Focus on Substance, Not Style

“Cos we all just wanna be big rock stars….” (Rock Star, Nickelback)

The term “rock star” is thrown around a lot more lately than it ever used to be. I’ve even seen ads in my online travels for job leads where a client actually mentions in the ad that they want to hire a rock star when they are looking for a writer.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to hire (or be) a person who rocks whatever it is they are working on. Taking pride in your work and doing your best never go out of style. They may be considered old fashioned values, but they are an important part of your success as a freelance writer.

By all means, get out there and rock it, but don’t confuse style with substance. You can create a brand for yourself and have all kinds of online buzz happening, but if you don’t have a solid foundation to back it up, you aren’t going to last very long. Real rock stars may live life on the edge (at least they did back in the day), but there was a foundation of talent and hard work there, too.

We are living through a time of economic change right now, that’s for sure. Some markets for writers are drying up, and other ones are emerging. The only thing we can be sure of is that things keep changing.

Freelancers are well poised to adapt to changing markets, though. Unlike people who work for one company, we have the freedom to work for multiple clients. All of our eggs are not in one basket as far as our income goes.

How do we stay busy during these changing times? We adapt as well. My suspicion is that now is not the time to attempt to impress a potential client with our rock star swagger, big ego, and attitude to go with it. It may not be especially sexy or exciting, but now is the time to focus on putting the “service” back in customer service to give our clients our best possible efforts. They are the reason why we are in business, after all.

How has your freelance writing business changed with recent events? Have you noticed a slowdown, or is it business as usual?





4 responses
  1. Andy Hayes Avatar

    Things are pretty busy with me – have not noticed a major impact, but I’ve stepped up marketing efforts so perhaps I’m just seeing the results of being on top of my game overshadow any erosion in my writing markets.

  2. Aurora Avatar

    I’m not noticing any real impact right now, in fact November was one of my best months in the last couple years. The irony is, I’m feeling a “mental impact” and have decided to expand outside of my current circle of Editors to try and find new, extra work to spread those eggs around a little more… just incase.

  3. Jeanne Avatar

    I always shudder when I see job posts with the words “only rock stars need apply.” Rock stars? Shudder. Somehow I think these companies will be problematic.

  4. Z'maji Avatar

    I’m actually just writing for myself now but I really want to find real paying work so that I begin to turn a profit and cut out my other job – even tho it’s working for myself. I’ve always been about customer service period and it’s shocking to see how many folks are clueless to what that is. It’s about Excellence, y’know? It puts you miles ahead of the rest.

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