Well, whadda ya know, it’s been more than a month since I blogged. Oops. Thesis and all.
But what better way to make my glorious return to the world of blogging than with a super-meta post about writing!?
So, here’s the thing: I don’t come to where you work and say, “I could fry fries better than that.” Or, “I could totes fer sure organize books according to the Dewey Decimal System better than that.” So why do so many people walk up to me, maybe make fun of me making my living as a freelance writer for a few minutes, and then ask me if I can show them the light and get them a job in freelancing?
Freelancing is not easy. It is not always fun. I make money writing now because I’ve put the effort into writing for years. I’ve been making money off of writing now in one way or another for more than four years, and I’ve done this in a number of capacities. I got my first professional writing job because I had volunteer writing and editing experience, giving me a big portfolio to show my employer.
Just like everyone who’s ever slowly climbed up a job ladder, I, too, as a writer, have paid my dues, and now I’m collecting my paychecks by routinely turning out various kinds of material that gets picked up.
Let’s start with one of the most basic parts of my job: SEO writing is a skill. I have it. Do you? If so, go use it. If you don’t, stop looking at me as though my job consisted of listening to NPR podcasts while scratching my back. I have a real job, so stop asking me when I’m going to find one, and please, please stop thinking you could do what I do with just fifteen spare minutes a day.
Somehow, I am continually amazed that there is no limit to the people who think they should be privileged to do my job just because I have it and they want it. If you really think you’re smarter and more qualified to write than me, why aren’t you doing it? I am, in fact, by and large a web-based writer, and I find my jobs the same way you should: by Googling it. Really, you should be using your larger intelligence and advanced skills to figure out that writing jobs don’t fall out of the heavens like manna. You find them, you apply for them, you give employers examples of your work, you hope to get hired, and then, if you do, you interact with them to create content that’s up to their standards, and then you get paid for your time.
Freelance writing is kind of like spending most of your time on a set of monkey bars, the next ring of which is rarely in view. And I’ve spent the last four years of my life feeling my way around those monkey bars – have you? Again, please, if you think you could do my job better than me, take that information and put it where it counts: on the competitive, open writers’ market.