The freelance writing game is pretty new to me. Granted, I’m not freelancing full time yet so I can’t say I have a complete grip on what being a freelancer is like, but I’m starting to get a taste. Yesterday, as you probably know, was Thanksgiving here in America, and I can safely say that I had my first freelancer Thanksgiving.
What makes a freelancer Thanksgiving different from a regular Thanksgiving? Two things happened to me that were pretty notable.
The first is that I had a Thanksgiving-themed post of mine get pretty popular on Medium. The piece was entitled, “How to Explain Net Neutrality to Your Relatives on Thanksgiving,” and it went from 0 views to 2,000+ views in only one day’s time. It got picked up by the blog Noteworthy, which netted me one of my first prominent bylines as a freelance writer. It also initiated a mass following of my Twitter account by people who loved the piece and wanted to know next time I post something. It was a real success!
What did I learn from this? The first thing is that timing of a piece is incredibly important. Not only did my article cover a holiday that was right around the corner, but it also included a current news issue that is saturating the internet. Combining the two topics into a clear title got people to click on it. Getting people to click is one thing, but if the piece itself is no good, it’s not going to get you much. But once I got people to start reading, they didn’t stop, and now I have a real bonafide successful blog post that I can add to my portfolio.
The second thing that happened to me during Thanksgiving is that I was getting work proposals from people in other countries on Thanksgiving day. I was cooking food and hanging out with my girlfriend’s family in Rochester when my phone blew up with people asking me for Skype chats.
As a new freelancer, I don’t have the luxury of turning this work down. But as a person with a life, I had to tell them that I was unavailable to work that day. I may be new, but I don’t want to be the kind of freelancer that’s turning down or ruining social engagements by clamoring for work at all times. I want to be successful, but I also want to have a life. I want to work, but I want to work smart, and filling my time with work at all costs is not smart. It’s just exhausting.
Outside of my freelancing, my holiday weekend is going great so far. I had a delicious and festive Thanksgiving, and now I’ve got the rest of the weekend to spend with my girlfriend in her hometown. We’re going to eat a lot of food and try to get outside as much as we can, even though it’s frickin’ cold in upstate New York. Talk to you guys next week!