Comic strip


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This New York Times business page titled: “Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout” reminded me of an old comic I did during the 2008 financial crisis.

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Okay, I don’t necessarily mean psychiatric or psychological help (although there’s nothing wrong with that either).  But, of all the comic strips that I’ve created this one is a personal favorite of mine.  Why?  Well, it’s really symbolic for me: first because I, too, have tried to “cut” corners and give myself a haircut many years ago as a teen (needless to say I certainly have a solid appreciation for hair stylists) and two because as a freelance writer it speaks volumes about my first freelance writing year and the lessons I’ve learned about DIAY (Do It All Yourself).

Hopefully, once you’re through chuckling or laughing (hopefully you found the comic funny), you’ll recognize that at the core of it the message is that we’re all good at something and downright bad at others.  That’s why there are experts or people with a knack for certain things–like giving you a haircut that turns heads (and not for the wrong reasons either).

As I reflect on my first year as a full-time freelance writer, finding experts in the field to help me with either my articles or with transcribing recordings was one of my weaknesses.  Bottomline: I didn’t like asking for help.  Surprisingly, I didn’t realize this was a part of my character.  I realized that it I was overwhelmed with other assignments, yet I still continued to burn the midnight oil to transcribe my interviews for articles I was working on. It didn’t make sense (at the time) for me to spend money having someone else do what I could do on my own.

But after reading a post from another writer, I realized that sometimes the time you take to DIAY can also be a waste of money.  And basically time is money.  For instance, the hours I took transcribing several interviews, which could be about 3-4 recordings per article was not only taxing, but it’s also my least favorite task.  Eventually, I started to use a transcription agency.  And when I calculated my time and their rates–it was a no brainer because I was saving money (i.e. it cost me more to do my own work because of the time I took versus the rates charged).  Not only was I saving money, I didn’t have to do a task I really didn’t enjoy. It’s a win-win situation!

I also sought out expert help on how to grow my freelance business.  One writer in particular is Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing.  She’s been an invaluable expert who brings writers other experts to learn from–clearly demonstrating the importance of learning through others.  She’s started a member site called The Freelance Writers Den, which I encourage every new (and veteran) writer to just try out one of her free webinars (which occurs every first of the month, visit her site for details if you’re interested).

But I eventually realized that the only way to grow as a writer is to reach out to those who have made a successful career out of it.  It’s been a year filled with ups and downs.  For 2012, I’m open to joining organizations, marketing my skills, networking more, owning my own website, and more.  It’s about being fearless and recognizing that the difference between being a hobbyist and a serious writer.  And that means making decisions that surpass just being able to support myself financially today, but to build a career in which I’m thriving year after year.

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