I look for inspiration in lots of places when I’m thinking about my blog posts. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the traits that make up a successful freelance writer and what it takes to get hired for freelance. When I was pondering what kind of person exhibits the “write stuff,” (pun intended) it occurred to me that we can learn a lot from professional wrestlers. See if you agree with me after you read the list.
1. You need to stand out from the rest.
Let’s face it, a professional wrestler does stand out from the crowd. This is a person who other people can’t help but take notice of when they are ready for a match. When you are applying for freelance writing jobs or making a pitch to a potential client, you need to find an angle or a hook that makes your materials stand out from the rest of the pack.
2. Confidence counts.
Anyone who can step into the ring wearing tight spandex doesn’t have self-esteem issues. If they do, they are keeping it well hidden. Confidence is not something that a freelance writer gets once and then holds on to. For me, it’s something that ebbs and flows. I have times when I don’t feel very confident at all and at other times, lack of confidence is not an issue.
No matter how I happen to feel about my abilities at any given time, I still keep talking to people about freelance writing. If I waited until everything was perfectly in place before talking to potential clients or applying for freelance writing jobs, I would still be sitting around telling myself that someday I would like to be a writer. Taking action, even if it’s applying for one gig or sending out one query letter, helps with developing confidence.
3. Tell potential clients what you can do for them.
Professional wrestlers have no trouble telling an opponent what they are going to do to them once they step into the squared circle. It’s a standard part of the lead-up to a match and it creates interest for the fans. While I would never suggest that you threaten to lay the smack down on a potential client, you can tell them something about what they can expect if they choose to hire you: You will do the work on time, on budget, and to their specifications.
4. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
No one respects a wrestler who stands up in public and makes statements they can’t back up with actions. If you tell a potential client that you are the right person for a gig, make sure that you can deliver what you have promised. Failing to do so will damage your reputation and once that happens, you will find it more challenging to find clients who will take you seriously and hire you.
5. The job may look easy, but it’s not.
Just because pro wrestling is, um, scripted, it doesn’t mean that there is no potential for injury. Participants are at risk for injury every time they go to work, and some wrestlers have been killed in the ring. What the public sees at a wrestling match is only a small part of what is involved in this type of work. Wrestlers must work out regularly to stay in shape and keep working, and look after their injuries in between matches.
When a writer turns in a project to a client, they don’t see all the steps involved in bringing it to that point. The writer may have needed to do some research or conduct interviews as part of the work. He or she may also have to work up an outline or a draft version first. The work may need to be tweaked and some parts may need to be rewritten before showing them to the client. Proofreading and spell checking is also part of the work that the client doesn’t see, but if you miss something in this stage, you will likely hear about it.
6. The work can be a lot of fun.
I would hope that anyone who decides to become a professional wrestler enjoys what they do. There are easier ways to make a living, and ones that don’t involve the same potential for injury, so those who choose to do so must be getting something positive from the experience.
Some people may think that freelance writing for a living is hard. Here’s the thing: if you love what you do, it’s not. There can be times where the work can be frustrating or clients can get under your skin, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Most of the time, I don’t feel that I even go to “work,” and as long as that’s the case, I’ll keep writing for a living.