Pardon me while I reflect a bit…
2010 will mark my tenth year as a freelance writer. Though it’s a dream come true, it’s all rather surreal. I honestly thought freelancing would be a way to supplement my husband’s income until our son was in school full time. I didn’t expect I’d continue to do this full time a decade later , and I certainly didn’t think I’d have a popular, lucrative blog and booming social media business.
I read somewhere that someone attributed my success to luck and not skill. I disagree. It was a mixture of many things, but mostly hard work and the ability to adapt with my community. Though I consider myself fortunate, I wouldn’t write this all off as luck.
When I first began blogging it was only to provide job leads each day. The growing FWJ community clamored for more, and I began sharing my successes and failures as a freelance writers. My community at that time was mostly work at home moms and I felt some of them were making bad choices about their writing and I spoke up about it. Many members of the community called me on my negativity. Over the years I learned that writers take on projects for a variety of reasons. Some of them work at content sites for a hobby, some take a non-paying newspaper column because the enjoyment of sharing far outweighs the need for money, and some are having problems finding higher paying work and use lower paying opportunities as a way to supplement their income.There are also plenty of writers who are more than happy to do what they do and have no intention of seeking out other opportunities. To all of them I say, “rock on.”
I began to change my tune about the available freelance writing opportunities and the writers who accepted them. Though I never insulted writers for the choices they made there were times I was vocal about my disapproval.
So why am I telling you this?
Yesterday, I participated in a very upsetting comment thread at About Freelance Writing . In this thread, one commenter called writers for a certain content site “hacks.” After I called her on it, she took back the “hacks” comment and instead said they were demoralized and desperate. This isn’t the first time I saw someone who claims to want to help writers insult them in the process. In the past couple of months I read posts by bloggers who insist those who write for web content sites are “lazy,” a “laughingstock,” “sweatshop laborers,” and “untalented”…and those are the kind remarks. Though I did my best to be civil, I reacted emotionally and even wrote to Anne Wayman to apologize and said I wouldn’t be upset if she removed my comments. She opted to keep them.
I promise, I have a point…
Is this what it’s coming too? All of this “I’m so much better than you and if you don’t write what I tell you to write and earn what I tell you to earn you’re desperate and lazy” is upsetting. Why can’t we just live and let live? So you don’t approve of a writer’s choice, move on. All this pettiness and name calling among adults is, well, silly. I don’t know of any other career choice where supposed colleagues pick each other apart and belittle each other for their choices.
I have news for you. No one is right. None of these freelance writing gurus are experts. None of them can tell you the best thing for YOU to do because they’re not you. You’re you. We can all share what works best for us , but YOU make the ultimate decision. So for me to talk down to writers and say, “well you’re just wrong becasue you’re not doing it my way” isn’t only arrogant and unkind, it’s untrue.
Now, I don’t believe I’ve ever been what I call a “my way or the highway” blogger, but I think there are times I’ve been passionate in expressing my disagreement. Not insulting, but passionate. In ten years of writing I learned that we all make the choices that work best for our situations and not one of us is wrong. I will pass on the opportunities I don’t feel to be a good fit for me, and I will always present the best opportunities to you here. If you take on an opportunity I don’t feel is the right choice for me, I still respect your decision.
Does that mean I changed my tune about low paying opportunities?
Not quite, though I changed my tune about the way I look at each opportunity, especially since I’ve been meeting with or talking with the people behind many of these opportunities. I’ll always speak up about scams and unsavory types, but I’ll never, ever, look down on a writer for his or her choice.
Writers, if I ever made you feel bad about a decision you made, or if I ever talked down to you about a decision you made or if you ever felt insulted by anything I’ve written regarding your choice, I apologize. I’m here to share and learn from you, not talk down to you.I removed a couple of threads I felt to be insulting and I’ll be more mindful about what I publish here in the future.
How have you changed your thinking about freelance writing and freelance writers since you started?