The Two Schools of Writing Thought

As you might have guessed, I do a LOT of writing. Not only am I a freelance content writer and a ghostwriter for therapists and other busy professionals, I also write for fun! I have a blog called “Another World is Probable” that I post in every week and I wrote a novel! Some days I feel like a writing machine.

What’s my secret to writing so much? I blend together two writing philosophies: write on a schedule and write when you feel inspired.

psychologist ghostwriter

1. Writing on a Schedule

Some people say you can’t wait to be inspired to write something because then you’ll never sit down and write. Instead, treat writing like a job and write at a specified time every day or every week. Getting into a routine will clear the pipes and let you write a blogpost for a therapist or your submission to the Huffington Post.

There’s a quote that perhaps comes from William Faulkner, perhaps someone else (there’s not clear evidence supporting who said it) that goes:

“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.”

For some people that works. They create a schedule and stick to it. They’re more productive, they procrastinate less, and they’re able to be prolific. This is the tactic I use to write in “Another World is Probable.” I sit down to write those posts usually around noon on Sundays. I also more or less stick to a schedule when I ghostwrite blogs for therapists and other busy professionals. It may not be at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, but I write during my work day because, well, this is my job.

ghostwriter for therapists

2. Writing When You’re Inspired

There are other people who swear by writing when they’re inspired. When they’re in a flow, they just write and write and write. They’ll prewrite 10 blogposts and schedule them in advance, and then they no longer have to worry about what they’ll say and when. It’s called batch producing them.

The idea is that it’s quicker and easier to produce a blogpost (or whatever) if you’re already in that groove. If you’re already looking for images, look for several images that you can use later as well. If you’re already brainstorming ideas, keep brainstorming so you don’t have to pull an idea from thin air next week or next month. And if you already jot down key points as well as sources you’d like to cite, then when you’re doing the writing, it will be less work because you’re just “filling in” the details.

In this way, you’re harnessing your creative energy cycle and you’re focusing on one task at a time. Some people swear by batch producing because it frees up their time to work on other things when they feel like it. I also do some batch producing — I’ll have a day where all I do is write and then the next day I focus on editing.

therapist ghostwriter

3. In the End. . .

For me, what it all comes down is working with what’s there. If I’m too exhausted to write something new, if I can’t seem to use the right “they’re and their” (it happened!), then I know I shouldn’t be writing. If I’m that depleted, it’s better for me to do something else, like editing, because it uses a different part of my brain.

Everyone likes to say what you “should” do and the “best” way to do             , but in my opinion all that really matters is it working for you? If it does, awesome. If not, try something else. And if you find the whole writing process to be very stressful, that’s fine! Reach out to me — I’ll take the stress out of writing and whether I’m writing on a schedule or batch producing, you can count on me to get the job done.

You Can Say No

In December, someone I went to high school with sent an email with lessons she learned in 2020. One of them was, “You can say no to work.” She explained that if a business proposal doesn’t excite her, if the project doesn’t grab her right away, she learned the entire project will be a drag. That she won’t want to do the work and it will be like pulling teeth to complete the project.

OK, she didn’t say it would be like pulling teeth, but I’ve noticed that for myself. As a freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter, there’s a part of me that feels obligated to say yes to everything. I don’t have the luxury of a steady paycheck from someone else and if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. That means there’s a bit of scarcity where I want to make as much money as I can just in case it all disappears next week. If we’re using metaphors, I’m worried the well will run dry.

freelance ghostwriter for therapists
It’s a *wishing* well! I love this picture. Photo by Abigail Low on Unsplash.

What my classmate reminded me is how saying yes to everything doesn’t serve anyone. I won’t produce my best work and the client won’t be as happy as they could because I didn’t go above and beyond. In fact, me saying yes to everything is how everyone loses. Just because a freelance content writing project comes my way doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right fit for me. The subject matter might be boring, or the turnaround time too tight. If I don’t like the initial proposal, I won’t like the concluding project.

