July 4, 2012

Celebrating Independence Day

It seems fitting to discuss a few important habits that freelancing has freed me from on this celebration of America’s independence from Great Britain 236 years ago. When Bostonians beset with ire over Britain’s excessive taxation liberated tea from the ships that held it all those years ago, they threw off the mantle of taxation without representation and the threat of impinged civil liberties. When I unbuttoned the cloak of corporate copywriting to run naked through the streets of freelance writing two years ago, I freed myself from a few oppressive daily rituals that I am still celebrating freedom from today.

#1 – Endless Rounds of Edits
One of the true pleasures of freelancing is having (generally) one point of contact for each client. That translates into one approver of your writing, which is much better than the 8 editors that ritualistically reviewed every piece of content I provided my corporate employer. Heck, as a freelancer there’s no longer a need for me to spend corporate dollars attending tele-seminars on how to streamline review processes. Interestingly, I’ve since discovered what I already held to be true – that many approvers doesn’t improve the quality of the content; it just changes the numbers of commas in the final piece.

#2 – Micromanaged Schedules
My employer was better than most towards the end of my career with giving me a flexible schedule. The last few years I worked from home 90 percent of the time. Many of my still-chained corporate compatriots are held to rigid schedules that dictate when they must squeeze their creativity into.

#3 – Gray Walls
One of the most challenging aspects about churning out copy day in day out for a corporation is the often bland environments in which we are forced to find our creativity. I regularly concerted, brainstormed and crafted copy inside of small, gray-walled cubicles lit with flickering fluorescent lights. Taking a stroll to a nearby coffee shop to spark inspiration was a rare allowance. Writing from home, I can walk out to my backyard or drive to a coffee shop or take a walk while working out lines of copy anytime I want or need to.

These are just three of the reasons I wouldn’t trade my freelance writing career for a corporate job with paid benefits and a matching 401(k) for all the titles in the world. Happy Independence Day!


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