This old guy that I know has been asking me about freelance writing. For the rest of this post and the rest of my life I will refer to that guy as, “my Dad”. I am going to lose the quotation marks as he is not a “tired cliché” but a pretty nice guy who looks a bit like Donald Sutherland. My Dad and I have been going back and forth a bit through email on the subject of freelancing and he has been proofreading a few things for me.
Let’s get a bit of backstory here. My Dad is a former IBM programmer/ systems analyst. He was there in the beginning and watched computers evolve. He is a really smart dude. He retired in the 80’s and has worked on some programming projects with my Uncle and also has fished the Atlantic as much as he possibly could ever since. Now he is living in North Carolina close to the Pamlico River and enjoying my brother’s company and trying to figure out how to occupy his time.
I had let my Dad know that I started this blog and also that I was getting paid to write some articles for different companies and he is interested in doing the same or trying his hand at editing.
So, what advice do I give him as a fledgling blogger/content writer? Well, here is what I have figured out so far.
1) Write and when you think you are done…write some more.
2) Remember to eat.
3) And sleep
4) Be organized and manage your time carefully.
5) Research thoroughly. This is my favorite part because I love to learn new stuff.
6) Read about freelancing and writing from people who have gone before you and had successes and made some mistakes. They will share with you this information freely or for a small fee.
7) Look to these same writers for articles on sites that offer freelance work. They will tell you who is worth your time and who isn’t.
8) Figure out who you want to be when you grow up. What kind of writer do you want to be? What is your niche? You may not know this yet but keep it in mind as you feel your way around the wonderful world of freelancing you’ll figure it out. I will probably never, unless the money is REALLY, REALLY good, blog about cleaning the house or raising children. My kids are grown and I’d like to put that behind me, I barely muddled through myself. As far as cleaning the house, it saddens me that I have to do it but I can’t write until it is done. That’s one of my rules. I am hoping to one day have a bit extra to pay someone to come clean for me. I can dream, can’t I?
9) Know that there will be interruptions, usually when you are in the zone and then your thoughts fly right out of your head, but try to keep them at a minimum. Turn off the TV, Turn off your phone. Write and then write some more.
10) Remember the words of one of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman, “Make good art.” Even though you are writing an article on the newest widget or how to use a whatsis, make it good. Be the best you are capable of being each time you put a pen to paper or type on your laptop.
I could probably go on but to be honest I am beginning to bore myself so I must really be putting you through the wringer.
For several years trying to get through life and raising my kids had kind of sucked the creativity right out of me. I am now feeling the flow again. My heart and mind are opening up and I have room to write and create. I am working my graphic design and writing business, gaining new clients and making good art.
In the words of the late and Great Bob Marley
We’re jammin’ –
To think that jammin’ was a thing of the past;
And I hope this jam is gonna last.
I hope my Dad loves what ever he does. He is one special man. I love you, Dad.