Don’t let the title of this post fool you. I’m not suggesting that you become some type of chameleon and develop an entirely different persona at work. (If you have already done so and it’s working for you, carry on, though. Why mess with success?)
I got the idea for the post from watching a medical show on television. I enjoy watching real life ones that show medical professionals as problem solvers. Since I’m always curious about what other people do for a living and why they were drawn to a particular type of work, I pay particular attention to any interviews that are included.
In one episode, an emergency room doctor was explaining why he chose to specialize in that area of medicine. He is the type of person who is interested in dealing with a specific condition, as opposed to providing continuous care to a patient. Dr. Marcus Welby this guy was not, but he was very good at thinking on his feet and dealing with the medical issue in front of him.
Writers are just as varied as people working in any other job category. Some of us write for others because we have to and for ourselves because we can, while others treat this as strictly business. We may write web content, web copy, print copy, white papers, technical manuals or blogs. Some of us are generalists while others have a specific niche that we focus on.
Some writers like to have several (relatively) small projects going, while others would ideally prefer to have a brobdingnag one that will keep them busy for a time. Once they finish it, they focus on the next one.
When you are looking for freelance writing jobs, first consider your work personality. If you are someone who enjoys the relative security of working with a client over the long term, then look for someone who can offer a steady gig (or the potential for a series of projects). If you are someone who gets bogged down working on large projects, move on and apply for something that is a better fit for your freelance work personality.
Knowing yourself well means that you will find it much easier to answer the question that all prospective clients want to ask: why should I hire you?
Anita Cooper says
Okay, now I’m really curious…what is a “brobdingnag?” Was that a typo, or some cool, hip acronym that I’m totally oblivious to?
I am a mixture of the two personalities…I like to have steady gigs but I also love trying new styles of writing and researching outside of my chosen niche.
Great post, Jodee. Thanks for the tips!
Anita Cooper says
Okay, never mind, silly me…if I’d kept on reading the RSS feed I’d have found your link to the word…thanks for the new word, I love it, but I’ve no idea how I will remember its spelling!
@ Anita: Noemi, who posts job leads on weekdays, challenged the FWJ team to use that word in our work this week. It means “giant.”
bobbi carr says
Thanks, Jodee, for the thought-provoking column. I think my “freelance personality” steers to the “a client here, a client there” direction. I really don’t like dealing with the same client on a long-term basis because the relationship tends to sour, usually because the client starts to increase his or her demands without increasing renumeration.
This is something that isn’t said enough. A lot of writers get locked into the idea that any work is good work and just to grab at whatever comes along. While it’s important to stay busy, it’s best to stay busy with things you can handle and that won’t burn you out.