For me, there are two kinds of writers; first are those who are so good and in tune in what they do that they stick to that style alone. Second are those who understand what is needed out of them and are able to adjust to the situation.
Generally, one is not better than the other. It is a matter of subjective opinion and the needs of the client.
Myself? I feel like I fall into the latter category.
I believe that being a flexible writer is very important in my line of work. As a freelance writer, I get to deal with a lot of different clients in a lot of different industries. Even though they normally ask for the same thing, blogs or articles, the approach is usually different. This is because every business owner has their own take on the content.
Content reflects the company. It is essentially its voice especially on the internet. So normally, business owners are very hands on with the content because it will represent them. The message, tone, and approach all usually come from them. My job as their writer is to take that idea and make it into an article.
As you can imagine, this can change from one client to another. And I normally work with multiple clients at any given time. This is where being a flexible writer comes into play even more as you need to switch from one hat to another in an instant. This skill is developed over years of practice.
When I was first starting, what I did was to think of myself as an actor playing a part. The article is the play or movie. I try to get into the mindset of my client to be able to write the article as he or she wants it to be done.
Clear your Mind
One of the hardest parts of being a flexible writer is when you have to switch from one topic to another. Imagine writing your first article of the day and it’s about information technology. The second article is suddenly about DIY home improvements. The difference is night and day. But you have to be able to do it.
The trick is to clear your mind. Much like in MS Word, when you hit CTRL+N, you get a blank sheet of paper. Everything you did before is erased and you now start over. Here are a few tricks on how to CTRL+N your mind in real life:
- Get up and grab a quick bite
- If you are listening to music, change the song or genre
- Smoke a cigarette (for smokers)
- Grab a fresh cup of coffee
- Read/Research about the next topic
I’ve personally done all of these before and the most effective for me is getting up out of my chair to grab a bite or simply stretch.
Whatever you do though, do not browse social media or the internet for funny cat videos. Before you know it, you’ve wasted 30-60min of your time.
Practice Makes Perfect
Becoming a flexible writer does not happen overnight. As mentioned earlier, it takes years of practice and experience. Even for me, who has been doing this for over ten years as of this writing, I still have a lot more to learn and practice to perfect this craft.
The trick is to use each and every drop of feedback that you get. Don’t ever let yourself be affected by negative criticism or whatnot. All of these serve the purpose of you becoming better. You just have to channel it. And by doing so, you get to understand more on how clients think, and you too can become a flexible writer.