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.

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

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.

March 12, 2010 Posted by | in practice | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments