One of the biggest truths about life is that we don’t own most of the things we think belong to us. Sounds crazy, but keep reading, and you’ll get there.
The money in your bank account doesn’t belong to you. They belong to the bank. If tomorrow it goes bankrupt, you’ll have no money. The lease car you’re driving doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to a leasing company. The money you invested in stocks or real estate doesn’t belong to you. They belong to the company you’ve entrusted them to.
Neither cool things nor expensive toys you buy belong to you. They are simply tools that provide comfort for you and your family. But they don’t belong to you. They are not a part of you. Even the clothes you wear, and the food you eat don’t belong to you. Those are just things you buy with money.
Money is the biggest illusion of power and stability.
Politicians own your money, and they screw up every goddamn day. One poor decision of theirs and you have less money than you had last morning. Trying to be in control and believing you’re in control of the things you own is probably the biggest self-deception in the world. Don’t fall into this trap.
Your real possessions are the money you’ve already spent and the experiences and skills you’ve acquired with that money. Choose wisely, spend more easily, and get richer.
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 the client about spelling and punctuation.
- Take responsibility for the result you provide, not for separate words, sentences, or a number of characters.
- Ask questions and listen to the client carefully. He has 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 texts, and don’t be stubborn like a ram.
- Don’t argue about your unique vision of writing and style. No one is interested in it. Solve the task and don’t try to show who’s the boss here.
- Leave emotions behind when you enter a Zoom meeting. Reschedule if you are off-balance.
- 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 the service, not the text or the number of characters.
- Develop skills in related areas: layout, management, design, code, typography, illustration, negotiation, law.
- 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.
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