Between the upcoming launch of my new Rockable Book (stay tuned!), the holiday weekend, regular assignments, end-of-the month invoices, and last-minute requests from editors, it’s been a crazy week. Can you believe it’s only Wednesday?
Thinking about mistakes that freelance writers make reminded me of the seven deadly sins. Here’s my take on the topic, along with links explaining each “sin” in more depth and offering tips to avoid them.
As storytellers, we want our articles to have emotional impact and capture the reader’s attention, especially now with online publishers competing for page views and eyeballs. But sometimes we take this desire a little too far by over-promising in our headlines or using sensationalism to sell the story.
Toxic Storytelling: When Trauma is Sensationalized
In The Art and Craft of Feature Writing, Wall Street Journal reporter William E. Blundell discusses the dangers of too much background material, which some writers use as a crutch to avoid writing. If you become a glutton for research, it’s hard to digest the information and break it down into bite-sized pieces for your readers. Likewise, gorging on too many projects at once can lead to missed deadlines or burnout.
Too Many Articles Killed the Freelance Writing Star
Some writers are so worried about the competition that they refuse to share leads or ideas. Being greedy may cause other writers to stop sharing with you, but generosity fosters collaboration and allows you to build community.
Help, Don’t Hinder, Fellow Freelance Writers
Some writers lift quotes from other publications instead of doing their own reporting. Some don’t even bother to include quotes, even when the story would benefit from the inclusion of real people and experts. These shortcuts don’t endear you to editors or readers.
Is Social Media Making Journalists Lazy?
When a client or editor lose their cool, it’s tempting for the freelancer to fire back an angry email or vent on social media. Remember, though, that once it’s in writing, you can’t take it back. That’s why it’s usually best to take a few cleansing breathes before responding.
Calming an Angry Client
Jealousy isn’t productive unless it challenges you to work harder and aim higher. Unfortunately, when another writer lands a book deal or a plum assignment, we often get mired in wondering “why not me?” when in actuality there are lots of opportunities to go around.
5 Ways to Deal with Writer Envy
Many a proud writer has refused to take criticism or rewrite their story to an editor or client’s specifications. But that writer needs to realize that writing for publication or business clients means keeping them happy and putting their needs above your pride.
Dealing With Negative Criticism
Image courtesy of Robert Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As kids head back to school, it’s time for us freelancers to brush up on our skills and perhaps learn some new ones. Michelle Rafter posted a list of upcoming writer’s conferences, and while I’ll be attending the ASJA 2012 conference next spring, right now I’m planning to stay closer to home for my professional development.
Image courtesy of Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net