Somebody out there would be thrilled to write about widgets so it’s better for me to turn down the projects that don’t light me on fire. Saying “no” to a project means someone else can say “yes” to it. Similarly, saying “no” to a ghostwriting project means I can say “yes” to another one that comes my way. I love writing about psychology topics. I could talk your ear off discussing internal family systems or the ingredients necessary to maintain desire in long-term relationships. Writing blogs and articles on topics such as those are fun for me. The migration patterns of hunter/gatherers in ancient Mesopotamia? Not so much.

freelance writer for therapists
Owls are great hunters! And they also lived in ancient Mesopotamia. =) Photo by Keith Lazarus on Unsplash

There’s something freeing about hearing another small business owner say she turns down work if it doesn’t excite her. I mean, at least it felt that way to me and that’s why I’m writing a blog about it. I truly believe work doesn’t have to be drudgery — yes, every business has aspects that are unpleasant, but fundamentally I struck out on my own because I wanted to enjoy my work. I wanted to pick and choose which content writing and ghostwriting gigs I said yes to. If I feel desperate and say yes to projects that sounds boring, I’m not staying true to my original purpose in starting my own business. I know sometimes people don’t have the luxury of saying “no” to work, but then again I think it comes back to having faith, like I wrote about last month.

It means having faith the universe will deliver the right clients at the right time. But it’s also having faith that I can market and hustle to find the sort of clients that I want to work with. The sorts of projects that are fun to work on. Those are the people to say yes to because otherwise I’m trying to be all things to all people, which is a recipe for failure. In order to succeed, I must be willing to say no.

I just wrote a post about saying “no” but I’m also saying “yes,” perhaps to you. Are you looking for a freelance content writer or freelance ghostwriter? If you’re a therapist or an alternative health practitioner, I’d love to talk to you. (But I’m also open to other professions.) Reach out today

Having a Business Requires Faith

When I first started my business as a freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter, I had no idea it would be such an exercise in faith on pretty much every level.

I’ve worked as a freelance journalist since 2013 but didn’t want to commit to it full time because it seemed so scary. “What? My income will fluctuate? I won’t necessarily have a steady paycheck? Pass!” But then I found myself walking down this path anyway. I felt guided to becoming a freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter so I took the plunge.

therapist ghostwriter

I didn’t anticipate it would go so well. I’m not going to lie, the first few months were difficult, but I’ve been more successful than I imagined. I’m thrilled about that, but what pleases me even more is that my clients are so appreciative of our work together. It feels wonderful knowing my clients are seeing results in terms of page views, new patients, and comments on their websites. As you can read on my testimonials page, a client even said one of the best things about 2020 has been working with me! What a compliment!

However, despite the praise, I still feel nervous at any moment one of my clients will say, “It’s been fun but. . .” and decide to end our working relationship. I think that’s a reasonable fear. That happens all the time in the business world. My first reaction is to say, “Oh no! Now I’ll be starving in the street!” (For the record, that won’t happen because even if all my clients became incommunicado right this moment, I have savings.) It’s important for me to soothe the scared part and practice faith. Faith that another a client will come. Faith that the people I’m meant to work with will appear. It’s hard because as you likely know, the definition of faith is belief without proof.

ghostwriter for therapists

The only evidence I have that the people I’m meant to work with will appear is that it’s happened already. I’ve had clients show up magically from the internet, but also from referrals or within my wider social circles. It’s happened before and thus I’m choosing to believe it can and while happen again. Faith is a choice, and to quote American author D. Elton Trueblood, “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.”

I love that definition because I think it speaks to the essence of faith. The confidence a person has either in something greater than themselves, or in their own abilities. Because key to a successful business is believing you can do what you set out to do. For me, that means believing I’m a good writer. Believing other people benefit from working with me. Believing I offer a valuable service that people want to pay for. Having your own business requires so much self-confidence!

ghostwriter for psychologists

Truly, what put me over the edge in terms of starting my own business was finally believing I could have one. When I first started out, I tested the waters  by asking chiropractors and therapists if they’d even want what I was offering. There’s no use starting a business if the demand for it doesn’t exist. When they said, “Yes, I’d pay for that,” suddenly everything seemed more possible. I already knew I could write — being employed as a professional journalist since I graduated from college assured me of that. But hearing that people wanted a freelance content writer or a freelance ghostwriter flipped a switch in my brain. Still, there are days I’m plagued with doubts, which is again why I have to keep practicing faith. Who knew that would be a key ingredient to having a business?!?

