Non Native Freelance Writers should look for work in their home country – That’s the standard advice I read in many forums. That kind of makes you doubt the possible success for ESL writers. I take heart from these
I do not get paid for great language or error free writing. In fact I do not take risk of writing a long paragraph, apprehensive that I may mess with my prepositions.
(I do not have an editor as of now. So please bear with me)
I give that royal jazz that people remember short notes and quickly switch to bullets in my writing, like these:
· I am not a native English speaker.
· I am not the Ad-words or search engine optimization expert either.
· I have not done my Masters in business or any other stream.
· I am not tech savvy
(I am not playing safe here. The bullets are true. So is the rationale – People do tend to remember short notes)
Another truth is, I actually failed in Physics during graduation and I really did not have the patience to go through those practical classes in Optics and do those measurements all over again. It was just a pursuit for degree and I got my Bachelors in Arts. Some things I do is because the whole world is doing – absolute herd mentality.
(That makes me truly, sincerely and faithfully average, isn’t it?)
English was my first language.
That is just name sake. I had to learn the national language Hindi and the local language of the state Kannada. Compared to my command on these two, English was definitely first all the way. My family speaks Bengali, the language of Tagore and Satyajit Ray.
After having completed writing assignments for corporate and native English buyers and having published books in English that did not really make it to the best seller list, I realized I needed to re-visit my grammar lessons if I had to make a living* writing.
(*Make a living = Earning big like my global counter parts from English speaking countries)
I love writing.
I cannot help that. I seriously love writing. I deviated from paid blogs to business writing. Today when buyers ask me for writing samples trying to figure out why I charge $135 for writing 700 words, I can read and hear them loud.
(Like seriously? A dollar is lot more in your country)
I do not charge for what I write, but the way I think. Simple!
Custom Offer Snapshot
(The other document indicated in the screenshot above is mostly standard freebies which make the writing valuable to them)
Switching to write business plans in story board format was a conscious decision because I knew I was not very good in spinning articles. Grammar is, has been and will always remain a pain for me. I am better off with cutting content like power supply and outlining winning storyboards.
By the way, what was 900 words in March this year, is now 700 words only. We are in the era of shrinking word count, diminishing attention span and vanishing focus. Writing that short about a business idea and yet engaging audience’s mind is a Herculean task. I was okay to deal with this challenge compared to writing 1500 words error free article in perfect English.
The fundamental thought is not to write what target audience may or may not read. The idea is to write what you definitely want them to read.
(Skipping sections is a way of reading).
This breaks a couple of myths for ESL writers.
Myth #1: You have to be exceptional in writing.
Contradicting popular opinion, I can comfortably say no to this as I am not even close to being exceptional.
· I have the right ideas
· I sequence them well in a story board
· I ensure my readers have one or two takeaway/ learning
· I do some research
· I just manage to spice it up with outdated humor.
(I will tie up with an editor to manage those prepositions someday)
Myth #2: English fluency is a must.
I am yet to go back to my Grammar books. All I have learnt is to fit my current writing skills along with my weaknesses in a market that suit both parties. They manage the minor edits and tweaks that come naturally to them while I manage the major creative thinking and writing from scratch part.
Here is a buyer who selflessly points out a grammatical error in my profile, to brighten my chances in the freelance market. He appreciates the way I think/ work and is aware English is not my first language.
(There is a world out there that is a lot more generous than you think)
1. Tough part is to accept that you have poor command on the language
2. Tiring part is the ongoing struggle to compete with the best
3. Testing part is to figure what skills can you couple your writing with
Once you are done with these three, you have arrived.
4. Triumph part is to compensate average writing with exceptional research or creative thinking or whatever you are good at.
If the four T s here are defining different stages of writing nirvana, which stage are you now?