It has been an intense week or two, and I have learned a lot – mostly, I have learned that I have so much to learn. And I earned $48. Not much, but it is a beginning. I have set my intention and begun the process of letting the Universe open doors for me. Of course, in the process I have neglected some of the other things I am responsible for in the thing called “life,” leading Darwin to ask whether I had followed up on queries for his singing gigs as I had promised… “Um, no, I forgot, I was focused on writing.”
That’s the thing about writing. “That” is that it is a very focused activity, where you bring words from seemingly nowhere to communicate your perspective, opinion, observation, experience, fantasy, or story. For my writing to be effective, I have to be digging inside myself, opening my heart, my mind, and my intuition, to allow the words to flow. I can forget to eat or to drink, and I certainly don’t know what time it is. I wonder if it is like that for other writers?
Then, what is this thing called, “SEO?” I discovered that search engine optimization (SEO) is important to everyone who want to hire a writer, an myself, I know next to nothing about it. I understand the concept of keywords, the “search” phrases that might lead a reader to the website hoping for traffic. And I can understand that some might be more enticing than others. “Freelancing,” for instance, might draw more people who would be interested in having me write for them than, say, “writing.” “Writing” is so generic as to be almost meaningless in a world populated by words. Beyond that, it gets very complicated. There is evidently software that can give you high-value keywords for anything, and the task of the writer is to write an interesting and creative piece using those keywords, to increase the chances of being found.
And, there is the matter of fees. One thing about freelancing is that it isn’t supposed to be, well, “free.” I blog, for free. Now I am trying to assess the value of my writing in the marketplace. The “free” in freelancing has to do with freedom I think, but when I see people willing to hire someone for $1.25 per page, that is not freedom for me, and I would rather write for free. When I wrote for PAXIS Institute, I was paid a salary. My employer complimented my writing, said I was the best writer he had ever hired. Still, faint praise when I decide to see what my writing another person’s story or perspective is worth to them.
Last night I had an epiphany. I had become so focused on the details of the process that I realized I was looking at so much information that my head hurt, but had forgotten to set my intention for my writing beyond the idea that it would generate income. How does this writing fit into my general purpose for being? I am a minister and a therapist, a mystic, a philosopher if you will. Do I really want to figure out how to help someone sell Bar-B-Qs? And I realize that, other than as an exercise in writing, actually, the answer is, actually “Not really.”
So the task for this weekend is to develop my vision for what kind of writing I want to do, how it will fit with my life’s purpose, and then to figure out who would value it enough to pay money for it. I think I realized that ideally, I would be writing content that helps people live more fully, more joyously, more effectively, and that I would really enjoy writing a weekly column somewhere.
This post is an example of another thing I know as a writer. Sometimes I write to know what I think, and then to reorganize it perhaps or use it to clarify my thinking…and to see it before me in letters on the page. It allows ideas to pop us too.
So, this freelancing is a journeying thing, and it is leading me to re-visit my purpose. Time now to see to some of the things I have been neglecting. Happy Saturday!