If you’d like writing assistance — whether that’s content writing or ghostwriting — reach out to me. I’m here. 

The Importance of Patience

In my last post, I talked about how business can be like the moon in that it ebbs and flows. Related to that concept is patience because patience is required during the ebb periods, at least for me. And as much as I’d like to say patience comes easily for me, it does not. I forever want things on my timeline. And usually I want that thing yesterday. “You want me to wait? For an unknown length of time for something I really, really want?” That’s my version of hell.

However, waiting is also a fact of life. That’s what it means to live in this 3D physical world. Seeds take time to sprout. Babies take time to grow. And less tangible things like a business also have their own timeline.

freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter

As an Oakland freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter, I spend a lot of my day waiting. Waiting for a blog topic. Waiting for revisions. Waiting for an email or a phone call. And yet, even though it doesn’t move at the speed I prefer, everything gets done.

As Lao Tzu says, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” That’s true in business as well. If something isn’t happening yet, maybe it’s not supposed to happen yet. I can’t tell you how many times the universe just seems to know when I’m available for a new client and when I’m not. For instance, just this week an editor reached out to me and asked if I was available for a journalism writing assignment and I was. If he’d asked last week, the answer would have been no. That may seem like nothing to other people, but for me, I view that as something magical and mysterious.

freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter

It may seem strange for me to quote from Richard Tarnas‘ book Cosmos and Psyche here but I think it’s relevant. He posits two ways of grappling with the universe and uses the analogy of two suitors to explain them. In the first approach, the suitor treats the universe as if it has no intelligence and is something to be exploited for his own gain. In the second, the suitor seeks to know you (the universe):

“[N]ot that he might better exploit you, but rather to unite with you and thereby bring forth something new, a creative synthesis emerging from both of your depths. He desires to liberate that which has been hidden by the separation between knower and known. His ultimate goal of knowledge is not increased mastery, prediction, and control, but rather a more richly responsive and empowered participation in a co-creative unfolding of new realities. He seeks an intellectual fulfillment that is intimately linked with imaginative vision, moral transformation, empathic understanding, aesthetic delight. His act of knowledge is essentially an act of love and intelligence combined, of wonder as well as discernment, of opening to a process of mutual discovery.”

freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter

Because I hold the second view and not the first, that means I do believe the universe has my back, is conspiring for me so that we can create something new together. It means, yeah, there is a cosmic air traffic controller of sorts that  knows when I’m busy and when I’m not. So that also means things happen — like signing a new client or getting a book published — when I’m most ready for them.

I think about something Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, said regarding the runaway success of that book. She said she’s grateful it happened on her fourth and not her first book.

“And that I was nearly 40 not 22,” she said in an interview with the Guardian. “That I had a solid relationship. I’m really happy that it happened after my nervous breakdown, not before it.”

Meaning perhaps things would have been much harder for her had she achieved name and fame at an earlier age. That she would have endured more scrutiny or developed an eating disorder or something like that. Patience means we allow things to unfold naturally with the understanding that everything we need will automatically come our way at the perfect moment, to paraphrase Indian spiritual master Shirdi Sai Baba. And that includes things in the business world.

How Business Can Be Like the Moon

I’ve worked in the news industry — both as a freelance journalist and a staff writer — for the past 14 years. One of the things that’s unique in the journalism world is deadlines are sacrosanct. This is for numerous reasons. For one, news is fast moving so if you don’t publish as soon as possible, it’s likely some update will have occurred and you’ll have missed writing about it. (One only has to think about COVID-19 for this to make sense.) If your competitor has written about the topic and you haven’t, you look incompetent.

