Being asked what you do for a living isn’t uncommon when you network a lot, but lately I’ve had to stop and think about my answer more and more.
Many moons ago it was a simple, crystal clear answer of “I’m a video games journalist” working for a digital publication and earning enough to keep my tech addiction well fuelled. But these days (having been a freelancer for a number of years) the answer is nowhere near as straight forward. From copywriting to features and media consultancy and even continued education to facilitate this growing trend.
I have however, been lucky. This continued diversity has resulted in a portfolio fatter than Donald Trump’s bank account. Also, my name is now on the side of a probe that launches today (at time of typing) which helps given the market is increasingly favouring freelancers (writers especially) that can successfully market themselves. But let’s talk about writers for a second, it’s not a good sign when a report from the “Authors Licensing and Collecting Service” shows around 58% of “successful” freelancer journalists and writers are earning less than £8000 for their writing.
The thing is, my personal views on the matter have become more of an “adapt or die” situation. The internet is as vast, as it is infinite. And with this “Deepness” (for lack of a better phrase) has come and increasing number of additional ways to keep the wifi on and coffee cup filled with life giving caffeine…mmmmm caffeine.
So, you can either begrudge the loss of days gone by, or you can take note of what’s happening around you. You no longer write a book for the money (although E. self-publishing has made that more than viable again) you do it for the love, and that sustains you, if only intellectually. As I pointed out, I’m currently a freelance writer but that’s not all I do. Editing and copywriting have become a mainstay of many freelancers (corporate even more so) me included, and the internet continues to provide a seemingly endless supply of places to stick things you write.
Going back to that whole self-publishing thing, the rise of the tablets and E-readers has naturally lead to the creation of a new chance to write that magnum opus you’ve been sitting on, and still get paid! Ok, chances are, you’re not going to write the next Harry Potter. But you could write “The Adventures this guy, who did stuff before it was cool” publish it yourself on amazon, market it to the hipster crowd via social media and become a LEGEND! Then watch as all your new found hipster followers drop you, because you became “mainstream”.
Potentially, you could just publish well researched and written articles on LinkedIn with the aim of boosting your marketable portfolio and building your authority as a writer in your chosen field. Blogs too, are awesome. Hence this post. The fact is, the number of opportunity’s to write stuff and be paid liveable money for it are actually increasing along with the rise of “New Media” or Neu Media for those of us with stylish beards (have we reached peak hipster yet?) So there you have it, the answer as with most things these days, is the internet. Don’t think of it as the death of a career path, think of it as a challenge to find new ways to apply those career skills in the never ending search for more money (Space Ball reference, we have peak!)
In summary, you can either hide in your faraday cage until all this nasty interwebs stuff goes away, or you can jot down that great idea you just got for “The guy who did stuff before it was cool 2: Hipsterocalypse” …. Hipsterocalypse …genius
Wolf Vanberg asserts that: “If a Hipster is both setter and early adopter of new trends, then so called true Hipsters are a theoretical impossibility”