In a lot of ways, this blog ends up being posts that I write because I need to read them or someone close to me might need them. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writing role models and I come back to his book “Fantastic Mistakes” over and over again. The book is just a fancy version of a speech he gave at the Philadelphia’s University for the Arts commencement ceremony, but it was filled with amazing advice for creative people. One of my favorite parts of his speech was a specific tip about freelancers and getting hired for jobs. The advice basically goes as follows–
Freelancers get hired for the following reasons:
- They do good work.
- They are easy to work with.
- They are punctual and meet deadlines.
…And you really only need two out of three to get hired.
Even though I’m doing less work for hire because I’m focusing on writing fiction, this idea still echoes in my head. If you are easy to work with and you always hit deadlines, you can build a freelance career, even if your work isn’t always brilliant. If you’re brilliant and easy to work with, you can miss some deadlines and people will most likely be forgiving. If you do good work and hit deadlines with ease, it might be okay for you to not be the most social/easy person to work with. Focus on what you’re good at and build your skills accordingly.
I personally strive for all three, but my main focus is that I’m easy to work with and I always am either on time or early for deadlines. I think deadlines are important because they can really help you show the people you work with that you can be reliable and consistent.
Anyways, that’s my short post for this week. I would highly recommend “Fantastic Mistakes” to anyone who wants to pursue a creative career or even a creative hobby. Gaiman’s advice is always so uplifting and yet so grounded and simple.