Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Spice of (the Writing) Life

They say that variety is the spice of life, and that certainly seems to be the case where freelancing is concerned. With so many folks giving up the regular 9-5 routine (for one reason or another) and more opportunities for freelancers than ever, the possibilities are truly overwhelming.

A freelancer friend has built her career on the simple philosophy of “Say yes to everything!” This is how she’s managed to still maintain her income when the editors aren’t responding, copywriting projects are slowing up, and corporate clients are slashing budgets—by diversifying, and not relying solely on one type of project. In this still-shaky economy, this seems to be the key for businesses of all types.

Even with my modest efforts, over the course of the past few years I’ve worked on a variety of projects—features, blog posts, newsletter articles, case studies, and, most recently, web copy. Although there are some projects that I prefer more than others, I’ve said “Sure, I’ll give it a shot” more than I’ve said “No thanks, I’m not familiar with that type of project.” Saying yes more than turning things down has kept the work interesting, allowed me to grow as a writer, and increase my versatility as a freelancer. I don’t feel I’ve found my niche, per se, just yet, but I’m okay with dabbling in various types of projects—a trait that will hopefully come across to potential clients.

What about you? Do you mix things up, or stick to one or two types of writing projects?


  1. It's funny - I just posted a comment about this on Lori Widmer's "Words on the Page" blog.

    I'm mixing things up, and that's new for me. Mostly I write for local publications - 2 newspapers and 1 magazine are giving me a steady stream of work right now. But earlier this week I met with a potential new corporate client, and I'm excited about that opportunity. I'm hoping it will be another steady project with good earning potential.

    I'm also working on a freelance PR project right now (actually I'm procrastinating, and as soon as I finish typing this comment I HAVE to finish writing a press release), but I think it might be the one and only PR project I take on - at least while I'm working as a journalist in the same market. I'm having to pitch a story to an editor I write for. Usually when I pitch stories, it's as the potential writer. It's weird and discomfiting to have my name as the contact on a media release. So as soon as I finish this project (which I took on a trial basis) I'm going to let the client know that while I appreciated the opportunity, in the future I'd prefer to work with them as a journalist and not as a contractor. I'll pitch stories for them to my editor contacts, but I don't feel comfortable being paid to do it. I doubt they'll turn down that offer. ;-)

  2. Stacey--Mixing things up is great. At least it'll help you discover what types of projects you gravitate toward. I'm finding that even with features, I'll initially be really into an idea, but once I start interviewing and getting down to writing, I'm not as passionate about it as I'd been originally. The nice thing is that you can simply pass on the things that make you feel uncomfortable (like the situation you described) or just can't get into.