We do hope that you liked the first part of this article, if you haven’t had the chance to read it – check it out right here! But let’s proceed…
Having support for our freelance work in our own home is critical for our success as freelance writers.
Since families can find many grounds for complaint regarding your work choices, disarming them is a daunting challenge.
We examined some strategies recently for garnering such backing.
We discussed the advisability of preparing a sound bite summary of our work, delineating our work time, space, and identity clearly, and documenting the benefits of that work.
Let’s consider some other possible routes to at least a grudging acceptance of our chosen career path.
We are not alone! However, if the people we live with oppose our efforts, we have little chance of making it in this new freelance economy. How can we get these dear ones ‘on board’?
Join a professional organization. This will give you an identity to refer to, access to a reality check from other workers in similar circumstances, and perhaps even some benefits such as networking, or education. The Freelancers Union is an online group with national presence and credibility. It also offers advertises health insurance for paying members.
There may also be a local professional group such as one that meets regularly in the Philadelphia area. If there is such an entity in your locale, by all means participate, as long as such participation does not outrage your family’s norms and land you in more hot water. Be forewarned that most professional organizations, unless they have a gender-specific charter and name, such as the American Association of University Women, are mixed.
Write a sample of the sort of thing that you usually submit, and use it to show to your family. Of course, you cannot show actual client documents, nor should you even allow that idea to be discussed. However, if you duplicate the tone and overall approach of one of your previously produced documents using made-up names and titles, they should be able to get the general idea.
For example, if you have written SEO copy about a firm that sells virtual office help, you could create your sample by substituting the name of another, entirely fictitious, service, such as computer security. This will reassure them that what you are working on is respectable, and does not consist of spinning dirty stories for bored and lonely businesspersons. (Of course, if that is, in fact, your line of work, the challenge you confront in establishing credibility with your nearest and dearest is a bit beyond the scope of this blog post.) Such a sample document can also be a convenient calling card in obtaining new clients and new gigs.
If the objection of your loved ones to your working as a freelance writer has to do with your being visible to the world in a role that is not acceptable to your family, point out that your name is kept confidential. If you have a Facebook or other social media identity, make sure that it is gender neutral, and obfuscates and obscures your family, national and religious identity. Make sure that your family knows that your ‘public’ face cannot reflect on them negatively in any way.
Try to avoid impinging on obvious trigger points in the family schedule. While it appears shortsighted for a family member to object to work that coincides with dinnertime, the reaction is somewhat understandable. The choice between missing a deadline, on the one hand, and coming late to the dinner table, on the other, may seem obvious to a freelance writer, but the person who cooked the dinner, or the kids seated around the table, may have a very different view.
Of course, it is virtually impossible completely to prevent such occurrences. However, if you can honestly assert that you have foregone jobs with a deadline approaching your time of religious obligations, or over a family holiday weekend, you will gain points with the family.
In addition, inform your household when a deadline looms. This way, your disappearance into a writing trance does not come as a shock. Such sharing of information is courteous and considerate.
Additionally, you may not have considered how noisy a computer can be. Avoid criticism by never leaving your computer microphone turned up. Mute everything, and sign out of any program that dings when an update is available or alerts you in a loud mechanical voice that ‘you have mail’. Especially for the non-techies in the family, these disruptions can be hellish, particularly in the middle of the night. If this sounds like personal experience showing, draw your own conclusions!
Our family should be our support network, and our strength – use all your freelancer’s verbal skills and insight to make sure you secure this support.