On occasion I like to cook a lot. When I do cook a large quantity of food, I pull out the heating dishes, arrange the food buffet style and invite my guest to partake.
In addition to the food I provide the necessary plates, spoons forks, dishes, napkins, cups and beverage. My guests are free to enjoy and eat as much as their stomachs can hold. The one thing I will not do, however, is cut their meat and spoon feed them.
Getting to the Point
As a freelance writer, we have to learn to learn. We learn by example, we learn through mentors, and most of all, we learn by mistakes (plenty of mistakes). If you are considering writing as a full-time occupation you must resolve yourself to the fact you will make mistakes as you learn new skills, methods and even new content sites.
Here at NJFM I try to make that journey a little easier by sharing my experience, both successes and mistakes. I also started out wet behind the ears, but I spent quite a bit of time researching, learning, taking risk and making lots of mistakes.
Silence is Golden
I find that I’m getting an ever increasing number of e-mails from newbie freelance writers asking questions that only they themselves should answer. I get a lot of questions asking things like:
- Should I have a blog?
- What should I write about?
- What’s the fastest way to improve my writing speed?
- What are the most lucrative subjects to write on?
- Is it okay if…?
- (Oh, and the kicker…I know you wrote about it on your blog, but I didn’t feel like taking the time to go through it. I thought it would be quicker if I asked you directly…hint: My time is just as valuable as yours)
I’ve changed my approach on how I respond to such e-mails. In the past I used to take the time to individually respond to each one. Sometimes, because I get the same questions so frequently, I would write a blog post about it. I no longer do that because I’ve covered the topic already. This blog would become mighty boring if I continually wrote the same post over and over again.
Time to Walk Away
I don’t want newbies to feel discouraged but sometimes a little tough love is better than too much love (and spoon feeding). Let me tell you a little story that happened in my life (dim the lights and queue the music).
Once Upon a time…
Prior to the birth of our first child, my husband had never changed a diaper. Back when our son was first born I felt I had to be super mommy. I had to feed, bathe, change and meet my baby’s every need so the fact that my husband didn’t change diapers didn’t bother me.
One day the Come-to-Your-Senses Fairy stopped by and whacked me upside the head and said, “Girlfriend, what are you doing? Don’t you know the way you begin is the same way you’ll end?” I rubbed the quickly forming lump on my head and realized this ornery little fairy was right. Today it’s diapers, a few years from now its soccer practice. And, what happens if we have several children? Whoa, time to switch gears.
The next time when my husband brought our son to me for a diaper change, I realized it was the perfect time for me to spend a couple hours shopping. I said to him, “I’ve got a few things to do. You change his diaper.”
He looked at me stunned and said, “I’ve never changed a diaper before.” I smiled at him and said, “I’ll give you a hint. If the baby’s face is covered you did it wrong.” With that, I walked out the door.
Father and Son Bonding
When I came back a few hours later, I found them both sound asleep on the couch. I checked my son’s diaper and it was clean and properly changed. I found that my husband was very capable of changing a diaper. I also realized that if I were around to instruct him on how “I” changed our son’s diaper, I was setting him up for failure (no two people accomplish one task the same way).
That day my husband proudly joined the ranks of dads who can change their child’s diapers.
Back to Freelance Writing
For those individuals who sent e-mails to me and have not had a response, what are you doing now? If you are sitting in a holding pattern paralyzed because I have not responded or given permission for you to take the next step, my suggestion to you is to find a traditional job to pay the bills while you work on building your confidence and decision making skills.
For those of you who have sent e-mails and decided to take the next step anyway even though you have not received a response from me, I applaud you. You have successfully passed my lesson in tough love. Your taking the next step (without permission) will carry you a lot further than if I had spoon fed the information to you.
Becoming a successful online freelance writer is all about reading, learning, making decisions and taking action (right or wrong).
More than One Way to Skin a Cat
Getting back to the diaper situation, one day when I was “napping,” my husband had to change our son’s diaper. I opened one eye to watch the process in action.
I stifled a giggle as I saw him grab the my son’s left ankle and lift 95% of the baby’s little body in air in order to place a clean diaper underneath him. Our son apparently thoroughly enjoyed the upside down vertical suspension. He cooed and giggled and smiled through the entire process.
That showed me that not only is there more than one way of changing a diaper, but my son also learned the difference in diaper changing styles. There’s Mommy’s gentle way and Dad’s toss me in the air and land solidly on a clean diaper method. My son is now over 6’3” and a strapping young man, so I guess Dad’s diapering didn’t hurt him one bit.
Similarly, when it comes to freelance writing, there is more than one way to become a success. I only share the journey I took; hopefully you will learn from my journey and blaze your own path.