Pablo Casals was a renowned cellist who once emphasized the vital impact of daily practice on the instrument’s “feel.” He remarked that skipping even one day of practice made a noticeable difference, not just to him but also to his close friends and eventually to the whole world. This insight aligns with the experience of a physicist who, also a violinist, wrapped his violin in green felt, clamped it in a vise, and observed its molecular surface under an electron microscope. The experiment demonstrated the lasting effects of daily play on the instrument. This finding reinforces that musical instruments need regular attention to maintain their resonance. I love this idea because it extends to writers (me) who find daily pen-to-paper engagement breathes life into ideas. So, just as Casals felt the difference in his cello after a day of neglect, I, too, can tell if I go a day or two or three without practicing putting pen-to-paper. The example highlights the power of consistent practice in any (creative) endeavor.
“The meaning of your communication is the response you get.”
I love this quote and want to unpack it to explain what I do as a freelancer.
But first, I’m happy to report that by all measures, I have reached my goals for what I set out to do almost a year ago. My hours are full; I’m working with clients and creating a second income stream.
Recently, someone asked me what I do.
In a nutshell, I’m contracted for my ability to write, but this gig is mostly about marketing.
Which brings me to the quote, “The meaning of your communication is the response you get.”
This is the essence of marketing and what owners, marketing teams, and agents of change seek my services for.
No matter your intention, the effectiveness of your messaging (i.e., marketing) is measured by the reaction it spurs in the audience you seek to address.
This applies to all varieties of personal and professional communication.
In marketing, I’m referring to content (written, video, audio) that resonates with a tribe or community by aligning with worldviews, embracing and elevating the unique aspects of a product or service, and ensuring that it’s remarkable and worth talking about.
Side note: I mine for stories to create this remarkable communication in every instance.
So storytelling is a big part of it. Another word I like to use for this is “affinity.”
Remarkable communication creates affinity, which helps build an audience that can fall in love with what is on offer.
That is the in-demand skill across the web these days. It’s what I seek to accomplish as a freelance writer, and it’s my response when people ask me what I do.
I get paid for the response my communication generates.
Next update, I would like to tell you about marketing funnels.
I’m still going strong with my freelance writing and marketing “side hustle,” juggling three clients while keeping up with my greenhouse day job and my kids’ ever-expanding lives. Life is hectic but fulfilling, and I’m genuinely grateful for it all.
I’m ready to take on a new -related- project: documenting my journey to healthy living. Specifically, I want to empower middle-aged men to conquer their challenges and embrace a transformative next chapter. Why this focus? Well, because at 47, I’m living it too!
I see immense potential in this niche as a freelance writer and marketer. So, I’m diving headfirst into creating valuable content in this space. Why? Firstly, it’s deeply relevant to my own life. Secondly, I want to connect with and support others on a similar path. And thirdly, I’m eager to attract high-profile brands to collaborate with on freelance projects.
I’m nine months into this freelancing adventure and couldn’t be prouder of my work. But to reach new heights, I need to go from being a “wandering generality” to a “meaningful specific.” I’m taking myself on as a client in the “longevity at midlife” niche to attract more clients from the health industry. Plus, showcasing my expertise through this project will boost my reputation and keep me in high demand.
So, here’s to embracing the journey and making a meaningful impact!
Where to start?
I’m now diving into the new Threads platform to expand my network. I aim to make a post or two daily and “find the others.” If you’re interested in what I might say about the challenges we middle-aged men must confront and overcome, give me a follow. More will come, but this is my small way to start.
Follow me here –> https://email@example.com
Keep it brief if you’re writing for people you don’t know.
Use pictures, tone, design, and explain your point step by step.
If you’re writing for coworkers, colleagues, peers in the same profession, make it strong and specific. Make it robust.
Be clear. Be exact. Be smart, and make sure everything is clear.
Takeaway: The things you write online, in blogs, social media, or specific webpages should be shorter. They have too much-specialized information and answer questions that should have been asked. Better to capture their information and drip it on them via email.
Takeaway: The things you write in emails and strategic messages often must be clarified.
Decide which type you’re writing before you start typing!
Being a personal writer in the professional world is not something many people do, but it’s essential. It means writing down your experiences to help you think about them and share them with others.
I want to work with people who are willing to try new things. It doesn’t matter if you work alone, do physical labor, have a job, are part of a nonprofit group, own a small business, or work with a team of realtors or a parent-teacher organization. If you want to connect what you know with what you experience in your life, I’m here to collaborate.
You have something unique to offer. By learning how to solve complicated problems, you can teach others too. In our complex world, we always have to think about how to improve our lives, relationships, and work. Reflecting on things is important for figuring out how to do that.
When we work together as reflective writers, we focus on your learning and try to understand what it means for you and the people you want to share it with. I aim to help you become willing and make writing a part of your daily routine. It’s like a tool that lets you learn from different perspectives and ideas and understand other cultures.
This is just as important as eating and breathing.
If you want to know more, let’s talk.
Introducing “Rise and Shine” – the remarkable stories that illuminate the true essence of your business or organization.
