On Confidence and Age
How did I manage to completely miss posting even one time in December??
You all should know that I thought of you at Christmas. I did. Promise. But between my ghostwriting gig, the holidays, and getting knocked down HARD with the flu, I guess I just sort of skipped December. (I’m well now–thanks for asking.)
I’ve been working on setting goals for this year. Some of them were easy to figure out–evict the last eight pounds that have taken up apparently permanent residence around my midriff, get my run pace down under a nine-minute mile, keep up with the good habits I established last year, work toward consistently getting seven hours of sleep each night (because averaging five to six hours a night is not doing me any favors)… Some were a little more challenging, like some of my relationship and personal well-being goals (note to self: remembering to knit and read each day does not make you selfish).
And then there are the business goals…
Things sure have changed since my peak year in 2008. I introduced fiction into the mix; the jury is still out on whether that was wise. I’ve volunteered countless hours. My kids are older; one is out of the house, one more is driving, I’m completely done with grade school (thank GOD!) and almost done with middle school as a parent…
So the question now is… what’s next? What’s up for 2018? Where’s the focus?
I think it’s fair to say that the focus this year will be on the business writing. I would love to get back to where I was in 2008 or even better. From what I’ve seen other freelance writers doing, I think that’s very doable. So the number one priority is to find some repeat corporate clients and build a solid base.
But I’m finding myself somewhat stuck. I know how to get clients–I got clients before. But it’s the actually DOING that I’m struggling with. And I realized that a huge part of it is that I’m old.
Okay, I’m not OLD old.
But I’m 48. That feels old when I read the writing of people who are… not 48.
Language has shifted a lot in the last several years. I blame the Internet and the rise of the Millennials. I mean, language changes all the time. I know that. English is a remarkably adaptive language, and I’m not immune to new words. And I don’t think that every development of the last several years is a bad one.
But my word, what in the everloving heck is with all the linguistic weirdness? Made up words that are supposed to sound like real words… “lurve?” “amirite?” “rents” (as in “parents”)? All the swearing… I mean, I’m not a prude, and I have a deep and abiding love for a well-placed F-bomb, but honestly, it’s like reading a review of McDonald’s written by Gordon Ramsey. And for the love of all that’s holy, turn OFF the caps lock and use some full sentences. Good gravy.
I do like the trend toward more conversational writing. I think writing should be conversational. But am I wrong to think that English should sound like… well, English?
These are the people who are pulling down big bucks as freelancers. They write sales funnels and e-mail campaigns and all these other things that I don’t write, and they’re making it.
Which leads me to wonder if I’m just too damn old for this game.
I have zero desire to talk or write like a 20- or 30-something. I am steady and staid. The How to Fascinate profile test pegged me as the “Wise Owl”–observant, assured, and unruffled. I’m not a linguistic innovator, and I’ve never really been a trend follower. You won’t see me suddenly using “lurve” in conversation or in my writing.
This isn’t about being angry or jealous. It’s just about trying to figure out my place in this brave new world. How does a steady and staid corporate writer who doesn’t write sales funnels make it as a freelancer these days? And how do I sell myself in a world that seems like it’s moving on to fresher, cooler, jazzier, weirder writing?
It’s no secret to anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time that confidence is arguably my biggest issue. And when you mix up a lack of confidence with a heap of perfectionism and a dollop of introversion, you get kind of a soupy mess.
So I guess that’s what this week is about–going back to the beginning, figuring out what I have to offer clients, and reminding myself of certain things–that I’ve done this before, that the worst people can say is “no,” that I DO have a pretty good portfolio, that I just have to do what I’m responsible for and let others do what they’re responsible for.
This would be a lot easier if I were Wonder Woman.
Okay. This old-but-not-THAT-old lady is going to put on her work clothes and her lipstick and get stuff done.