On Being Unemployed and Trying to Write

Keeping a freelance business going without income is like exercising without seeing any results. You keep at it because
it’s good for you, but after a while it can seem pointless, certainly frustrating.

Since I left Microsoft four years ago and started Working Words, I haven’t had much of an income. It’s been tough to keep freelancing, but during this time I have learned invaluable web skills.

At Dogspired, I learned about blog writing and editing, web publishing and design, and site management. With these skills, I thought it would be easy to find good web writing jobs.

I spend hours every morning searching through job boards, applying to likely jobs, and trying to network. In between these efforts, I keep writing. I also spend time keeping up with technology and writing trends by following websites that inspire me.

I just read an article in Search Engine Journal that said writers should write 1000 words a day. Write a blog post every morning so it’s part of your routine. Write whatever comes to your mind. Let the words flow without fixing errors or judging the words. Be okay with incomplete ideas and false starts, it’s how the best ideas emerge.

Being unemployed gives me plenty of time to write, and I should be cranking out unedited blog posts in an hour or so. But before I post an article, I like to have it edited by at least one person. This takes time, and causes me to rethink what I’ve written, wondering why I even wrote the article in the first place.

My last paid writing project was almost a year ago. I was hired to write the UI content for a crowdfunding website, iCrowd. I thought the project would last longer than a few months, but I was working with a team in India and communication was very difficult. Suddenly the project was over. I never got any feedback, but my words remain lodged in the user interface. That’s good for my portfolio, anyway.

It’s hard to stay confident about writing. I feel completely confident about editing and my ability to make words work better. But writing something original makes me nervous. I look at my own words with the same critical eye as I do someone else’s. I waste a lot of writing time this way.

I often read posts on Copyblogger. One of their recent articles says this: “The increased demand for talented content creators means that compensation and respect for the writer will rise.”

I hope this is true for me.

I also read posts on ReadWrite about trends in technology. For example, one of their articles says that effective online writing is all about getting to the point. And, if you’re stuck for ideas, go for a walk.

That’s just what I’m going to do right now.


Filed under technology, Working Words, Writing

3 Responses to On Being Unemployed and Trying to Write

  1. GregNo Gravatar

    Thanks for that article. It is good to know I'm not the only freelance writer who struggles to maintain constant work

  2. NikkiNo Gravatar

    Nice to meet a fellow freelancer! I really enjoyed your post.

  3. Vijayakumar KotteriNo Gravatar

    As a fellow writer, who has been there (and still goes there once in a
    while), I hear you loud and clear, Leslie. Not many of us can express
    our fear, our insecurity as honestly as you have done. It takes courage
    to keep at it and optimism to keep learning. You have both and you will
    make it. All the best!

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