I love writing. Building individual words into words and articles that demonstrate my knowledge and wit has been an incredibly fun way to spend my time and energy outside of bartending. However, I've recently become aware that some habits I've formed are not conducive in any way, shape or form to expanding my freelance markets. I've put together a list of the worst offenders to help others avoid my mistakes.
- Netflix is a fantastic substitute for cable. However, there are millions of hours' worth of TV shows and movies available instantly. Getting sucked into a show (or three or four) is easy, but extracting yourself is not. Start watching Supernatural at your own risk.
- Complacency is easy. There's something to be said for treating your current clients like gold -- it's absolutely necessary for a freelancer to succeed -- but it's another to stay within your boundaries because they're comfortable. Taking action will mean facing rejection and bouncing back, but just asking could lead to possibilities you'd only imagined. After reading mental_floss as a kid, I never thought I'd actually have a column on their website, but I do. It's more awesome than I could have imagined.
- Networking is a buzzword for a reason. Writing and freelancing do depend on your knowledge, but breaking into new markets is just as dependent on who you know as what you know. Until you reach out to your friends and acquaintances, you'll never know what opportunities their networks can offer.
- A personal blog can be a great way to put your thoughts out there for the Internet to judge, but it can also turn into a distraction from real, paying deadlines and important personal connections. Balance is key.
- Ignoring your limits is a great way to get yourself sick, overwhelmed and unable to function at all. Taking on too much work can seem like the perfect way to set yourself apart from the crowd, but it can also backfire -- hard. If you get exhausted and miss a deadline, it'll make an editor remember you in a way that can harmfully impact your personal brand.