"Master Dayton" might be humorous, (I mean if Ph.Ds are called "Doctors," shouldn't MFAs be called "Masters?") but in all seriousness I have made a living freelance writing and after several years I have tons of information I want to share to help out my fellow writers, regardless of age, experience, goals, situation, or background. This blog isn't pretty-but it will help if real freelance writing information is what you want.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Haven't Updated My Resume Since 2006

Freelance Writing Benefit: No Resume Games

First off, let me add an important caveat to the title, that being that I'm not saying having a good resume isn't important or that freelance writers shouldn't have resumes. I'm just saying that I haven't updated mine since 2006 and honestly I'm not keeping a conventional resume any more because I don't have any intention of getting an "honest job" (whatever that means) again.

My personality made me clash with authority even before I worked for myself, so really, in many ways I'm probably pretty unemployable at this point unless my boss let's me do my own thing as long as the job gets done. But one of the advantages to a freelance writing career is that after a certain amount of time, depending on how well you set up your business, you don't need a resume anymore. I stopped updating mine in 2006, when it became clear that getting into academics was a nightmare I wanted nothing to do with, and that the boss of the job I was interviewing for had exactly 0 interest in my resume and was only interested in my writing skills and at how efficiently I could keep growing and adapting into producing the type of writing that was actually useful to him.

Now don't get me wrong, I do keep track of special accomplishments, list of clients I've worked for (or continue to work for), and places published and earned awards. But as for organizing everything into a writer's resume, I don't bother. There's no reason to. Between steady clients and my growing passive income, there just isn't any reason to. Aside from the fact that the way I was taught to write a resume in college is now "completely wrong and outdated" why do I need an updated resume? Maybe down the line if I want to spend some free time teaching as an adjunct because there are a couple classes I'd really enjoy designing (such as one on online freelance writing that college students could actually use and turn into paying work), I love working for myself and am not willing to give that up.

For beginning writers, a freelance writing resume is essential as you build up a client list, learn the ropes, and still have to sell yourself in query letters time and time again. If you're also someone who doesn't mind writing for a company or in the corporate world, then a resume in addition to copies of published articles (your "clips") are very important. However, one of the great advantages of being a freelance writer is that word of mouth is a powerful way to gain new work as one impressed client will suggest you to others looking for a good and RELIABLE writer. I still can't believe all the horror stories of flaky and terrible writers who don't respect their clients and make the rest of us look bad.

If you're a good and reliable freelance writer, just keep marketing yourself and over time between steady clients and word of mouth, you'll get to the point where you have all the clients you need and possibly a backlog to boot. Another key point here: passive writing income definitely helps out this process a great deal. The day you work for yourself only, with no other clients, I'm sure is also a great day - and one I'm rapidly working towards. Never ignore passive income even if 90% of your time has to be spent on freelancing - a situation I'm used to. However that 10% of time I've spent just over 3 years (because the first 2 years I did ignore the passive income) building passive income has me almost half way to a full time passive income. I'd probably be there by now had I started right away, but the point is that even small baby steps over time will add up to hundreds, then thousands, of dollars a month. You'll be very glad you did not neglect this point.

So what does not updating my resume since 2006 have to do with anything? Well to me it's symbolic of a lot of things that I love about the freelance writing life style. There's a definite independence. Not only do I not worry about finding a new job, I don't worry about getting fired from an old one. There's no being pissed off at being passed over for promotion over and over again or having someone else take credit for your work (unless you're a ghost writer getting paid very handsomely to do just that). There's no worry about whether or not I can compete with experienced veterans or eager newcomers willing to work for less - employers do not let go of excellent reliable writers. No worrying about "having to" beef up a resume or "what about that gap" or "how can I make this sound impressive?" None of that.

Not to say I haven't written resumes since 2006 - I have...but other people's for $50 a pop :) The point here is that a skilled writer willing to take the lumps, learn the business, and push through the frustrations and muck then you can become completely independent of all the worries that plague so many daily grind workers who deserve better. I haven't updated my resume since 2006, and you know what, that might be the last time I ever do.

So how long has it been since you had to update your resume? How hard would you work to make sure you never had to do so again? This might not be right for everyone, but these are questions that might give you that little bit of motivation you need to get moving with the online writing. Imagine never having to prepare a resume again because you were secure. What would that be worth to you?


  1. Excellent! I love this, because it's exactly why I have decided to work for myself, no matter what. I am tired of resumes, too. Great entry!

  2. Thanks for the comment! I agree. My resume is my reminder that you can do everything right and then some and with a little bad luck end up a loser anyway. I'd rather set up my business, control my income, and know that all the success or failure is on me. That I can deal with :)

  3. I hear you. Haven't written a resume in years either and I don't intend to. Ever.

    A lot of potential employers want to see proof of writing experience, such as published work and writing samples.