This year has been one of stark contrasts with some customer relationships ended, new ones begun and still other ones modified. Just as I’ve gotten used to one gig, another one ends or changes and the work to get new work begins.
I must say that 2012 has certainly tested my resolve, but I am not complaining. I thank God that I am able to work and that my hands and mind are cooperating. Somehow, I can form words and magically piece 500 or more of them together to write articles that are coherent, interesting and informative.
In October, one of my most significant clients of 2010 and 2011 contacted me about working for him again and I accepted his offer a few days later. In November, I wrote a half dozen articles for this client, with each one slowly reviewed. Immediately, I noticed that the entire work process had changed since our writing agreement suddenly came to and end in Sept. 2011.
That ending also began something new for me: a 14-month topsy-turvy period where new customers came and went with regularity. Although I wondered if this returning client wouldn’t once again suddenly stop sending me work, I decided that the gig was a good one especially as it allows me to write about my favorite topic: automobiles.
The learning curve with this gig has been one of the most significant ones that I have faced in 10 years of freelance writing. As before, the AP Stylebook must be consulted, but there are also variations on the theme such as in-house style preferences that trump even the mighty AP. The differences are not always apparent and can cause headaches such as changing AM/FM/CD to AM-FM-CD or 8-speaker audio system to eight-speaker audio system. Remember, numbers 10 and above use numbering while numbers nine and fewer are written out.
The biggest challenge is the research including for vehicles that are from the 1990s. There are still plenty of older cars on the road, but the amount of information online is limited as you go back through the 1990s. Fortunately, I have discovered that on Google Books, certain automotive and technical magazines have been photocopied. This came in handy when I needed to find spec information about the 1996 Toyota Avalon, a large sedan that had made its debut a year earlier. Limited source information was available, but the sites that had the best information were also blacklisted. That means no referencing of quality material from a competing site.
As I have slowly worked my way through the first articles, I have spent considerable time reading and deciphering editor notes, making replies and adjusting my content as needed. The work has been arduous and there have been times where I have asked myself, “Is this really worth it?” Then a voice in my head tells me that it is, given that what I learn here will help me with this client and my other clients too. I like to believe that this “voice” is speaking sense to me, otherwise I might have a touch of psychosis. I really hate when that happens!
As 2012 winds to a close, I know that there are many people still struggling, wondering whether freelancing is right for them. Down through the years I’ve had my own doubts, with those thoughts in greater frequency in recent years. I think that if there was an “ideal” job for me to take, I would. But, the so-called ideal seems wanting these days, therefore for the gigs that I am able to land, I am immensely grateful for the work and the chance to allow my writing skills to shine forth.