Writing for me was an end in itself. But recently, all that changed. It became a means to an end, and then the struggle began. The struggle to write what made sense to me.
I’d drag my feet. Huff and puff. Procrastinate yet again, on finishing up that article. In other words writing became a chore, it transformed into a job and this affected my relationship with the craft.
You see, writing for money was an alien concept to me. Back then, I’d wake up and the first thing I’d do was to pick up my pen and write my heart out. It needn’t be anything powerful or mind-bending. It just had to be something I want to talk about. Maybe a dream I had. Or the way the ant crawled on the floor. Do you catch my drift?
Along Came Freelance Writing
The thought of getting paid to write wasn’t a thought I considered. I just didn’t think about it.
Not until a few well-meaning individuals showed me that I could get paid to write, and also enjoy the process. I signed up. Initially, everything was great.
The pay was decent, but then the drudgery took its toll. It became a chore. Thereafter, writing for myself and writing for the fun of it sort of took a backseat.
It had to be about the client, it’s always about the client. And I mean this in a good way. But it just had to be so, so.
The central theme became: follow the money, focus on a niche, land high-paying clients, deliver a stellar job, ask for a referral, rinse and repeat.
In case you didn’t notice, not everyone thrives in this type of arrangement. Some folks need a creative outlet, from the monotony of ‘freelance work’.
And I Started Writing For The Love of The Money
And you know what? It made me feel like a sellout. Silently, I began to loathe writing, I’d wish I didn’t have more clients to work with.
But I was already committed.
Because just like you; I also want more money. Heck, I love money. I want to travel to the beautiful island of Zanzibar, rent a cottage or something, pay off my debt, buy a new MacBook Pro, take my fiance on a stellar vacation, buy her a diamond earring, buy a house, the works.
But then, while I was pondering on these things, I had an Aha moment. I didn’t hate writing, I just hated the type of writing I did and the caliber of clients I worked with.
So, writing for the money is not such a bad thing. But in hindsight, it made me realize why sage after sage; always advised: don’t follow the money.
Follow your heart, and write for the love of it. Whether you got paid or not, is immaterial. The money is immaterial, it is the feeling it engenders, not that your writing should be governed by feelings, but you’ve got to transcend it, and hook unto the passion and the relationship that the craft invokes within you. Not the money you earn from it.
Don’t know if that makes sense to you, it might be foreign to your philosophy. But, you know what, I don’t care. Neither should you.
Write For The Love of You All I’m saying is this, find balance. In the midst of client work, if your heart yearns towards firing up your word Processor to rant, rail or write something creative, say fiction or a poem. Then just do it, give it an outlet. Write and write. Just write. But, write for you.
Write for the love of it. Write for the heck of it, someone else needn’t read it. And even if someone did read it. Then good luck to them.
Write it for you, let it help you recall what it used to feel like when there were no strings attached to your writing. Where it was just you and your words. Not the money your words bring.
Hopefully, it’d give you some peace, and maybe, just maybe, you’d find meaning again. So you can attack your client work with gusto.
Before I knew it, I started worrying about who would find my blog post interesting. I started concentrating on my niche, and how clients can see me as an ‘authority’. But then authority doesn’t come by ruthlessly chasing after it, authority comes as a byproduct of unattachedly doing something we love.
That’s what works for me.
I literally jumped out of the bed to write this. It’s been years since I felt that way.
So amidst a boatload of client work, make out time to write for yourself. Your soul would thank you. And your creativity would soar, besides it’d also make you feel good about yourself. You’ve still got it.