Taking my temperature, as it were…

So how’s the freelance thing going?

It’s been about what I expected, sometimes it seems I’m moving forward, other times not so much. Pretty much like anything.

I’ve been focused on a twin approach to my next career step for about the last three months. Looking for a full-time job that would still let me use my writing and editing skills in a stable environment that pays me a livable wage. Not too much to ask, I don’t think. And the second approach has been to research, network and apply – or bid, as the case may be – for freelance work.

The later has been frustrating when I get a nibble on a bid and start negotiating with a potential client. This has so far been done through a couple of “content mill” sites, infamous for using not paying writers anywhere close to what they’re worth for the time involved in a project. I knew what going in, but some people do make what seems a pretty good income from these sites. Although they’ve been doing it for at least a couple of years, some much longer.

(Courtesy Creative Commons)
(Courtesy Creative Commons)

The whole idea is to use these sites to start to establish a good reputation and develop a working relationship with clients that can lead to more fruitful – read profitable – work. In the meantime, it seems a writer has to basically give his or her work away. That’s something I have a very hard time doing. My dad taught me that the most valuable thing you have to offer someone is your time. Once it’s gone, you never get it back. So make sure you get something for it. Whether it’s money, enjoyment, even a smile, a hug or a laugh.

So when someone wants you to create a 500- or 1,000-word blog article for four or even one cent per word, it’s hard for me to justify putting my time toward something that doesn’t give me some reward or justification. I know, I just wrote that the role of these sites is to help writers develop good reputations by providing content. Maybe I need to make that more important than the time I put in to get to that point. Know what I mean?

Then there have been times when people I meet at networking events seem appreciative of what I’m trying to do with my writing and editing. Not many have said they want to talk about hiring me and I’m following through with those who have indicated an interest. I’ve also been encouraged about the likelihood of taking a different approach and “pitching” story or content ideas to businesses, organizations and publications. Although that’s another time-intensive effort.

I’ve also been able to set up what I think is a nice looking home office, if I ever get any local clients who want to meet and see where the magic happens.

(Courtesy Creative Commons)
(Courtesy Creative Commons)

As far as the search for a full-time job, more frustration overall. As usual, I get some phone interviews and in-person chats with the hiring managers and others, but no job offers. But I remain optimistic that some of the jobs I recently applied for, and I felt were very good matches for my skills, will produce a positive outcome. You have to stay positive in the face of so much rejection, not easy for anyone. Luckily, I keep pretty physically active with regular exercise and outside yard work. Does wonders for the state of mind.

So all in all, I guess I’m about where I thought I’d be. There are other steps I have in mind as the weeks and months unfold, so we’ll see where this journey takes me. I’ll take all the positive things and good wishes, too.

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