So you’ve decided to become a freelance writer. You’ve spent some time honing your craft. You’ve found a few clients, and you’re starting to get paid by those clients. Now you want to show the world just how good you are, so you decide to share a piece you’ve written with your friends on Facebook.
Not so fast.
Freelance writing means getting paid for doing what you love, but it comes with strings attached. Many freelance writing deals are ghostwriting arrangements that are governed by a non-disclosure agreement. In essence, because your client is paying you for the right to claim they wrote a given piece, you can’t go around claiming it’s yours.
Non-disclosure agreements have implications that go way beyond showing your work to your friends. If you’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement, you can’t publish your work on your website. You also can’t show it to potential clients or put it on your resume. When taken on the surface, a non-disclosure agreement can be very limiting.
But you’re a writer! Surely you can think of a creative way to get around this stumbling block. And the good news is, there are plenty of ways you can do exactly that.
Writing About Writing
Even if you can’t show off a piece you’ve worked on, it doesn’t mean you can’t use something from the experience. After all, you’ve learned a lot! Why not put it to good use?
You can always create a blog that talks about what you’ve learned, but in a different way. For example, you can’t post the direct mail letter you wrote for a marketing client, but you can talk about what goes into creating a great direct mail piece. You can even incorporate feedback from the client to give your post added credibility. It’s a little extra work, but it can go a long way with future clients.
Social Media Posts
By nature, many social media posts are a bit frivolous. But whereas your friends are working at boring desk jobs, you get to spend your time writing! Why not play it up a bit?
We all know that freelancing sounds a lot more glamorous than it actually is. Of course, nobody else has to know that. “Just got done talking to a client about an upcoming project!” sounds exciting and vibrant, and it probably makes you feel really good about what you’re doing. That’s as good a reason as any to discuss your work with others. It’ll keep you rolling through the not-so-exciting parts of your career.
Blurring the Lines
Okay, so there’s a lot you can’t say about your writing career. On the other hand, there’s plenty that you can say.
It’s unfortunate that you’ll never be able to tell the world that you wrote website copy for Nike. However, you can definitely tell the world you worked with a leading sports apparel manufacturer on a writing project. It’s not quite the same, but it’s something. And who knows? Maybe the lack of specific details will make you sound even more interesting to potential clients.
In the end, non-disclosure agreements are meant to protect clients, not to hurt writers. Unfortunately, they do hurt writers a great deal. However, if you’re careful not to give away any information that can link you with a given client, you can still turn your experience into positive momentum for your career.
Writer Bio: Bryan B is a freelance writer living in Long Island, NY. Despite complaining about the snow all winter long, he’s already tired of warm weather.