One such inspiring tale belongs to Open Roads, a non-profit youth development program dedicated to empowering local youth through bicycles, job skill training, and apprenticeships. Their premiere program, available to students aged 8-16, offers a transformative experience that fosters independence, self-sufficiency, and a healthy lifestyle within a supportive community.
A shining example of the program’s impact is the story of a young participant who, thanks to Open Roads, made life-changing decisions that may have eluded him otherwise. By immersing himself in the program, he discovered newfound confidence, resilience, and a sense of purpose, steering his life towards a brighter future.
These “Rise and Shine” moments not only highlight the profound effects of organizations like Open Roads but also inspire others to embrace opportunities for growth and positive change.
And that speaks to the heart of what marketers who embrace the role of “remarkable communicator” do. They make change with story. Mining out the “Rise and Shine” stories is one way to get started.
Vince Lombardi built the Green Bay Packers into a five-time NFL championship-winning team and famously commanded, “Quitters never win, and winners never quit.” This is a famous motivational saying that you’ve likely heard many times.
Seth Godin is a marketing guru, blogger, and bestselling author. I love Godin’s stuff. I recently came across his book, The Dip. In the book, Godin challenges Lombardi’s viewpoint, stating that it is “bad advice.”
Instead, Godin offers an unconventional insight: winners do quit but choose the right moment and place to do so, allowing them to focus on areas where success is more likely.
Godin’s book revolves around the concept of “the dip.”
The dip refers to that critical juncture in any business, project, or task when you must decide to keep going or quit. It’s a decision point where we must choose whether to persist in the hope of overcoming the challenges or abandon the work and move on.
A critical problem, according to Godin, is our failure to recognize when a dip is actually a dead end.
Working through a dip can lead to personal growth, while a dead end is just that—a dead end.
Godin said, “Quitting holds importance because winning matters.” As a self-identified winner, I love that quote.
In relationship to this quote, Godin shares this insight:
“Extraordinary benefits await those who push slightly longer than others, and the gutsy minority who quit early and refocus their efforts on something new also enjoy exceptional benefits.”
In other words, leap smart or hold tight.
This resonates with me because it opposes settling, making do, or coping. His message is clear: persevere through the dip, aiming for greatness, or seek a different path.
“Mr. Inbetween,” as he terms it, represents the most common response to the dip — playing it safe, doing blameless work beyond reproach.
However, we know that coping wastes time and misdirects energy, never leading to exceptional performance or mission-based work.
This book reinforces my thoughts about mediocrity, which is an admitted fear of mine. I don’t mind being in a mediocre place with intentions of working out of it. But to settle into mediocrity is shameful.
Mediocre work rarely results from a lack of talent but rather from being stuck in a cul-de-sac. Coping squanders time and misdirects energy. If coping is your best, quitting is a better option.
And that requires an intelligent exit strategy.
In summary, my big takeaway from the dip book is:
Strategic quitting or persevering through the dip opens doors to exceptional achievements. Avoid settling for mediocrity. Embrace challenges, conquer the dips, and strive for greatness.
This relates to me because we’re faced with this decision at my day job. This relates to me as I look toward growing my freelance writing business.
Are you a Mr. or Mrs. Inbetween? Are you pushing through the dip? A strategic quitter? If we’re doing anything worthwhile, we’re all bound to face it.
In my cedar trunk are cherished artifacts from my past: calendars, notebooks, letters, and photographs. I’ve carefully curated them, hoping they’ll be discovered by future adult children, or their children or their children, etc. seeking wisdom, like browsing a website or favorite social media feed. These treasures embody the essence of my life, transcending mere desk-bound tasks.
I write at varying frequencies, driven by the seasons and my preferred platform at the time. I find solace in journaling with a dollar store notebook and a thin-tipped Sharpie, clarifying my thoughts. I sometimes send letters on my Smith-Corona typewriter.
I photograph my children to capture fleeting moments, storing the memories securely in the cloud, and use these pictures as writing prompts.
Ultimately, how I express myself matters little; writing, collecting, or documenting. What’s essential is faithfully recording life’s significant moments. Each entry, like a precious bookmark, holds immeasurable value to me.
What would this look like for you?
Alternatively, I could look away from the pack instead of do something similar to everyone else. There’s more room to move. There’s more room for growth. More room to spread my wings. More room for error, too, and that’s part of what is scary because it’s unknown.
For example: SEO company websites look and feel the same. Freelancers, too. Most florists sell exactly the same flowers, maybe wrapped in different paper. The gyms have similar training schedules. Real estate agents run the same mailers.
For most, if the formula looks like it’s working we’re happy to follow it. Of course, follow the well trodden path!
But… if we stick with anything long enough, heading away from the pack could be best because most people don’t take the risk of going where everyone else isn’t.
I gain insights and intuition based on my experience and taking time to reflect. Every day — I have the opportunity to use yesterday as the wise counsel I need to make the most of tomorrow. I have a journal and digital white space to wayfinding what I remember by recording the reflection of what these everyday stories teach me.