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Let Someone Tell You What to Do

Updated: Jun 6, 2022

hand pointing

A long time ago, I used to be an editor in the magazine industry, which is funny because I seem to want to put all the words into a sentence when writing fiction, rather than edit them out. Since becoming a mother, I’ve focused on freelance writing work to keep my schedule limber during the grade school years. These projects are not at all sexy (although once I wrote someone’s marriage renewal vows!), consisting mostly of marketing articles, website copy, resumes, and real estate listings.

Don’t tell anyone—because I am always grateful for the opportunity to earn—but, sometimes I resent the time that freelance writing takes from my creative writing.

Writing may be one of the only jobs in the world where the workers wish they had more time to work!

In an effort to streamline the freelance process, I recently began contributing to a content brokerage. This has been an eye-opening opportunity to examine my superfluous word usage. The company has automated, precise guidelines for the written content it will purchase, and any deviation from those guidelines are deeply frowned upon (as in, you don’t get to contribute to them anymore).

chalkboard that says, Follow the Rules!

I did see Glassdoor reviews during my initial research of the company that were disgruntled by the rigidity of content expectations, but I sort of look at it in the same way that I approach writing micro and flash fiction:

In writing within stringent word count limits and themes, the writer must flex their talent in an uncomfortable way that could trigger a fresh influx of creativity.

I challenge my fellow writers to look for opportunities to write outside of their comfort zone by submitting short fiction to a literary journal or contest, or by churning out some listicles for pocket money, like me. Push through frustration to find something new that you can do and take pride in.

Let me know how it goes in the comments!

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