The second reason deadlines are sacred harkens back to newspaper days before everything became digital. Newspaper editors set aside space in the layout of the paper for a specific story. They assigned writers a certain number of words, or more commonly, inches. If the writer failed to deliver there would literally be empty space in the paper, unless people could scramble and find something else.

Oakland freelance content writer

These days with digital there’s more fluidity, but even still, if a writer misses a deadline it often means their story just won’t get published. Maybe ever. One of the things I’ve found most challenging about running my own business as an Oakland freelance ghostwriter and freelance content writer is not everyone has the same view of deadlines that I do. They view deadlines as guideposts, as something to shoot for, but totally fine if they blow past.

What that means for me is I frequently have weeks that are jampacked, they’re a flurry of activity, and then that all stops. Work dwindles to a trickle and I have almost nothing going on. My business waxes and wanes like the moon. At first, I found that unsettling and missed the constant flow that characterizes the journalism industry. But then I realized it’s fine. That as spiritual teacher Tosha Silver often says, “All delays are beneficial.” And also that each period of pause is followed by a period of speed. Moreover, sometimes the pause, the break, is just what’s needed to gain momentum before leaping forward. If you think about a rocket, it builds up heat and pressure before launching into space. I think people, and business, are the same way.

Oakland content writer

We often denigrate periods of rest because in the West we lionize productivity, but what if like the moon, we wax and wane? And because business is made up of people, it does the same?

I’m not going to lie, there are days where I wish people valued deadlines as much as I did, but there are also days that I relish the decreased pressure. Days where instead of homing in on my computer screen I can take the time to gaze out the window and notice my plants waving in the wind. Or appreciate the flock of birds flying by. When you’re constantly stressed and have your nose to the grindstone, it’s harder to take time to notice the little things. At least that’s the case for me. So perhaps if a business is like the moon, it’s more sustainable in the long run.

Do you need help showcasing your unique skillset, or what makes your business special? Are you looking for someone to take the pressure off of writing? If so, contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

Go Your Own Way

I have to admit, when I hear “Go your own way” I immediately start singing the Fleetwood Mac song. Not that this post is about being in love with someone who wants to avoid emotional intimacy. No, this post is quite literally about going your own way, or marching to the beat of your own drum, or taking the road less traveled, or any of the other often-quoted idioms we use when describing someone doing their own thing.

freelance content writer oakland ca

What’s interesting about me is even though I LOVE to follow rules (structure! order! routine!), I’m an outlier in many respects. I’ve never intentionally eaten meat in my entire life, I’m highly sensitive to stimuli, and whenever a medication says 3% of people will experience XYZ symptoms, I’m usually in that 3%. However, I’m also a goody two shoes. If a cashier gives me too much change, I will return it. If quiet hours start at 10 p.m., I have my headphones plugged in at 9:59. If there are rules to follow, I’m likely following them.

Both of these dynamics — following rules and being my own person — also play out in business.  I want to follow in the footsteps of someone else, to do what they do. If someone tells me I have to do X to be successful, by golly, I’ll do X. I follow their instructions to a T and then much to my dismay, I’ve noticed I fall flat on my face over and over again because what works for other people doesn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong — some things like hard work and consistency are universal and are required for the success of anything, not only business. However, copying the more variable, subjective things, like someone else’s program, or their marketing strategy, do not work for me. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent on various courses telling me the best way to do whatever, only to have those courses accomplish exactly zip for me.

I keep thinking about the company behind the game Cards Against Humanity. In 2013, instead of lowering their prices for Black Friday, they raised them by $5 and sales improved!

Oakland ca freelance content writer

“Anyone can do a sale for Black Friday, but nobody but us could get away with raising their prices and risking a ton of sales just to make a joke,” Cards Against Humanity co-founder Max Temkin wrote on his blog.

That story has stuck with me for the ensuing seven years because it’s so counter-intuitive. Who would have thought completely going against norms (i.e., having lower prices on Black Friday) would actually generate even more sales?

