Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.
Content writers are a lot of things. In the immortal words of Wayne Campbell, we have “an extensive collection of name tags and hair nets,” and we often wear them all at the same time – while in yoga pants, with several kids underfoot and a mountain of coffee grounds weighing down the garbage can.
Writing is only partially about actually putting down words, with the rest of the time eaten up by proposals, research, scheduling, and important things like word games and Facebook. Still, there are some titles we don’t aspire to, especially when the labels are surreptitiously pinned to us while we’re busy telling the toddler to get off the dog.
Whether you’re considering purchasing content writing services for your business or just have a friend who freelances for a living, here are five things we’d like to gently remind you that content writers are usually, almost always, pretty definitely… not.
1. Babysitters – People seem to think that because I freelance I have tons of free time to watch their kids. The invitation to spend time with their precocious, PB&J-covered youngster is usually prefaced by something along the lines of “Since you don’t work,” or my personal favorite, “It would save me so much money on an actual babysitter.” There are few things more insulting than belittling someone’s job, and just because my uniform is yoga pants and showers are technically optional doesn’t mean my career is less real than yours.
2. Anything Other Than a Writer – I am happy to write you all the content in all the land, but after the words are on the page, all beautiful and shiny like, my job is done. Coming back and asking me to add original photographs, find a publisher for your book, or market your press release is a bit like taking your steak back to the butcher and asking them to cook it. It’s cheeky, and no.
3. Therapists – Some clients love to chat, and while I’d love to be the contractor that always lends an ear, the sad truth is having empathy and compassion do not a mortgage payment make. Listening to you talk about your boss’s dissatisfaction with your work, your home life, or that mysterious mole on your back may be absolutely fascinating, but it’s costing me money. Just answer our question about backlinking so we can move on! And please, get the mole checked.
4. IT Techs – I’m not ashamed to say that I have no idea why your Paypal isn’t working or what that buzzing sound coming from your laptop is, and when it comes to HTML or app programming, I’m likely to make that face dogs make when they hear something weird. There are limits to my magic, and we have reached them.
5. Lazy – It’s easy to think that we freelancers, with our pajamas and our couch offices and our soap operas on all day, are lazy. We may not commute or put on a suit, but anyone working towards 8 different deadlines from 8 different clients while getting dinner on the table and the kids to soccer practice is anything but lazy. We’re time management experts and wordsmiths and Superparents and thesaurus geeks and research experts, and juggling that takes energy, ambition, and commitment. Now, if you’ll excuse me, that couponing show is on and this candy isn’t going to crush itself.
Alana M is 5′ 5″ of trouble. When she isn’t hard at work writing all kinds of witty and engaging content, she enjoys long walks on the beach, lion taming, nuclear physics and lying about her hobbies.”