What’s on the iPod: How To Save a Life by The Fray
Yesterday it rained, it was cooler, and the car was getting its inspection – a perfect day for me to get some work done. I managed a great deal of research and writing on my article, which barring major writing catastrophes elsewhere, I hope to finish today. It’ll be a few weeks ahead of schedule, but better that than late, I say.
Scored another new client, which came about in an email conversation with another writer. I pitched an idea and within an hour I was getting a contract. Love those kinds of leads!
I decided to join a professional organization because a few writers had mentioned it, and mostly because the price wasn’t prohibitive. If I hated it, I didn’t spend much to find that out. True to my nature, I headed for the forums first.
Tell me why some writers find it necessary to scoff at or belittle another writer’s process. This particular case was one where a writer had stated in a conversation that too much time spent digging for sources was wasted freelance time/money. The response from one writer – I would never think like that and you need to be educated on the right way to do things.
Not the best first impression by this group.
What bothered me about the exchange was that Writer A was explaining the real-life issues with trying to do the best job possible without belaboring the point. Writer B took the “time is money” thinking to mean there were corners being cut and that this writer needed a dressing down about it.
I can’t speak personally for either of these writers, but I can say that doing the best job possible and not wasting unnecessary time on it is my approach. I can do a great job for a client whether it takes me five minutes or five hours to find sources. I prefer five minutes. That works for me.
I have a writer friend who over-researches every article and delivers twice what the editors ask for. That works for her.
I know a writer who can work off one-word assignments and turn in brilliance. That works for him.
I know a writer who has to be given not just the story assignment blurb, but sources, phone numbers, and sometimes even the questions. That works for her.
The thing is if it takes you minutes, hours, or days, it’s your process. If whittling down your time researching will affect your final product, no suggestion or prompting to do so will fit you. Likewise getting sources. If you can deliver the same level of excellence using an online media source service than digging up sources organically, do it.
Because we charge hourly, time really is money for us freelancers. Anyone who scoffs that notion either doesn’t work full time at freelancing or doesn’t quite make that connection yet between time and money.
I guess this relates to what we were talking about yesterday. If your expert or some self-appointed Lord of the Written Word tells you your methods don’t work, think about whether that’s actually true or if it’s the words of someone who enjoys pontificating.
Writers, what’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received? Why didn’t it work for you? What’s the best advice you’ve received? How has that helped you?