Thursday, November 20, 2008

What's in a Name?

I've been noticing some confusion among people I meet when I explain to them that I'm a freelance writer. Yesterday, someone asked me if I just wrote articles and sent them to magazines hoping they'd publish them. After laughing internally, I politely explained that I was mostly interested in writing communications materials for businesses. I'm not making much money now, but I certainly wouldn't be making any if all I did was sitting around writing articles, hoping someone would publish them and pay me for them.

It made me think a lot about using the term "freelance writer" to describe myself. To me, it makes sense. "Freelance" means I'm working for myself and not tied down to any company. "Writer" describes the activity. However, it does seem that the phrase conjures up pictures of magazine articles in peoples' heads.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I can't or won't write magazine articles. In fact, I think I already mentioned that I'm working on an article for a local publication right now. It's just that's not the kind of writing I really want to focus on doing. In an ideal world, I'd have a few good business clients who would give me work on a long-term basis. It would be outstanding if they were from different industries so I could have varied experience, and I would enjoy a good mix of projects, both online and print.

But how do I communicate this to people when I only have a limited amount of time to talk? If I give them my card and they visit my site, they can read about all the services I provide, but what if they don't get that far? What if they don't make the connection that I can help them with their business? If I have a chance to explain what I do it helps, but what if I can only introduce myself?

I've toyed with the idea of using the phrase "freelance commercial writer." I've even used it a few times, but that seems to make people think I write commercials. "Business writer" is also an option, but to me that sounds like I want to write about business topics. That's not it, either.

If anyone is reading this blog, anyone at all, I wish they'd give me a few suggestions. For now, though, I'm just really thankful when someone follows up my declaration of being a freelance writer with the question "What kinds of things do you write?"

1 comment:

inasnit said...

Andrea Davis, Communications Specialist, self-employed.

Andrea Davis Communications.