6 Ways that Regular Writing Can Help All Freelancers
Many freelancers think that posts on writing are for the benefit of freelance journalists and copywriters alone. You can’t really blame them — if your trade is based on the excellent design you deliver or your skill as a programmer, then it might seem that the ability to piece words together in a pleasing and practical way isn’t necessary for you to master.
I’m a writer so my opinion might be biased, but many others in all sorts of trades and careers have discovered the value of the written word as a tool for relationship building, problem solving, and idea expression. You can learn to use the deceptively simple tool of writing to your advantage as well.
1. Generate Ideas
Where scribbling drawings on a piece of paper helps many people come up with ideas, including writers, writing can help you pick out ideas from the depths of your brain that can enhance or inspire a client project or even a marketing campaign for your freelance business. Since drawing and writing encourage you to brainstorm in completely different ways, the combination leads to ideas you’d never discover just using one method or the other.
2. Remember More of Your Tasks
As a freelancer there’s so much in a day to handle — invoicing, sales and marketing, project work, dealing with sub-contractors, and there’s also your non-work life to deal with too — the kids need to be fed and the shed needs to be fixed. It’s very easy to let things slip by accident. Regularly performing a mind sweep or mind dump helps you prevent this from happening. Basically you sit down and dump every bit of information you’re trying to hold and juggle in your head onto paper. You can then turn this into a task list or put it into your task management software and vastly reduce the chances you’re forgetting things left right and center.
3. Improve Your Wordsmithing
Writing regularly means you get better at it (hopefully!). Who cares, you might say? Well, most freelancers do a fair bit — or even 100%, as I did — of their work online, using email to communicate with clients. To be taken seriously as a professional and a businessperson, you need to have good written English, no matter how good you are at what you do. Practice often and avoid humiliation — you’d be surprised how many adults sound like preschoolers when communicating via email. Then again, maybe you wouldn’t be.
4. Extend Your Services
If you follow number three enough and get really good at writing — not just any writing, but compelling and entertaining writing — you might consider extending your services if the two are compatible. For instance, you might be a web designer — if you’re an excellent writer as well, you can provide design and copy packages.
Writing really is just as complicated a profession as design or development, so make sure to learn the ropes before going near this one!
5. Solve Problems
We all encounter perplexing problems from time to time that need to be solved before we can turn in our projects and get paid. Getting confused and frustrated over a problem can sometimes be the result of lack of information or the right tools for the job, but more often than not it’s because the frustration is preventing you from thinking in an objective, calm and calculated way. Use written words to map out your problem and get it solved in a more rational and linear way. Like number one, this works well in conjunction with visual problem solving methods such as diagram drawing.
6. Stress Less
You’d be amazed how getting your thoughts down in words can make you feel better about them. You can feel better about the sources of frustration in your life by ranting about them on paper, be it through a short story if you fancy yourself a storyteller or a diary if you’re a teenage girl (just kidding). Sure, it sounds corny as hell, but catharsis via literature is much cheaper than stress relief via therapist’s lounge.