I’ve been at this free agent game long enough that I should know the routine this time of year. It’s prospecting time. Almost all of my activities are devoted to getting new things into the JBE pipeline.
I’ve been through November and December before, but it’s still a time that requires a measure of mental toughness. This yearly cycle of darkness, my seasonal job moonlighting several nights per week during the holiday season, and moments when I occasionally need to swat away the doubt devils requires vigilance and staying on task.
This year has been my most challenging one since embracing the life of a freelancer in 2012. On one hand, I completed the largest corporate project of my freelance/consulting career. It was a six month-long project requiring coordination and management of multiple moving parts. The final deliverables, including a video, were things I was proud of and I realized just how far I’ve come since I walked away from being a cubicle jockey at Moscow Mutual, back in January, 2004.
Being a working writer requires constant care of your chops. Over time, you begin to handle writing assignments that used to rattle you. Because I’m now able to handle a much wider variety of work than ever before, I’ve decided to put a few more of my eggs in the freelance writing basket in 2014. That means looking at topics that I want to write about and pitching articles to editors. I haven’t been a regular freelance writer since 2006. I’m a much better writer now than I was back then that’s for sure.
Recently, I ran across an ad mentioning opportunities to write articles for The Motley Fool. I’ve been a longtime fan of their no-nonsense style, offering investing tips and advice, so I thought, “why not?”
While I’m no whirlwind investor, I’ve learned a few things over the years and I know what I like and I know what I’m not so keen about. I’ll be writing about consumer goods and things like Yelp, of which I’m a fanboy. Here’s article #1 for The Motley Fool.
Apps like Yelp play right into the hands of someone like me who is comfortable with a DIY approach to reviewing food and other places that I frequent. I actually thought I might be able to parlay my reviews on Yelp into a food critic position with the Maine Sunday Telegram.
Maine’s statewide newspaper had advertised for a food critic as longtime reviewer, Nancy English was leaving. I tried to massage a few contacts and wrangle an interview. Unfortunately, a reviewer with much more experience reviewing food won out. Actually, I never even got an interview, so I guess I have a ways to go on the food reviewing front. Or perhaps the food reviewing that appears in the pages of that publication isn’t the best match for the more realistic reviews I’d be more inclined to write. I know food, and I care about it as something more than an exotic item in trendy recipes at trendier restaurants. No bitterness. Perhaps I can take a different angle on food as a writer and find alternate success doing so.
There are plenty of other things I could write about and that’s my plan right now, as I continue to prospect. I also believe having skills relative to storytelling, knowledge of what makes a narrative compelling, and having the savvy of a marketer may allow me into some new places. I’m actually quite interested in helping organizations and others tell their stories more effectively, and for some, figure out for the first time what that story might be.