I realize I’m still a newbie at having my own freelance content writing and ghostwriting business, but there’s something comforting about knowing a person can flout conventional wisdom and still be successful. There’s something comforting about knowing I don’t have to run my business (or my life, for that matter) just like everyone else in order to have the things I crave: financial stability, ease, peace of mind, and purpose. And in fact, the more I go my own way, the more I’m true to myself and what works best for me, the more successful I am. How about that?

How to Take a Vacation as a Solopreneur

I’m one of those people who finds it hard to rest. I’m much more comfortable being busy and juggling multiple tasks. When I have downtime, I find myself becoming bored easily. However, I know breaks, and a vacation, are crucial to avoid burnout.

As an Oakland, CA, freelance content writer and ghostwriter, I’m a one-woman show. I don’t have a boss or any employees to pick up the slack if I’m out of the office. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. All of that makes it much more challenging for me to take a proper vacation. Sure I can goof off here and there for a few hours, but taking a few days off? Or a week? Is it even possible?

content writer oakland ca

When I consulted the great Oracle (aka, Google), I learned there are several methods solopreneurs use to take vacations. Some people use the method I’ve been employing, which is goof off for a few hours but still work every day. Instead of working from home though, they’ll work from the beach or their parents’ house. For true vacations? That takes preparation. Read below for five tips on how to take a vacation as a solopreneur.

1.) Tell your clients about your vacation plans

To unplug completely, you have to let your clients know you’ll be unavailable. If you take off and become AWOL, that’s the fast track to losing your clients. Let them know in advance when you’ll be out of town so they are prepared. If you can, submit your work to them early so it’s finished before you become incommunicado. This works for some clients but not others.

In addition to working as a freelance content writer and ghostwriter, I also work as a freelance journalist (yes, I wear many hats). For certain journalism gigs, I can’t get all my work done early because sometimes I’m required to write day-of news pieces. If I’m not around, I obviously can’t write those articles, and instead I miss out on that income. What to do about that? Read on.

Bay Area content writer

2.) Create a vacation fund

At this point I’ve accepted the fact that sometimes going on vacation means I will lose money (certain journalism gigs are a case in point). However, I know vacations are crucial for my mental health so the best thing I can do to take care of my present and future selves is create a vacation fund. Even if it’s only a little bit every month, setting aside money in the bank specifically for vacations eases some of my stress because I remind myself, “You saved for this. That’s what this money is for.”

Also the reality is I’m worth more than money. I know that can be hard to embrace when money is tight and bills are overdue, but it’s true. At the end of the day, I, you, we, are priceless and taking a vacation is one of the ways we demonstrate that to ourselves. We matter and our mental health matters. Vacations are a great way to rejuvenate, even when it means losing income because once we come back, we are refreshed and ready to work. (And maybe we’ll land new clients because we have more energy to put into hustling!)

Bay Area content writer

3.) Keep your “head” in the clouds

You can perhaps guess what I’m getting at here with my attempt at a play on words. Don’t keep your head in the clouds because footwork is required for dreams to come true, but do keep almost everything else in the cloud. Use Google Drive, Dropbox, icloud, whatever, to store templates, instructions regarding clients, contracts, that sort of thing. That way in case you go “full on vacation mode” and leave your laptop at home, you’ll still be able to access important documents via your phone or tablet — just in case of emergencies.

Hopefully one of your clients won’t ring you in a panic asking for something, but just in case, you want to be prepared. Part of the reason people hire small businesses (include sole proprietors) is the personal touch. Being able to talk on the phone to a real person should problems arise is crucial, and that means while on vacation too!

ghostwriter bay area

4.) Automate what you can

I just mentioned it’s important to remain accessible for crisis situations, but at the same time, automate what you can. Maybe that means running a vacation responder on your email. Perhaps it’s signing up with a system that will automate your invoices so you don’t have to think about them. Maybe “automation” really means using a virtual assistant.

