“In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.” Wow. If you had to make a list of ten word statements that could make a writer want to choke themselves to death on a Krispy Kreme, that quote by John Steinbeck would be somewhere near the top of the list. But it does succinctly describe the common experience of the freelance content writer.
We all know that being a freelancer can be a lonely job, and there are two aspects to this loneliness. One of course is being physically alone, unless you have to deal with a house full of hyperactive kids, an out of work spouse, gossipy neighbors who come by daily for free coffee and cigarettes, a gabby live-in mother-in-law, or all of the above, which is a whole other issue. The other is doing a job that’s not usually collaborative, it’s all up to you. But, with a some creativity and just a little mental instability you can alleviate the lonely writer blues.
Buy A Parrot
Why not have a pet you can talk to? Cats are okay, but let’s face it, they can be moody and besides, they sleep all day. Dogs, well, they never really have anything stimulating to talk about. Turns out there are actually lots of different birds that can be taught to talk and even hold a conversation, of sorts. Contrary to popular belief, they really aren’t all that partial to crackers, though they’ll take one in a pinch. Oh no, they want the good stuff, and they’ll get it too. Otherwise they’ll just turn up their nose, er, beak at you and refuse to talk. Or worse, start screeching out all the naughty words they’ve heard you say while banging out that third revision.
Take Long Walks And Talk To Yourself
This is actually quite therapeutic. After all, who’s more interesting than yourself? And if you’re dealing with a vexing dilemma or writer’s block it really helps to vocalize it, just like if you were explaining it to someone else. Of course this can lead to some embarrassing moments when someone inevitably catches you at it. They might think you’re nuts. But hey, we’re freelance writers, who cares? We probably are. Might even impress a client who wants to hire blog writer.
Create An Imaginary Friend
Well, it worked when we were kids didn’t it? Imaginary friends are great, they hardly ever argue, they can be male or female, and they always really like you, unless you don’t want them to. And they can be a partner in the writing process. You can even give them a pen name. Just make it clear that they’ll only be writing for the exposure, maybe they can work up to $1 per 500 words, which they can use to pay you for the imaginary food they eat.
Now this technique kinda contains elements of the above, but it adds the face that the imaginary friend lacks, without the mess and hassle of a pet. And you can learn a potentially valuable craft. See Kukla, Fran and Ollie for inspiration.
So how do you deal with the freelance writer blues?
Bob P is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.