How Do You Find Freelance Friends?
The life of a freelancer is freeing — but lonely. Where art thou freelance friends, especially in the face of this god awful pandemic?
The gig economy is RIPE with lucky breaks, and is going nowhere fast.
As we embark on a new year filled with new possibilities, fresh opportunities, and a heavy, heaping pile of unpredictability & anxiousness, what do we have to rely on when our mind gears halt our beloved creativity? Whom do we rely on?
The answer, friends, is each other. But how do we go about finding freelance friends when we aren’t huddled in our usual writer networking corners? (aka coffee shops, libraries, coworking spaces and author events)
And furthermore, how do we go about finding the right freelance friends?
A day in the life of a freelance writer looks something like this:
Wake up when you want to (7 am), brew a coffee, maybe have some oatmeal, get a 20-minute Peloton workout in, shower, get dressed, open the MacBook and type tappity type until we need a lunch break. Maybe take a brisk walk around the neighborhood to refuel our brain, shackle ourselves back to the Mac, and continue cranking out content.
The life of a freelancer is so desireable because we literally get to do what we want to, when we want to do it, with no one to answer to. It is an excellent career choice for entitled millennials who have anxiety about messing up an email to a superior or turning in a project late to an asshole client.
It’s pretty great. But the downfall, of course, is leading a life of isolation (something the entire world can now relate to, thanks to the plague).
Sure, there are interviews to be conducted and editorial meetings here and there that reprieve our lonely hours, but for writers who rely on creative energy from conversations had with others, it’s really a tough go.
If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that people need people. Friends are not a luxury. They are a necessity. The comfort of neighbors lending a helping hand is not a nice-to-have. It is essential.
The same applies from one writer to the next. We need to bounce our ideas off onto someone else. We crave the validation of a fellow freelancer having the same mental breakdown at 10 am on a Thursday.
So…How Do You Find Freelance Friends?
Do we reach out to random writers on LinkedIn, asking them to be our accountability partners? Do we post a message on a writer’s circle Facebook group, asking for reader support? Do we email local authors asking them to be our mentors? Do we pretend that listening to podcasts gives us the same endorphins that phoning a friend does?
Speaking from someone who has done all of these things, I will tell you that, aside from the podcast quip, they do work! The kicker is that you can’t have any expectations. You must be consistent with it. Carve out an entire afternoon each week reaching out to likeminded people online. They are easy to find, and literally everyone is looking for the same exact thing — a friend/fellow human being that they can relate to.
In order to (successfully!) find the right for you freelance friends, do the following:
- Reach out to local writers on LinkedIn — to up your chances of a response, only message those who have something in common with you, or who have an About section that you admire or that makes you laugh. Showing your personality is KEY.
- Join Writer’s groups on Facebook — individually message members about their WIPs, asking if they’d like to collab in some way.
- Email local authors (or authors you love) — asking if they offer mentoring, or would simply be open to chatting a few times a month on steps they took to write their books, and what resources they use to stay sharp in the biz.
- Just be honest! On your own platforms (Instagram, Twitter, etc.) Example: “GUYS, I’m looking for some freelance friends to bounce ideas off of and just have writer convos with on Mondays to kick off the workweek. LMK if you’re interested.”
We all have our own stories worth sharing, our own voices worth exploring. And we can ALL learn something from one another. There is no, “I’m not as successful as she is” mentality when you’re reaching out to a NYT bestseller.
You are your own version of success + happiness. Believe in your bad self.
Let me know what your freelance friend-finding hacks are, and good luck!