Tag Archives: career

Monday Morning Musings: Millennial Writers, Quit Hitting Refresh!

Not for the first time, it’s been dawning on me lately that my status as a millennial writer may be putting me at something of a competitive disadvantage.

I’m not referring to my relative (though rapidly disappearing thanks to student loans and the looming inevitable death of all we hold dear) youth, or the metric ton’s worth of crappy expectations and stereotypes previous generations have dumped upon mine. I’m simply pointing out that my patience level is, shall we say, not high. In this business, that’s not exactly an asset.

A twenty-first century writer’s true nemesis, you understand, is not crass commercialism or an uneducated public or even a literary archrival. No, it’s that danged refresh button.

“Come on, come on, it’s been like half a day already. Has she seen my e-mail? Surely she’s seen my e-mail. Read the query, read the query, READ THE QUERY, READTHEQUERYREADTHEQUERYREADTHEQUERY!”

It’s just so freaking easy nowadays for millennial writers like me to click back and forth between windows, hitting “refresh” on blog stat trackers and e-mail inboxes every 30 seconds.

“What do you mean there’s only been 10 pageviews so far? That was a brilliant post! How do all those spam marketing sites with people who can’t write in English get so much flipping traffic, anyway?”

We may be getting a tad obsessive. Also, that little nervous habit is cutting way too much into our writing time.

There is no way I would have survived trying to make a career of writing back in the good old days when everything always got lost in the mail both ways. If I make a change to the blog settings, my brain does know that it’s unrealistic to expect such minute tweaking to instantly boost my readership. Does that ever stop me from frantically doing CPR compressions on my refresh button? Heck no.

Nor does my complete lack of control over when other humans send e-mails even slightly make a dent in the number of times I’ve checked my messages since lunch (approximately 347, in my not-so-scientific estimation). There’s an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon that opines, “The longer you wait for the mail, the less there is in it,” and right now I really feel like reaching through my screen and giving my inbox a good bopping.

Sure, the usual advice given to millennial writers in my situation is to write something else, or query someone else,  or do something else. And I’ll totally do that, right after I refill my coff–REFRESHREFRESHREFRESH! Whoops.

How do you avoid mashing the refresh button?


Freelance Friday: Pitch Freelancing Jobs You Want


If you want it, you’ll have to pitch it. Photo via VisualHunt.com.

A short time ago, I reached out to an old business contact on a whim and pitched an idea that I’d been mulling over for a few months.

I got an enthusiastic reply and found myself setting up a meeting with the contact’s managing editor. By the end of that conference, I had talked my way into a paid freelancing job. It’s a small one, but it’s recurring work I didn’t have a month ago.

As I drove home, I was struck by a simple truth.

You don’t land the freelancing jobs you don’t pitch.

Don’t misunderstand. You can certainly get good-quality work through referrals and word of mouth, if you’ve built a solid reputation for yourself and your output. Any skilled freelancer can. None of that work, however, is particularly likely to be any of the dream assignments floating around in your head, especially if you’re just starting out. Your clients are coming to you with their own agendas, needs, wants, and ideas. If you’re content to keep taking whatever projects are sent your way in order to keep the lights on, terrific. That is a perfectly reasonable, pragmatic position, but today’s post is not for you.

Today is about your goals. Your client list. Your dream projects. Your career five or 10 years from now. What do you see yourself doing?

You don’t land the freelancing jobs you don’t pitch.

If your answer is not, “The thing I am doing now,” what are you doing to get yourself there? Truthfully, you must do something. The jobs you really want are highly unlikely to simply land in your lap. You must organize your portfolio, take stock of your skill set, and identify the clients you want to work for and the jobs you want to take on.

You must do your homework. Then, you must pitch. Present your case to the target client. Why does the client need this assignment done, and why should you be the person who gets hired to do it?

Your prospect might say “no” to today’s pitch, but you won’t know for certain until you ask.

When you don’t ask the clients you want for the work you want, the answer will always be “no.”

If you want to land your dream freelancing jobs, you’ll need to go out there and pitch them.