by Jargon Writer

Writing my way to becoming a freelancer

Being a Bit Of A Deviant

Sometimes it’s important to step outside our daily routines and reexamine our way of doings things. When you’ve fallen into a pattern, sometimes breaking the pattern can lead to valuable insight. I try to do this whenever possible.

I did it today. My habit after work is to so go straight home, make a cup of tea and relax for a bit, do some freelance work for a few hours, write a blog post and go to bed. Instead, tonight I had a few errands I had to run (it’s my cousins third birthday this weekend and I needed to buy a gift) and I decided to turn it into a deviation from my set routine. It let me de-stress and when I got home I was in the best mood I’ve been in all week. I felt relaxed.

I spent several hours shopping and wandering around the city. I picked up a book and sat at a sandwich shop I like and read and ate dinner, by myself. The quiet time let me think and it let me look at my life with fresh eyes.

I think this is also important in writing. It’s one of the reasons I believe in doing guest posts – they force you to write about something outside the topic you plug along about everyday on your own blog. They give you a chance to examine topics other than your own and to show how they intersect with your beliefs.

I’ve done two guest posts in the last two weeks. I did a post on PR, “From an Editor’s Perspective” for Hello. {Work}, posted last Monday. Then, today, my post on the perks of working with Gen-y went up on SX Gen Y.

A lot of people do guest posts because they think it will help draw in new readers – and it may indeed do that. But that is not the only, nor in my opinion, the most important benefit to writing guest posts. Yes, it creates a link back to your site, which helps with SEO (for more on that see here or here). But in my mind, the biggest benefit is writing about something different.

I may just be drawn to the idea of writing about different subjects on a regular basis – the chance to write about a wide variety of topics is one of the reasons for my decision to work freelance. Yet, despite this prejudice, I think it makes the writer push his or her boundaries, and that’s one of the primary ways that a writer grows. And, unless you think you’re already perfect, growing means better writing, which will draw more readers.

So, if you want a look at my opinions on something other than freelancing, or just to get to know a bit more about a different side of my multi-faceted personality and my diverse interests, check out the guest posts. And if you think you’d like to guest post here, let me know. I’m open to the idea.

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March 12, 2010 - Posted by | in practice | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. A good perspective on the world of the writer. Especially the freelancers, such as ourselves. (Though anyone who writes would benefit from such an approach.)

    Another thing you alluded to but didn’t mention directly is how being a guest poster heightens the pressure just a bit, so you try extra hard to be sharp. A writer should be proud of everything they write of course, and requires a great deal of self discipline, but the added pressure of making sure you “deserved” to be taking up space in someone else’s corner of cyberspace, if only for a time, lights a small flame under the writer’s backside, I dare say. Another reason it is a wise thing to do, when the chance arises.

    Comment by Ty Unglebower | March 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hey Melissa-nice post. I love my routine until I do something different and then I realise how much better it is to deviate from it. Do you have growth spurts (in writing that is!) after time away from the computer? I will be sure to check out your guest posts (BTW your SEO link is broken).

    Comment by Heather Conroy | March 12, 2010 | Reply

  3. @Ty – I completely agree. It forces us to try to be our best – which is important because sometimes, on our own blogs, we relax a bit. I find that writing on edge almost always produces better writing.

    @Heather – I’ve fixed the SEO link (and added a second one). In terms of writing growth spurts… that’s an interesting question and to be honest I’m not sure how to answer it. I like to think I’m always improving, but I’m not sure that’s true.
    I suppose I’d have to say yes, I have writing growth spurts, but that they work just like real growth spurts. It begins with a period where I consumer a lot more written material than normal – and afterward, I produce more / better writing.

    Comment by mbreau | March 12, 2010 | Reply


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