A side-effect of ghost- and contract-writing for companies that are way hipper than I am is spending a lot of time on social media and hearing from a lot of social media experts.
Despite my best efforts to glide off raw, natural talent, I have to adapt to their voices and trends and jargon and metrics and whatnot.
I mean, srsly, we all know that if I wrote from the heart every post for every client would be like 8,000 words long and wandering and full of references to goodness knows what. Yet somehow I keep getting work, so I must be doing something right.
As I take a break between some contract writing assignments today, as I reflect on this side-career, I feel like I’ve really landed on some secrets to success in this field. And if there’s one thing experts like to write about, it’s how to be good at things!
Without further ado, then, here are my keys to success (if measuring by my life, which I absolutely don’t recommend as #goals-worthy):
Silence is the enemy, or, Background Noise is your muse.
- Music (preferably Black Keys or Disney Soundtracks)
- Period Pieces on Netflix (Jane Eyre, Mansfield Park, etc.)
- Coffee shop chatter. This one is the worst, obv, but it’ll do.
Fill your mind with inspiring things.
Recommendations, by medium:
- TV: Gilmore Girls, Frasier, New Girl, X-Files
- Movies: Anything made out of a book by Austen, Tolstoy, or some other dead classic writer. Also things starring Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, etc.
- Books: Lewis, Rowling, also anything by a dead classic author. They’re so good.
- Radio: Classic hip-hop, alternative, or top 40 sometimes, you know, when it’s like Adele or whatever. NOT country, though. No.
- Internet: Buzzfeed, but only the quizzes (v insightful), social media BUT only read Twitter, the rest is just for pretty pictures, amirite?
All of it.
Or a lot of candy. Maybe both. Probably both.
Own a puppy
Plz note: not conducive to productivity, but v helpful to combat the sometimes soul-killing aspects of content writing.
Hopefully this list has inspired all of you aspiring freelance writers greatly. Or at the very least, deterred some future competition away!
PS… I’m putting together a curriculum with some ACTUAL, practical tips for freelancing and contract writing. Stay tuned!