the walking writer

When I first opened this blog, I wanted to create a place where I could write about anything. I work as a writer, but I’m usually spending my days writing about subjects that aren’t all that interesting to me. One of the topics I’ve written many articles about is optimizing your blog. I think I had internalized a few too many messages from all those articles and it hampered my ability to write here. For example, I often strove to hit arbitrary text goals. Yes, writing a blog post that is 900 words will probably get you noticed by a search engine, but I’m tired of caring about that. Lately, I’ve felt myself feeling inspired by tumblrs and blogs that exist just as a creative extension of the writer.

So, going forward, my hope is to post more posts that will probably be shorter, more casual, more creative, and so on. I gave the blog a slight redesign to help eliminate some of the design quirks that were distracting me every time I visited the blog. It’s quite sparse and minimalist, but I think it fits my new goals.

This summer has been interesting. Usually, in the freelance writing world, summer is pretty dead, giving me more time to work on other work projects on my own. This year has been completely different, leaving me little time to try to work on this blog or much of anything else really. This picture from The Sims 4 captures my summer quite well, minus the bubblegum pink hair.

Writing Sim

Check out the shocked goldfish in the aquarium; I didn’t know fish could have such interesting facial expressions!

As I mentioned in the first post I wrote on this blog, the first blog post is usually the hardest to write. The first post you write after taking an unexpected absence is also pretty tough. In my case, however, this little blog is just a experiment and something to provide a few minutes of entertainment here and there. Thus, I don’t feel too bad about taking a break.

I admit that I sometimes suffer from writer’s block. If you do as well, you’ve probably read numerous lists of things that may or may not help you break through the block. I have my own list of things that actually does help:

  • Do something else. If forcing yourself to write is just making you frustrated, it’s time to do something else. Take a walk, watch a television show or play a video game.
  • Read. I find that reading the words of other writers is a great way to feel inspired. No, don’t steal, but allow yourself to absorb the words and feel the inspiration behind them.
  • Write something unrelated. If you’re working on an article for a client about pest control and struggling to hit the requested word count, write something else. Switching gears to an entirely different topic helps me unblock my brain.

I’ve been in the freelance world long enough to have weathered through a few holiday seasons.  Without fail, no matter what industry your freelance work is in, your work flow will probably slow down or completely stop during the holidays.  I haven’t written anything for my main source of work since before Christmas; it’s a situation that I’m used to and expect each year.

Without fail, forums dedicated to freelance work will flood with posts wondering about the end of freelance work forever.  Rest assured, it doesn’t mean that at all.  Freelance is a tricky beast; you never really have any certainly about securing future work.  Anxiety during slow times is understandable.  I think this underscores the importance of having a number of different ways to make money through freelance work.  For writing, as an example, you could work on creating a portfolio or posting entries on your own blog during a slow period.  Yes, you probably won’t get any immediate money for rent and bills, but eventually that work will probably pay off.

In a week or two, if history is any indication, things will pick back up at most freelance gigs.

This morning, I ended up on a Wikihow page describing how to complete a simple task using your computer.  My favorite part of the article was the silly pictures describing how to complete each basic step.  For example, to illustrate the concept of using your credit card to pay for something online, the picture showed a woman reaching into her purse to get out her credit card.  Another picture showed her using her phone to call a company.

Amazing!  I never would have figured that out without those pictures!

The pictures did at least add some humor to an otherwise useless and uninformative page.  Despite the lack of actual meaningful content, over 12,000 people have visited that particular page.  I wish these “how to” sites would insist on quality information instead of ensuring each page has way more pictures than it actually needs.