by Jargon Writer

Writing my way to becoming a freelancer

Hitting Send

My boss has commented once or twice, when looking over pieces he wrote in older issues of the magazine, “I wrote that? Damn I’m good.” When I do the same, I always feel the exact opposite–”I wrote THAT?!?! And they published it?” Almost every piece I work on, I fret about getting it right. And I have a problem–I can’t edit my own work. Every time I edit something I wrote, I end up starting from scratch.

Take exhibit A as an example: My boss constantly praises the writing of one of our editors; so today I decided I would take a closer look at one of her articles (see it here) her style of writing and figure out what about her writing impresses him so much. The first thing I noticed was her soft lead. So I decided to see if I couldn’t achieve something similar. So I tried it.

And now I’m a nervous wreck. My boss won’t even look at the piece for at least 2 more weeks–I still have to do several interviews and all I wrote today was the introduction–but I’m worried he’ll think my attempt to copy her soft lead is silly. It really felt like I was taking a risk.

This is how I feel almost every time I submit a freelance article for publication.

Most of the time when I finally finish an article and hit send, I immediately wish I could call it back. I worry that the person on the other end isn’t going to like it, or is going to want to edit it to smithereens and will hold back because they don’t want to hurt my feelings (or that they won’t hold back, but instead just won’t use me again).

My suspicion is that my insecurities go back to what I talked about a while ago or, more recently– that I’m faking it–that I still haven’t gotten to that point at which I consider myself a writer so I constantly worry about being exposed. I’m hoping that when I get my website up and functioning this weekend that that will begin to change. Then, when I finally order business cards and begin introducing myself AS a writer, that it will set in even more.

But only time will tell.

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April 8, 2010 Posted by | Freelancing, in practice, writing | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Types of Writing Jobs

Chapter 3 is both one of the most useful chapters and one of the least interesting – in it, Parker lists 60 bread-and-butter (or, as she calls them meat-and-potato) jobs for freelance writers. The idea is to think objectively about the types of jobs a new writer can get and the types of jobs that pay the bills… and to find where the two intersect for you.

One of the worksheets in chapter two asks each of us to critically analyze our skills – what we bring to the table as a writer that is unique. What we are qualified to write about and who we might know that we can work with. Chapter 3 looks at who we can work for.

Parker asks the reader to look at the jobs and decide if each job is something he or she would like to do, could do now or could learn to do …. and, if the job is something he or she has no interest in, it’s assumed that she’ll just ignore it and move on.

The jobs I could learn to do (and would like to do):
*if you are reading this and have a job in one of these areas I will offer you a discounted rate in exchange for the experience
Advertising Copy
Collateral materials (order forms, spec sheets, invitations, etc.)
Direct mail packages
Radio & TV ads & promotions
Telemarketing Scripts
Annual Reports
Policies & procedures writing
Catalogs & Product sheets
Conference & Trade show materials
Manuals
Menus
Contributing Editor Assignments

Things I can do now:
Brochures
Sales Letters
Public Relations services & materials
Resume Writing
Personal Statements (though this involves a very in-depth interview and takes up a LOT of time)
Website Content
Blogs (clearly illustrated here)
Editing
Letter writing
Newsletters
Press Releases & Press Kits
Proofreading
Proposals

This week I’ll go through some of the more common of these (things I can do now) and discuss how to do them and what differentiates a “good” piece vs. a “bad” piece.

If there are any in particular you’d like to me discuss please leave a comment.

February 17, 2010 Posted by | research | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment