If you consider yourself to be a freelance writer, then how well you interact with others in our craft can go a long way toward advancing your career. Granted, there isn’t some sort of certification that says you are a writer in the first place, but if you are able to regularly develop a piece that is interesting, informative and persuasive, then a compelling argument can be made that you are, indeed, a writer.
I’ve been writing as a freelancer for about three years now, having spent the previous twelve years as a technical writer, web content writer and message board administrator. As I was making the transition to the world of freelance, I began to cross paths with a variety of writers ranging from the cooperative and friendly to the downright hostile.
For sanity’s sake (and to ensure that my career path would not divert into a gully) I have neatly categorized every writer I have ever encountered into one of three categories. Yes, there is some overlap especially in the middle category, but for the most part I have you pegged in one category only. Your job is to recognize who you are and to take the appropriate action to improve your ranking, if necessary.
Without further deliberation I offer the following color-coded categories for your inspection:
Colleague – We may not regularly write on the same subject matter, but I find you to be cooperative and I am not threatened by your success. You don’t constantly brag about your achievements especially if you landed an opportunity that we were both seeking. I would have no qualms forwarding job opportunities to you and I suspect you would be comfortable doing the same for me.
Competitor — We regularly cover the same topics and we often will submit bids to the same employer. I may not be completely confident that you wouldn’t stick it to me if you had the chance, but then again I’m not too worried about that happening in the first place — the pie is big enough for everyone to have their share no matter how that piece is obtained.
Adversary — You are threatened by my very existence and have taken pains to discourage me from writing in the first place. You think that your B.A. in Journalism trumps my B.S. in Business Administration and you would be correct on that point if I were to seek a position with your dying daily. Don’t worry, I’m not interested in dead tree media — I have too much going for me thanks to the internet!
So, there you have it — three compartments for my fellow freelance writers with a handful of people straddling two. I can’t imagine that there is anyone who regularly follows this blog being my adversary, but then after reading this article and leaving a snarky comment behind, I just may have to reconsider exactly where you stand.