10 Things I Learned From the Freelance Writing Jobs Community in 2009

Community

So this is the time of the year when bloggers do all of the end of the year posts and talk about goals, resolutions and the best stuff of the year. I’m not going to go on about my goals yet, but if it’s OK with you, I’d like to talk about the things I learned from you, the Freelance Writing Jobs community. You’re my biggest supporters and my biggest critics. I value your input, your support and your friendship. You teach me so much and I appreciate the opportunity to learn from you.

1. You like to discuss rates

I often wonder if we have too many rates discussions but it’s the rates comments that inspires the most reaction. My email also indicates the usefulness of these discussions. You enjoy comparing jobs, defending you choices and learning new ways to earn. You don’t like it when you’re insulted or made to feel bad about your choices, but in general, you’re respectful when you disagree. You would like to continue talking about rates because you feel it’s important for all writers to know the types of jobs that are available and the pay. The pay discussion inspires the most passion and the biggest turnout in the comments. If I want to get folks talking, all I have to do is bring up money.

2. You want to learn about all the different types of writing

You’re very interested in learning about the different ways to earn a living as a freelance writer. It doesn’t mean you’ll pursue these opportunities, but you at least like the opportunity to consider and mull over your choices.

3. You’re not so much into the interviews

The posts that don’t receive comments or email are the interviews. When I interview an expert or successful writer the comments are a virtual ghost town. We may get one or two responses, but for the most part interviews don’t inspire discussion.

4. We trust each other

I trust you to be honest with me. If you don’t like something, you tell me. If you enjoy something, you tell me. If I cross the line, you send me hatemail. If I betray your trust, you yell at me on your own blogs. You must trust me as well because the numbers indicate growing traffic. If you thought I was a big bag of wind you would have left a long time ago. Thank you for having my back, I promise to always have yours.

5. You come here to find work

I’m not going to pretend otherwise, the majority of people who visit FWJ do so because they want to find job leads.  Many of you do stay on to participate in our daily discussions and support the FWJ bloggers, but the bulk of people who visit FWJ each day look for jobs and that it. Many of the people who are very vocal against me on other blogs also come here each day for work. It gives me pleasure to be able to present you with plenty of options each day and it’s all good.  I do hope the silent majority will join in the conversation now and then, or at least say hi. Let’s make that a goal for 2010.

6. You like to laugh

Every time we write a humorous post I receive a flurry of emails. You enjoy laughing and especially appreciate a look at the lighter side of freelance writing. We’ll be sure to add more funny stuff in the coming weeks and months. Sometimes in our desire to succeed we forget to take a break and just have fun with each other’s company. Let’s do that more often.

7. You don’t respond well to negativity

If I write a post with a negative slant, like this one, instead of one that is positive and encouraging, the reaction is never what I expect. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy respectful disagreement. I like a good debate. However, the posts that aren’t showing the positive side of freelance writers also inspire a flurry of anonymous (and some not so anonymous) snarky comments. I think it’s important to show all sides of the story sometimes, but when I go to the dark side, many of you send me email or post here to tell me I crossed the line. Some even tell me you don’t like when I depart from my usual writing style. I find it all very interesting.

8. You write for a variety of reasons

Many of you write to make ends meet, but not all of you. Some of you enjoy writing as a hobby and others to earn a little pocket money. Some of you write to get through college, others want to earn a full time income. What I enjoy most about having such a variety of  writers here is that it leads to better discussions. We see five different sides of the topic instead of a big, fat “I agree” fest. I love the diversity of the freelance writing jobs community.

9. This blog is more a labor of love than a money maker

This year was a roller coaster for FWJ. We had a couple of offers (one major) but I wouldn’t sell. The thing is, this blog isn’t a huge money maker. I took a hit for taking on certain sponsors, but if I didn’t seek sponsorship and take on private advertisers, there’s no way I would be able to draw a salary or pay the writers here. The FWJ community is supportive in numbers, but not with the advertising.  The majority of this community doesn’t click or buy, and that’s OK. When I was approached about selling this blog it made me realize this blog was more about love than money.  Mind you, I can’t do this for free. I have to be able to pay the bloggers here and justify the time spent doing this. However, I’d still keep it going in some capacity if the money dried up.

10. To do this full time, I had to do this full time

When I took on a full time job in 2008, traffic and revenue to this blog tanked. When I found myself without a full time job in 2009, I decided to try putting a full time effort into this blog instead of taking on more clients. The gamble paid off. Traffic and revenue grew. Running a blog network is more than just posting a few leads and writing my thoughts each day. It’s about finding ways to bring in traffic to each and every blog. It’s about negotiating with advertisers and finding sponsors. It’s about networking. It’s about so much more than mere blogging. This is now my full time job and I love every minute of it.

I want you to know that you are so worth all of the effort the FWJ team puts into this blog. Every day when I read your comments or check my email you show me how I made the right decision. You’re supportive, you’re communicative and you’re wonderful. Thank you, Freelance Writing Jobs community for allowing me to do what I love to do. You share your passion with me, and I’m so happy to be able to share mine in return.

Here’s wishing all you all a peace-filled, prosperous and productuve 2010.

Comments

  1. Great post, Deb, and it mirrors some of the things I have learned on my blog. Not that I didn’t know it, but you really have to put in some time to make a blog successful. This year I hired one of my old buddies to contribute regularly to the blog and it has taken on new life again. Thanks for sharing these lessons.

  2. I never thought bloging needed that much from a blogger until I read your post,Deb.It looks like a lifetime dedication to me. Each point above simply shows how dedicated a blogger called Deb to her business. Huge lesson to me, a novice with little knowledge in the jungle of blogging and freelance jobs. Doing everything with sincerity and love is such a blessed life, Deb. I want to find my own blessed path, too, just like what you did.

  3. The one thing I’ve learned from this blog is that I love the writing community. Here we can learn, b****, encourage and console each other. I adore the controversy and discourse, so don’t you dare water anything down!

    I’ll confess, I do come here to look for work, but I mostly come for the conversation. Seriously, I do! I don’t have any writer friends, so I have to search for support and friendship online. And I found that all here at FWJ. So here’s to many more years of laughing, snarkiness, and enlightenment. LONG LIVE FWJ!

  4. Hi there, I’m the sort of person who loves reading blogs. I have a blog, but that’s something I do because I love to write. This post is fantastic – and I love how it touches upon the truth. I’m a fan of truth (and your blog!)..

    Keep up the great work..

  5. I love FWJ and I do enjoy the interview posts as well. I don’t always have a comment though, even though I read it. FWJ also is my “reward” to myself. If I get all of my freelance writing work done, I get to read the new posts on FWJ.

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