I’ve been in commercial writing since 2017. I’ve come all the way from a freelancer to an owner of a design studio.
Here are 25 principles I’ve crafted over 5 years of my career. They’ll help you increase your value as a writer, and, therefore, your profit.
- Before you start writing a copy, think about how not to write one.
- Your text will not change the world. It’s just another text.
- Don’t play with the words, don’t move them around. It won’t make much of a difference.
- Don’t grind your copies to perfection. Publish fast, then polish. Perfect things exist only in your mind.
- Publish your post while it burns you from the inside and excites you.
- Hire a proofreader so that you wouldn’t have to argue with a client about spelling and punctuation.
- Take responsibility for the result you provide, not for separate words, sentences, or a number of characters.
- Ask questions, shut up and listen to your client carefully. They have all the answers.
- Don’t be an asshole: don’t go missing and warn your clients when troubles arise.
- Don’t teach your client how to write, and don’t be stubborn as a ram.
- Don’t argue about your unique vision of writing and style. No one is interested in it. Solve the problem and don’t try to show who’s the boss here.
- Leave emotions behind when you enter a Zoom meeting. Reschedule if you are having an off-day. Recover, then talk.
- Don’t grovel and don’t settle for bad decisions. Defend your working routine, processes and principles.
- Always work on a contract and take an advance payment.
- There is no such thing as an average price. Only a fair price. A fair price is the one that suits you and your client.
- It’s not easy to make a living on writing. To make more, sell your service and solutions, not a copy or a number of characters.
- Develop skills in related areas: layout, management, design, code, typography, illustration, negotiation, law. They give you leverage.
- Never work on urgent tasks. You won’t make much money, but you’re guaranteed to eat some shit and be a scapegoat in the end.
- Work only on the projects you wouldn’t be ashamed to put in your portfolio.
- Don’t get into a project with a bad context, especially out of need. You won’t be happy with the money made there.
- Remember that you’re great. You make a living using your head. Most people never dare to do it.
- When you don’t see a way out, go back to the initial brief and the task your client brought in. Usually, you’ll find an answer or a hint there.
- See all projects through to completion. In hard times remind yourself why you got into this project and keep the goal in mind like a lighthouse in the storm.
- Take care of your health: sleep at night, exercise, eat well. Make 10,000 steps a day, eat fruit, vegetables, and greens, drink more water and less coffee.
- Be honest and frank with yourself. All problems begin with a lie.
This year I’m going to talk to the authors, writers, and editors, even more, to fill the manifesto with new principles that I consider crucial and useful. I hope that in five years, when the fifth version of the manifesto comes out, we’ll be able to trace how the profession of the writer has changed.