Don’t get me wrong, freelancing is great, and it has a lot of freedom to offer you. You get to work your own hours and choose what projects to take up and which ones to reject. But being a freelance writer can feel like being a chameleon especially when you are working with many clients, and each wants you to sound like them on paper.
I’m a Christian writer. I’ll get a client who comes and says they want me to put Bible verses on a separate line, another says they want me to use only one Bible version in one article. Another asks me to write a passionate blog post to reflect their passion. Not forgetting the one who wants an emotional and fluffy article. One client even asked me to rewrite a blog post by a famous Christian author. He instructed me to remove “believe in God” and put “believe in a higher power,” and make him sound great.
Some clients want you to write articles that sound like them, and others those that are emotional and capable of making the waterworks flow. For the life of me, I am more of a teaching writer than an inspirational or motivational one.
I have taken it all in stride, but I am feeling the fatigue and burnout of trying to be a writing chameleon. It’s like I have to change colour like a chameleon, depending on who’s around. It gets to the point where your head begins to spin and before you know it, burnout checks in.
I understand that every client has their style, and it only makes sense to write in a way that reflects their voice. But I always wonder, does it have to be this way?
I have tried to be specific with what I write about, but some believe that you are the best person to help them with their writing project. I gladly oblige – sometimes.
As I was watching a guy – he’s a potter – do his thing, he doesn’t make every clay item on the planet. He specializes in mugs that are super unique and beautiful. I then got thinking, am I being too general in my specific niche? Did I lose the plot somewhere along the way? Have I stayed in one spot for too long? Is it time to move on to something else? Am I just bored? Hmmm, I wonder.
One thing I know for sure is that I am putting my chameleon ways behind and embracing the uncharted territory ahead with a zoom-in camera for clarity. I have learnt that your starting point cannot be your resting place. When it is time to move to the next step, the current one begins to feel uncomfortable and strange. What once felt familiar becomes foreign.
I no longer look for many clients but a few with whom I can build a lasting relationship with and serve diligently. There is benefit in understanding a client’s business or ministry and looking for how you can support them with your gift of writing. God has not called you to serve everyone, but a particular group of people and their unique writing needs.
All the same, enjoy your freelancing days.