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The Curse Of The Freelance Copywriter
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'Hi, I'm a struggling writer, would you like to buy me a drink?'
There are thousands of writers out there and they call themselves by many different names; Copywriters, Copy-editors, SEO writers, Ad-copy writers, Freelance writers...the list goes on and on. And some of them even think that it's a good idea to stick a load of SEO'ed phrases into the top paragraph of an article to see if they can get away with it.
Nevertheless, there are many kinds of writer and they all have to get by, and (believe it, if you will) they all need to eat. This is especially true for those of us who have decided that enough is enough, that 'I'm going to do this full time, and to heck with stacking those shelves!'
We can't all be wowing the ladies (or the gents) with the stock writer chat-up lines. No, some of us might even be making some serious money. Some of us might even be able to buy them a drink.
If you've been doing this job for a while you probably know what the curse is, but I'm going to spell it out anyway, because I'm a writer and that's what I do.
The Freelance Curse Too much work; too little time.
Too little work; too much time.
And the deadlines all merge into one!
Professional Writing of any kind is a big commitment. It's an amazing feeling to have your words published, to find your own name nestling at the top of the Google search results. Yet, writing can also be very hard, time consuming and often rather frustrating, when all your clients decide to contact you on the same day of the week to ask for an urgent piece of work to be done by the next Thursday.
'Of course, that won't be a problem,' you say, thinking of all those chat-up lines you won't have to use;
You can now say, 'Hi, I'm a successful writer, can I buy you a drink?'
And you won't have to rely on the hit-or-miss charity of strangers next time that you are in a social situation. You have visions of cruising through Islington in your new Lamborghini, of having beautiful ladies or tanned Greek Gods to serve you every need. There'll be no more of that paint drinking under canal bridges. I mean, why else did we go into this profession?
But the curse kicks in. You've accepted as many jobs as you possibly can and now you're having to write 12, no 18, no 23 hours a day.
Once you've finished, met all those deadlines and your fingers have stopped bleeding you sit back and look at the phone, you check your e-mail, you scratch your head. Nothing. The phone has lost its voice, your e-mails are telling you that you could look ten years younger, but other than that things are dryer than a nun's underpants in the desert.
Overcoming the curse
Writing Partnerships Of course, it might just have been me, but I believe that this curse is a fairly common experience. I overcame it by forming a partnership called Herds of Words. There are two full-time writers in the firm, but we are also able to employ other freelancers when the workload gets too heavy. We don't struggle to find work in the 'dry' patches because when there are two of you there are four eyes looking out, in every direction, for the next opportunity.
Writing partnerships work because ideas bounce back; they don't go bounding off into the desert, only to die under a saguaro, forgotten and alone. They come back evolved and more effective.
I used a business partnership to get over the curse; I can spread the load and find work more effectively. If you have the opportunity, there is more security in numbers - well, it works for us anyway.
'A writer? Ooh, I dig that.'
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