $3.00 dollars or if it pays $30 dollars or more.
It's your career
Just remember, at the end of the day, it's your business and it's your career, so make the most of it and take each opportunity as they come. Remember that your trying to build your business's reputation, so approach each job with a positive attitude, and remember that when your a freelancer, the only person who can stop you from achieving your goals is the person staring back at you in the mirror.
Remember that being a freelance writer is very competitive, so take every chance you get to put your best foot forward because it's your business and your reputation on the line.
Lew Newmark is a professional blogger who owns KeyWords Media, an online web content business that focuses on small business blogging and writing content for non-profit organizations.