Friday, August 29, 2014

The Things I Learned About Freelance Writing While Working On My Truck

I own an old, beat-up pickup truck that’s seen better days. It’s got a ton of miles on it, rust spots and the interior smells like something from a high-school locker room, but it gets me from A to B. The other day, the thermostat went out, and it started overheating. I grabbed my tools and went to work on my rusted beauty, hoping to extend its life just a little longer. While I busted my knuckles and cussed liberally, I thought about how working on an old pickup truck kind of relates to freelance writing. These are the things I learned.

1.       Regular Maintenance Means More Money – That old truck of mine has been by my side for many years. We’ve been through a lot together, and it’s earned its keep twice over. While working construction, I nurtured that rusted-out old thing so that it could keep me rolling and earning. The same goes for a freelance writing career. Maintain your site, your portfolio, your connections and your clients. Doing so will ensure that they keep you earning far into the future. Same as my truck.
2.       It May Not Look Pretty, But It Does The Job – My truck is an old, ugly thing, but it never lets me down, and it does what I need it to do. If you’re just getting started in freelance writing, your resume and portfolio might look the same way. It may not look pretty right now, but keep working and never give up, and it will be up-to-snuff in no time.
3.       Don’t Let Anyone Talk Shit About Your Truck Or Your Writing – All my buddies tell me, “Damn Mikey, you need to get a new truck”. To which I reply, “If she still runs, then she’s still my baby”. Constructive criticism is great. Use it to make your writing better. But beware the haters. They are, unfortunately, everywhere nowadays. Don’t let them rain on your parade and definitely don’t take what they say to heart. The green-eyed monster is an evil thing and rears its head at any opportunity.
4.       Be Proud Of Your Truck And Your Writing – My truck ain’t the prettiest thing. It sounds horrible, looks rough and the ride is terribly uncomfortable. But I’m proud of it all the same. And you should be proud of your freelance writing accomplishments, even if they seem small. Feel good about every step you take closer to your dream. It’ll make waking up in the morning and starting again that much easier.
5.       Never Give Up On Your Truck Or Your Dream – Everybody is always trying to get me to buy a new truck. I can afford to, but that ain’t the point. That old thing has seen me through some tough times, so I will not get rid of it willy-nilly. The road to success in freelance writing is similar. There will be hard times and good times. People will question your career choice and try to convince you to trade-in for a better model. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit and freelance writing is your dream, don’t settle for less. Even if the future looks like a beat up old pickup, keep plugging away and eventually you’ll wake up with more work than you know what to do with.

It’s funny to me how seemingly different things in life can relate closely to one another. My pickup is a great parallel to how my freelance writing career has grown, faltered and rebounded. I’ve navigated the same bumps and detours that required an alternate route in my truck as I have in my career. Obstacles will jump out at you, impede your progress, but the key is not to avoid them as much as overcome them. When it looks like your truck is about to break-down, don’t give up, do a bit of maintenance, and I’m sure you’ll have it up to speed in no time. 


Susan Hudson said...

Thank you! I am just getting started and your words on this post are very encouraging to me. I will save this page to read over and over again! Susan Hudson

Michael Davis said...

Hi Susan,
You'll do great. Just keep trying and don't let anybody get you down! Feel free to contact me with any questions either through the contact form or on the forum. I always try to answer as quickly as possible. Good luck!

Wendy Brunner said...

Love this! I definitely feel like my career is like your old truck sometimes. As you said, the pressure from all sides to trade it in for a shiny full-time, corporate, stable job with benefits is enormous. Some days I give in and go job hunting. Some days I get inspired by other writers. Today is one of those days. Thank you for sharing!

Michael Davis said...

Awesome, Wendy! And, I'll tell you, I deal with those same struggles every day, even after 5 years of freelance writing. The ups-and-downs will always be there, it's how we deal with them that defines us. So glad that you found this article helpful, and it kept you writing for another day! Here's to your success as a freelance writer!

sally sandra said...

The only time a publisher ever refuses to give back rights from what I've seen is when there's some nasty little grudge going on between the author and publisher.

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