Why a Freelance Writer Needs to be Like a Duck

by Jodee Redmond

If you want to be a successful freelancer, there are a few lessons you can learn from our fine, feathered friend pictured here. (Isn’t he beautiful?)

Stay Calm on the Surface

As the duck sits on the surface of the water, he presents a calm, peaceful demeanor. This is the face you need to display to your clients. You are someone who understands their needs and can help them reach their goals.

If you send out an application for a gig and you get rejected, just let it roll off of you like water off of our friend’s back. The same goes for nastygrams and general snarkiness. Don’t let anything spoil your mellow (public) mood.

Below the Water It’s a Different Story

The stuff that goes on below the surface is what your clients (existing and potential) don’t need to see. You may be paddling like you-know-what, but they are not aware of it. You could be distracted by the phone, your children, illness, or any number of other things. It may be one of those days when you couldn’t string two words together if your life depended on it.

Or you may be having a visit from the Insecurity Demon that all of us live with. Mine shows up every so often and sits on my shoulder (I swear this is true). He/she/it reminds me of all the ways that I am inadequate and how whatever I produce just isn’t good enough. I sometimes catch this little Devil skittering away out of the corner of my eye.

The way to deal with Insecurity is not to entertain it at all. This is one visitor you don’t want pulling up a chair and getting comfortable in your psyche. The way to make it retreat is to get busy doing something. If you have assignments, work on them. If not, apply for jobs or get to work soliciting new clients. I wish I had a magic formula or pill for getting rid of it forever, but I don’t. If I did, I would bottle it and sell it, believe me!

So getting back to our friend Mr. Mallard, you want to give the world a serene and peaceful appearance on the surface, even if you are paddling like the dickens below the water line! And like a good duck, you need to know when it’s time to fly off and look for new opportunities elsewhere.





6 responses
  1. Jett Farrell Avatar

    Great advice, Jodee! I’ve heard this analogy used in both film and even by a few pastors (I think Jesse Duplantis might have used it once), and its a great reminder to see it applied to writing! Cheers.

  2. Elijah Avatar

    Love the analogy, thanks for the good advice.

  3. hana Avatar

    Really great article, Jodee. I just found out that one of the blogging networks I write (wrote) for is shutting down. Your article is very timely. 🙂

  4. Mary Avatar

    Thanks, Jodee. Sometimes it’s very, very good to be reminded of these things!

  5. Jodee Avatar

    Thank you for your kind comments. 🙂

  6. Jenny B Avatar

    I enjoyed this Jodee. Thank you.

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