Monday, April 28, 2014

A Crisis of Blogging Confidence

As if my health issues weren't enough to interfere with my blogging, for the past few months, I've been at a bit of a loss about this blog. (Don't worry - this isn't some lame announcement about how I'm shutting down the blog because I'm not.) This is just me thinking out loud. Or typing, you know.

As I've been building my freelance writing career, I've followed the advice of some online gurus. (If you want to know who, e-mail me. I'm not going to mention any names here because I'm not going to be 100% complimentary.)

Guru #1 offers loads of great advice. But she's only human, so sometimes she contradicts herself and sometimes she's just wrong. I've learned a ton from her and recommend her to people. 

But.

She's agin' personal blogs. Says they're a total waste of time. You could post every day on a personal blog, but since you're not focusing on one topic, that personal blog isn't good as a work sample. She says that it means nothing to post every day on whatever you feel like writing about. Even though producing a lot of content on a schedule is something that clients are looking for.

Guru #1 encourages freelance writers to launch a topic-specific blog, and build it into a business. Even though you're trying to build a freelance writing business at the same time.

Then she complains about freelance writers with just a few months experience setting up blogs about how to be a freelance writer. I don't think she's realized that at least some of them did it because she told them to. 

And as if that contradiction weren't enough - she also teaches that writers aren't experts. Yes, you can leverage your past work experience to get assignments writing about a certain topic, but if you want to get paid, you need to interview other experts, not sell yourself as an expert. And yet, she tells her readers to set themselves up as experts.

Sigh.

So this is what led me to launch The Famished Freelancer. Since I focus on food writing instead of recipes, it's probably not good enough for Guru #1, but my health issues have kept me from doing much cooking, so I'm not about to launch a recipe blog. 

Guru #1 has held some free phone calls with Guru #2, a more successful professional blogger who makes a very good living teaching people how to build successful blogs. After a couple of his free lessons/pitches for his classes, I realized that this approach they've been pushing isn't for me.

Guru #2 asked everyone on the call to think about where they want to be in 5 years. Well, I want to be published novelist. Not a high profile blogger. I want to put my entrepreneurial energy into raising the profile of my clients. While leaving time to write fiction. Not spending 20 hours a week managing a blog.

For the past 30 years, I've wanted to be a published novelist in 5 years, so I'm done letting having to earn a living get in the way. (Though I tried being a slacker in my early 20s, holding down lousy day jobs while writing and it didn't work either. Working a job I hate sucks away my will to write.)

Novelists need to build an author platform, but in very few cases does it include a big How To blog.

I don't know what that means for what I'm going to be writing here, or how I'll be promoting my two blogs. What I do know is that I'm going back to writing about whatever the fuck I feel like writing, without thinking about whether or not it's good for my freelance writing career. I'll be continuing with The Famished Freelancer because I like writing about food, and I'm currently trying to get more food-related clients. But I'm not going to use either blog to try to build an online empire. And I'm not going to shut them down because they don't fit into someone else's idea of what I should be writing.

Anything you'd like to see me write about? No promises, but this could be fun. Suggest something silly, or serious. Or nothing at all. Do what you want.

4 comments:

  1. Glad to see you back!

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  2. What about writing an article about what is worth doing in NYC from a New Yorker's point of view? I'd like to take my Girl Scouts for a weekend before they graduate, but I'm a crazy "Let's do everything possible" vacationer. I also just find it interesting what locals find interesting when they are surrounded by tourists.

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  3. Write about whatever the hell you want here! :) Personally, I find blogs that are just all about "brand building" to be fairly uninteresting to read and tend to skip them altogether.

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  4. I like your stream of conscious, core dumps. I have not read your other blog, but I like food, I like your writing, I will be checking it out.

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