A virtual assistant is a person who can post to social media on your behalf, read through your email and flag any important messages, as well as answer calls for you. If you want someone to keep an eye on your business while you’re out of the office, a virtual assistant is a great way to go.

hire a writer

5.) Ask for help

Last but not least, you can also ask for help from someone you trust. In my case, asking for help would mean contacting another content writer or ghostwriter and asking them to cover for me by writing blogposts that I can’t write in advance. The advantage of asking for help is you still receive some money (I’m fair-minded and that means paying people for their work), and your business doesn’t have to shut down while you’re on vacation. However, asking for help in this situation is risky because the person must be someone you trust. Will they write as well as you? Will they try to steal your clients? All fair questions.

What about you? Do you have any tips for going on vacation as a solopreneur? Tell me in the comments below. 

Maybe You’re Blue Because. . .

What’s funny about life right now is I’m bored despite having have plenty to do. My days are filled with content writing, ghostwriting, interviewing, researching. I also have free time to watch Netflix, read books, and talk on the phone. In the evenings I’m on Zoom calls, taking yoga classes, and meditating with friends. But somehow I still feel listless. How can that be?

I’ve discovered it’s because I have to ensure my weeks contain certain activities, otherwise I become sulky and bluesy. I’ve learned I have to do the things that make me come alive. In this instance, my days are lacking storytelling.

Oakland freelance writer

It’s likely obvious by now that I love to write. I’m an Oakland freelance writer with clients all over the country (and I’m open to international clients as well!). I write for therapists, for homeopaths, chiropractors, and busy professionals. I write about linking somatic techniques with talk therapy. I write about using MRI to detect breast cancer. I write about the role of feelings at the office. All of that writing is fulfilling in various ways but what I’m not writing enough of are feature articles.

Feature articles are profiles, interviews, and stories. If you’ve ever read an interview with a celebrity, that’s a feature article. I love feature articles (both reading and writing them) because they’re fun. They involve interviewing someone else (or multiple someones) and crafting a story from that information.

I’m at the point now where I recognize I have to write feature articles even if I’m not getting paid for them just because I love doing it. I notice my basic needs can be met and the days will still stretch endlessly because something important is missing. I’m doing some of the things that bring me joy, but not all of them. In this instance, it’s storytelling. I have one client I’m doing that for, but it’s not enough. (Are you a homeopath, chiropractor, or some other professional looking to drum up business? Contact me about writing features for you.) It’s not only about offering that service to someone else, it’s also because it brings me joy. However, the other writing brings me joy as well! I couldn’t drop any of the kinds of writing I’m doing because they all meet different needs.

Oakland, CA content writer

People often say to have a niche when it comes to business. To focus on one thing and do it well. It’s good advice but I’m unhappy if I only do one sort of writing. I’m more a “variety is the spice of life” gal. No variety equals boredom for me and that boredom can turn into depression. I’d like to avoid that if I can. So what do I do? All the writing! I know I’ve only been in business as an Oakland freelance content writer and ghostwriter for a short time, but so far writing about a lot of different things in various ways is working for me. Time will tell if it continues to work, but so far so good!

What about you? Do you focus on one niche or do you cast a wider net? Tell me in the comments below. And again, if you’re looking for a freelance content writer or ghostwriter, let’s chat to see if we’re a good fit.

How You Contribute Has Value

A version of this post originally appeared on my blog Another World is Probable. 

About a month ago I wrote a post about being the kind of people we want others to be. I mentioned the peace prayer, which is often mistakenly called the St. Francis prayer. I linked to a couple of stories of ex-KKK members who changed their ways based on relationships with people they used to hate.

After I wrote the post, I started to question the value of what I do, of how I help others. Does it really make a difference that I’m a freelance content writer? Am I changing anyone’s life in a deep and profound way by leading a group meditation on Sundays? Would I make more of an impact by befriending someone who is in the KKK and supporting their exit from the Klan?

freelance content writer

Literally within a few hours of thinking those thoughts I was zoombombed by neo-Nazis at the group meditation I lead. They started scribbling swastikas over my screen. They asked how many Jews we’ve killed and did whatever they could to disrupt the meeting before my co-moderator and I ejected them. (Since then we’ve tightened security measures at the meeting to keep incidents like that from happening again.)

