Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Drowning In Writers' Resources - What To Do With All That Content

Earlier, I was thinking about what I wanted to write about for this post. Sometimes, I surf the web for a bit, checking out different sites that focus on the topic of freelance writing. I may also look at some I have bookmarked. Either way, I sometimes get stumped. You know, the sheer number of websites dedicated to this topic is staggering to consider. Hundreds - maybe thousands - of websites are catering to writers at every stage of their careers.

There is just so much out there! If I look long enough, I feel like I'm drowning in writers' resources. It should be a comfort to know that so many freelance writers want to help fellow writers by providing plenty of valuable content and tools for securing new writing gigs. Yet, sometimes, it just isn't so great. Too much information. There are too many well-meaning writers out there trying to say the same things. Heck, even I can fall into that trap sometimes. The content is valuable either way if it provides a genuine solution(s) to a writer's problems - no matter how many times you stumble up on it while using the search engine.

This becomes a serious case of "information saturation." I am likening it to drowning for the obvious analogous imagery. (It is also helps, that I'm afraid of drowning.) You can choke on all of the finely-worded tips, lessons, and case studies. As a new writer, especially, this can be more of a curse than it is a blessing since you may get sucked into long hours of reading and re-reading the same things about writing that you've heard elsewhere. Perhaps, you, like me, would prefer to spend less time reading about writing and actually doing the writing.

Now, I'm not denigrating the place of education. After all, that is what many of these sites are holding out to new freelance writers. For me, that time is past, in many ways. My real concern is finding the sort of gigs that pay well and allow me to expand my portfolio as a freelancer. I shouldn't be picking over the meager offerings made available by so many ghostwriting jobs you find online. That's a personal choice that needs to be fleshed out into new actions.

What Do You Do?

Limit your resources. If you must refer to writers' resources, one of the best things you can do is limit how many you are actively reading and participating in. You only have so many hours in a day. (That is especially true for me since I have the two boys taking up the time too.) Pick your favorites and stop there.

Budget your time. Like I said, there's only so much time. You need to find a balanced way to approach the use of your resources so you do not start to sink under the weight of them. Writing must have a bigger priority than reading about the subject. You'll gain more by doing rather than hearing (or reading) about it. Writing is not a spectator sport. (Funny expression, but still true.) You must be fully engaged in creating schedules that keep you writing more than reading tips, tricks, or other writing resources.

Don't let resources discourage you. Now, it may not make sense at first, but think about it. The more you read about freelance writers, writing, and the efforts needed to secure work on a consistent basis, the more overwhelmed you may become. You could start doubting your whole decision to become a freelancer in the first place. We writers can have fragile egos. The more we know about our status in the larger writing world the less satisfied we feel. The bottom line: Just be careful with what you read.

In Closing...

These are just a few points I wanted to bring to you attention. What you will deal with on a personal level as a writer may vary somewhat. Just remember that you don't have to drown in all the help. Take a careful and balanced approach...and for heaven's sake, keep writing!

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