All You’re Going to Lose is What Was Built For a Person You No Longer Are
On owning your creativity, turning self-sabotage into self-mastery, and where to start if you're a brand new freelance writer.
This week one of my drafts got ripped to absolute shreds.
I hadn’t seen a Google doc with that much red ink and crossed-out lines in a long time.
It was bad.
As I read through the editors’ comments, my cheeks grew hot and I fidgeted in my chair. The edits did make sense, and I couldn’t believe I didn’t see my gaping logic the first time around.
What am I, blind? Was I, like, not conscious when writing this piece? My thoughts swirled. Don’t take it personally, don’t take it personally, don’t take it personally.
I’ve written before about what it means to be a freelance writer and learning to dissociate your worth from your written work. But at they, we’re human, and article feedback hits different when writing is what you do for a living.
I’m now super grateful those edits ripped me a new one. It turned a “meh”, directionless piece into something stellar (and more importantly, comprehensible).
I’ve also been mulling over these three points to help recalibrate after this writing faux-pas.
1. Writing is very, very hard. As Thomas Mann said, “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
2. Critique is never personal. People don’t rip you a new one to “teach you a lesson.” They only care about reading something comprehensible.
3. Writing an article is like painting a picture. Both are subjective. When hired to write for someone, you’re employed to carry out their vision. Your job is to get their vision right.
🖼 On Becoming a Prolific Creator
This Week: Why Creating is a Necessary Ingredient in Living a Fulfilling Life
Before I stepped into the online writing world, something was missing in my life.
I was craving a sense of ownership, yet I didn’t know exactly what that could resemble.
I had worked a bunch of jobs yet each one placed me at the bottom of the totem pole. Void of any real responsibility, I feel like I had nothing going for me.
It wasn’t until I published articles with my name on them that I felt like I was doing something right. This was the ownership I was looking for. I was making things.
Turns out this craving for ownership is universal. Creation is an essential component of happiness, for it allows you to showcase your unique attributes to the world.
Consider this quote from the iconic article, “6 Harsh Truths to Make You a Better Person,”
“You don't hate yourself because you have low self-esteem. You hate yourself because you don't do anything. Do the math: How much of your time is spent consuming things other people made (TV, music, video games, websites) versus making your own? Only one of those adds to your value as a human being.”
When you make things, whether it’s writing articles, art, design, code, or even at your job as a marketer, software engineer, etc, you offer value to the world. Your name is out there. You’re remembered.
And ownership of your creativity is an awesome thing.
🥒 Content Diet
The Mountain is You by Brianna West
Fellow freelance writer Jerine Nicole recommended Brianna West’s new book, “The Mountain is You.”
The book promises to turn your “self-sabotage into self-mastery.” A lofty ambition, but hey, why not aim for the stars right?
Here’s my favorite quote from the book so far:
“Your new life is going to cost you your old one.
It’s going to cost you your comfort zone and your sense of direction.
It’s going to cost you relationships and friends.
It’s going to cost you being liked and understood.
It doesn’t matter.
The people who are meant for you are going to meet you on the other side. You’re going to build a new comfort zone around the things that actually move you forward.
Instead of being liked, you’re going to be loved. Instead of being understood, you’re going to be seen.
All you’re going to lose is what was built for a person you no longer are.”
✍🏼 Freelancing Journey
This Week: Where to Start as a New Freelance Writer
I got this DM from an aspiring writer and figured I’d answer it in full in case there are other readers who are curious about getting into the game.
I’ll walk you through step-by-step what you should do.
1. Don’t join freelancing platforms like Upwork. I’m not saying you can’t be successful on Upwork. But it will take a lot of effort to make it work.
For example, you’d be competing with other writers for the same gig. You’d have to be a hawk, constantly refreshing for new opportunities.
Plus, since you’d have a new account, you’d need to accept low-paying gigs to build up your profile and accrue positive reviews. This will take time. And nothing will make you more resentful towards freelancing than getting paid $25 for a 1,000-word article.
So here’s what you’re going to do instead.
2. Build up your portfolio. Create either a Medium profile or personal blog (or both).
From there you’re going to write 5-10 articles and publish them on those platforms. Here are the types of articles you should be writing:
• Case studies. Mehak mentions wanting to write copy or email marketing. He should look up successful case studies and write about why they worked. Here’s an example of a writer who did a case study on The Trends email funnel.
• Permissionless apprentice. Mehak should pick out a company and see where they can improve their copy or landing page. Let’s say he chose Levels, a metabolic fitness program. He could sign up and check out their email funnel. What did he like? What could he improve?
He’d then take his findings and whip up an article describing why he’d make the changes he suggested.
3. Repurpose content and begin building an audience online.
Mehak has a Twitter account. This is great because Twitter is one of the best platforms for freelance writers. It’s easy to connect with potential clients.
Mehak would then take the articles he’s written, and repurpose them into Twitter threads. What’s key here is that he tags the people he’s writing about. If he repurposed Level’s email funnel, it’s important he tags the company.
When you provide value free of cost, people notice. Opportunities start coming your way.
4. Cold pitch.
The final step here is to begin cold pitching.
In your cold pitches, you’ll want to include the links to the articles you wrote about email marketing and copywriting. This places you as an expert in the field and establishes authority.
If you’d like to see a deeper analysis of cold pitching, you can check it out on my old newsletter here.
Yes, all of this takes work! But it will pay off substantially higher dividends than building a profile on Upwork ever could.
That’s all this week people!
We had a jump of nearly 50 subscribers this week, which is kind of nuts. If you’re new here, I’d love to hear from you! What did you enjoy? What would you like to read more on? I’m here to help.
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Have a beautiful week,