After I calmed down, I started to laugh. It was as if the universe said to me, “Really? Are you sure you want to befriend neo-Nazis? Are you sure the form of service you provide isn’t worthwhile?” The universe answered my question very quickly and validated for me, yes, this is what my gifts are, and yes, they are needed.

I bring this up because I’ve had conversations with several people – both White and Black – who have lots of feelings about not being on the streets protesting the treatment of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). There’s a feeling they “should” be and maybe some guilt that they aren’t. I get it because I feel that way too. I want to support BIPOC. I want them to know I’m not OK with how they are treated and protesting is one way to demonstrate that. However, my nervous system cannot handle large crowds. I start to panic when I’m in large groups which is why I never attend concerts or sports games at large stadiums. Even going to a shopping mall wipes me out.

Freelance content writer

Recently I went to a small protest near my house but there is no way I can be in a throng of people. When I think about my zoombombing experience, I realize that’s OK. Everyone has different gifts and different abilities. We are all special in our own way and however we’re choosing to show up in the world is valid. A symphony orchestra requires numerous instruments to create beautiful music. Humanity is like that symphony – we can’t all be the cello.

If you think about it, that’s true in nature as well. Diversity is the law of nature and that means we’re all needed. The way that I contribute to Black Lives Matter is important. And so is the way you contribute.

As a freelance content writer I haven’t written anything award-winning, but that doesn’t mean the stuff I write is garbage. And in fact, I’ve written many posts for clients about racism and being a good ally. I don’t have a huge following, but I still have influence. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we’re not doing that we forget about what we are doing. And what we are doing matters, it has value. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, including yourself.

Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the expression, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” If I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me, I’d have enough money to pay my rent, at the very least. (I live in the San Francisco Bay Area so rent ain’t cheap, for the record.)

When I was younger, I took it as a guarantee that pursuing my heart’s desire would earn me money. I started blogging, I wrote a memoir, I launched a publishing company — all things I loved — but the money did not flow in. I felt resentful because wasn’t this a promise? Do what you love and the money is supposed to follow! But it didn’t.

Freelance content writer

Now years later I recognize the two aren’t necessarily tied together. The dream of course is to make money doing something you love, but it could very well be that you do something you love and the money comes from somewhere else.

Did you know at least back in 2017 the author Ted Chiang worked as a technical writer? This is someone who has won numerous literary awards, had a short story turned into a movie starring Amy Adams (Arrival), and teaches workshops on science fiction. But writing fiction is not how he made a living at that time.

In an interview with the sci-fi magazine Interzone, Chiang said, “I don’t get that many ideas for stories. If I had more ideas, I would write them, but unfortunately they only come at long intervals. I’m probably best described as an occasional writer.”

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He also told an interviewer, “I don’t want to try to force myself to write novels in order to make a living. I’m perfectly happy writing short stories at my own pace.”

I find that incredible. Someone as successful and well-known as Ted Chiang doesn’t try to make a living with his creative work and instead allows money to flow in from technical writing. That’s pretty much exactly counter to what I would have predicted, and also goes against conventional wisdom in a capitalistic culture. If you have a gift, monetize it and make it how you support yourself!

Chiang reminds me there’s another way to be, which I’m finding to be true for myself as well. Money doesn’t have to be tied directly to what I love doing. I’ve received money from focus groups, from random donations, from out-of-the-blue assignments. Money can come from anywhere, from everywhere, and that I think is really what’s meant by “Do what you love and the money will follow.” There’s something about contributing to the world in a way that makes a person come alive that seems to gets rewarded by the universe. And not necessarily in a tit-for-tat way. Some of the work I do is for free, but I’m still getting paid in other ways, through other avenues like freelancing for news publications.

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I guess what I’m saying is I find value in being open, in knowing the universe can provide in magical ways. And also that my art doesn’t have to support my life. It’s perfectly acceptable to be like Ted Chiang and let stories come when and how they will without the pressure of making a buck from them. Same thing in my business — I write for busy professionals and I tell stories of transformation because I love it, but the bulk of my money right now comes from freelance work for news publications. And that’s OK. I’m doing what I love and the money is following, just not how I thought it would.

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