Nothing But Net

As a freelancer, it’s hard to know when to crow about your achievements, and how. I grew up a stoic New England Yankee, and most of us were raised to think it’s a hellfire sin to brag about anything. In grade school, I once made a rapid-fire foul shot in gym class. A boy standing behind me in line said “Don’t smile!” Ever since then,  I’ve had a tough time taking public pride in things that I do well. I’ve been brought up to think it’s uncouth to have, or at least to show, confidence.

Lately I find myself bragging a lot, though, partly because I’ve been having a good few weeks and the world needs to know about it. So here goes the latest–quotes from clients & colleagues, all coming to me this week:

  • “Not only is the ad excellent, but whoever wrote the copy is MOST excellent. Use that person again and again.” (From a client to a colleague, about a book ad I wrote; the ad will run this fall in a quarterly literature magazine with a circulation of 55,000.)
  • “I’ve been working with Kristen Havens on this website. She completely rewrote the site to make it more understandable to people seeking Medicaid help. I’ve had this client for years and never really understood what he did or how valuable his services are until I read what Kristen wrote for him.” (A colleague’s endorsement of me on Facebook.)
  • “I’m very proud of how this turned out.” (My first book ghostwriting client; the book has just come back from the printers and I should have a copy in my hands in a few days.)

Like many writers, I’ve always been bad at promoting myself. This is ironic, because for years I’ve been helping authors promote themselves on blogs and social networks. I can pitch other people like crazy. But until recently, I’ve been either too forgetful, too busy, or too shy to promote myself.

When you’re a freelancer, this is not only silly, it’s counterproductive. You’re only as good as your last job. So, those are my last three jobs. This is how people feel about my work. I’m no longer going to shrug and blush when I tell people what I do. This is what I do: I write and I solve problems, and I’m good at it.


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