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A Freelance Writer's Guilt What Is Its Purpose
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To keep my skills sharp I write every day. I'm used to this and when I'm not writing I'm attending to other tasks. Still, not writing makes me uncomfortable. Shouldn't I be working? What's holding me back? Have I missed something? It's taken me a while to learn from my guilt feelings.
First, these feelings may act like a prompt. When I review a project I may have forgotten something and correct these error. I look for typos or may shift points around for better flow. In these instances the word "guilt" is a synonym for "responsibility." Guilt feelings can nudge me toward other tasks that have been waiting for my attention.
Setting goals is one of them. "Using Goal Lists to Stay on Task in Freelance Writing," an article on Voices Yahoo website, explains the goal-setting process. Lyn Lomasi, author of the article, thinks a freelancer's goals are motivation. These goals may be short-term or long-term. 'Goal lists should always be front and center," she notes.
Lomasi sticks her short-term goals to the front of her computer screen, where she can see them while she is writing.
Guilt feelings prompt me to tackle some of the uncomfortable tasks associated with freelancing, such as bookkeeping (ugh), phone calls, and keeping up with social media. According to "Top 10 Freelance Writing Time Suck Tasks," an article on the Freelance Writing website, many freelancers set aside a specific time to contribute to social media.
Organizing files is a time suck task, the article continues. No doubt about it, filing documents and cleaning out files is a pain, and I'm not very good at either. "Filing is the bane of our existence," the article explains, and I agree. In fact, organizing files is something I do after everything else is done.
Some of my guilt feelings are related to marketing. I spend so much time writing that there is little time for anything else. Though I'm a professional writer, I am also a wife, mother, grandmother, and community volunteer. I attend conferences, speak at conferences, and follow-up on community contacts. All of these take time away from writing.
Then there's the guilt, actually worry, of writing query letters. Writing these letters always takes more time than I think it should. I have to search for the appropriate publisher to contact. Then I have to find the editor's or acquisition editor's contact information. I have to narrow down my pitch and identify the features of my article or book. The Freelance Writing website has posted sample query letters.
According to the "rules" each letter must have a strong lead-in, describe unique selling points, tell what I want to submit, why I wrote the piece, and include a call to action. That's a lot of information for one letter. I think about letters I wrote in the past and how they fell short of the rules. I brainstorm on letters I might write in the future.
What can you do with writer's guilt? You can use it to write better query letters, improve time management skills, create a marketing plan, set new goals, and evaluate your writing. Guilt feelings do not have to defeat you, they can energize you, and lead you in new and rewarding directions.
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