become a better freelancer

It’s taken me far too long to write this post.

 

I’ve been freelancing for over a year over on the content mills and it’s been…fine. I’ve made a little bit of money. I have a few pieces I’m proud to put in my portfolio. I’ve pitched to clients and dealt with a little rejection. However, I mostly have gone through the motions. As I’m sure many aspiring freelancers have also been doing.

 

I’ve never really challenged myself to become a better freelancer or put too much skin in the game. And yet, I continuously find myself getting upset when many prospective clients don’t take me seriously. Don’t they know I’m a good writer? Don’t they know I can help their business? Well, no. They don’t know, because I haven’t tried to show them. And I don’t mean just following a potential client on Twitter and then assuming they’ll pop over to my website, read about how great I am, and shoot me an e-mail asking me to please write for them. I mean really tried.

Why Isn’t This Working? 

 

I haven’t taken myself seriously in this business, so of course prospective clients haven’t given me a second glance. Treating freelance writing as a hobby, rather than the thriving business I want it to become hasn’t gotten me any leads, neither has convincing myself that I don’t need to blog to be a good freelance writer. “The blogging age is over, that’s what social media is for, right?” Wrong. “Oh if I just listen to these writing advice podcasts and read these freelancing articles on how to become a better freelancer, I’ll become get clients and become a great writer”. Again, wrong.

 

If that kind of thinking is helping you to become a better freelance writer, please email me and show me your ways! On second thought, don’t show me your ways. I want to perfect my craft and actually become a better writer.

 

You don’t become a better writer by only listening to other writers talk about their craft, you become a better writer by (drumroll….) WRITING! Don’t get me wrong there’s plenty to be gained from developing your craft through research, advice blogs and professional development. A freelance writing blog is actually what eventually forced me to write this post. The real tough work though, lies in the actual act of writing.

Confronting The Problem Head On

 

I have always prided myself on not half-assing anything in my life. As much as I tried to convince myself otherwise, (“I’m focusing on client work”, “I interact with my target base through social media already”, “I just don’t have the time”) choosing not to put in the hard work and dedicate time to my own blog is most definitely half-assing freelance writing. I thought I could get clients and provide a good service without doing the hard work. Was I arrogant to think this? Abso-fucking-lutely. Was I also painfully, painfully wrong? YUP.

 

So how did I come to be writing this post? Cut to me scrolling through my Twitter timeline earlier this week. I wasn’t doing anything particularly productive and I stumbled across a great post from freelancer Emily McGee on “How to Be a More Confident Freelancer”  and I’ve got to say, it had a pretty big effect on me. In her post, Emily talks about how there’s no easy way to become confident. It must be earned. You have to sweat (a lot) to get to a place where you can truthfully say to a client “I am battle tested and I can do this job for you”.  Nobody lands a job by pitching to a client with…”I’ve listened to lots of freelance podcasts, so I know what I’m doing”.

 

There’s no participation trophies in this business. And I know there’s no badge of honor for starting to blog either (every one and their Instagram famous dog is already doing it) but I can proudly say, to myself mostly, that I am no longer taking short cuts. I’m holding myself accountable and I’m putting all my skin in the game. (please erase the mental image of skinless me from your brain -sorry I put it there.)

Going Forward

 

This blog will be the place I explore the real journey into a freelance writing career -not an ongoing flirtation with content mills, not a half-assed attempt. The most important way I will challenge myself to become a better writer will take place here. Here you will find a look into my writing experiences and practices, the dos and don’ts I uncover along the way, things I’m learning about freelancing, copywriting, ebooks, social media, digital marketing and whatever other interesting things I dig up across the giant world of the internet. The point is I’ll be writing.

 

And you know, as much as I have said that blogging is a part of the hard work in freelancing, it is actually the fun part as well. Writing is what I love. And from now on, clients or not, I will always have a place to write and share.

 

So, in summary, you can find me here every week perfecting my craft and learning by doing rather than sitting over there on the bleachers, watching the rest of you freelance writers have all the fun.

Thoughts?