Monday, April 10, 2017

WRITING TIPS- Surviving disappointments in five crucial ways.

In my work, the graph is never completely drawn. One thing could go wrong in a minute and that is the end of you. You are dealing with sensitive data and information that doesn’t belong to you and mishandling it can bring your ruin.

Last year, I came very close to losing one of my major clients. The one whose work ensures I can live in a house and afford water, electricity and this time it wasn’t even my fault. At least not 100% my fault. Things went kaboom. I lost cash, I was distabilised for a few months, it was just horrible.

 I can be slow and procrastinate a lot. But when it comes to the work that fuels my life. I will be up at 2a.m trying to resize those 3MB pictures I received, to have them ready a client  expecting pictures for an article. I will be on my desktop, feet wrapped in a blanket trying to proof read the article I just finished even though I can no longer make sense of the words on my screen.

But freelance work is also tricky in that, it involves a lot of people with different skills. Our jobs are dependent on another, and when one person fails to complete their task then the whole web is up in flames. I didn’t lose the client, partly due to many many prayers and asking God to help me out and shoveling my way out through sleepless nights trying to fix other things to appear relevant and being honest. I remember saying to my client at a meeting when questions were being fired at me.

 Questions I had no answers for. I simply said:
“Hata mimi nimeshindwa sasa, I don’t know what to do.”
But I picked up lessons that I will share with you, not that I have completely found a fool proof method, but these can help to cushion against disappointments in your freelance writing career.

Maintain a good record

Have you ever walked into an office, looked around and saw that every one was either on Facebook or on a betting site? On average, 80% of office workers spend a minimal average of 40% of their office work hours doing something totally unrelated affairs,  chatting and calling up their friends to arrange for a dinner after work. That’s okay. They still get a cheque at the end of the day.
My friend Bonnie tells me often, the internet is not just for mailing and social interactions. Let the internet work for you. 

As a freelance writer, it is very easy to spend time reading very 'life changing facts' on buzzfeed

There is  nothing wrong with that. But have you met your deadlines? True, you seem to work better under pressure, but this is not college my friend. This is real life. And ensuring that you get your work done will help you to maintain a track record of good performance. People will hear you out when you need to be heard.  Do your job, apologies are awkward.

Do the Dirty work

When I went into freelancing, my friend Ken gave me one very simple rule about freelancing.
He laughed
‘You need these guys more than they need you. So be ready to beg them when you have made a mistake, and provide fine work.’
I was up for the challenge, but I didn’t know how many times I would be required to use my bargaining skills. See, as a content writer, you have your own ideas, you have your own creativity, but your client has their own mind and their own ideas as well. The  crunch is how to merge that  to come up with something that works for both of you.

You will be asked to revise work, scrap work, wait for review when you are dying to put the work out there. You will need to dig for information, guess what people are not saying in interviews without misquoting them. You need to correct your errors too.

 My big one is the stupid typos. Gosh, sometimes I want to jump off a building when I look at something I posted on a site three days after, after three hours of editing just to find a typo in every paragraph.
But don’t be shy about it, you are not perfect. Say sorry and do it properly.  Even if it’s your third time.

Chill Out Man, just Chill.

It’s not life and death here. And most things can be fixed. Those that can’t we bury them in a shallow grave and pretend we donno what happened as we intently focus on the current work.
 Being anxious will stress you out and there is no way you can deal with clients when you are stressed out. You will both get migranes and hate each other.

When some work is stressing me out, I take time out to collect ideas for other  projects, read and do my research. It recharges the mind. But it doesn’t mean you go into hiding. You need to be seen…yeah, that I’m still working on. People need to know you are still breathing coz they could forget you.

Know your team

You cannot do everything, you need a team. As a content writer, people often ask me if I can make websites too. Someone will also ask you about marketing and videos. So know your people. The people you can call up on Saturday morning to tell them you need to present a job on Monday morning. These people will call you up at midday on Sunday to tell you to check you mail, job completed, exceeding your request.
I have a wonderful team this year.

 A video person, a graphic designer, a web designer and models.
Don’t be afraid to work with people you have not worked with before. And know what you want out of each project. Some people can guess what you need, but others need you to work with them every step.
I have also come to realise that people who have few or no recommendations work harder to prove their worth. If you can find a bunch of people who are trying to keep alive as you are through hard work. Then you will spare yourself the migraines we talked about.

Trust In God

The way I see it, most of the scrapes I have survived in my short life didn’t kill me because someone higher than me was making a way out for me. Don’t be afraid to involve God in your work affairs, after all when you get kicked out of your house he will be the one you’ll be crying to to please not let it rain tonight juu vitu zako zitanyeshewa hapo nje and the couch will never dry.

My friend Eva taught me how to layout a work plan and have a discussion about it with God. But it also means you have to work extra hard to give him something to bless.

I know I have used the phrase- to live, to survive, to keep breathing too many times here. But that’s what we are all trying to do. Unless you belong to the Lord Delamere clan, you gotta work to keep living.

No comments:

Post a Comment