The Benefits of Working My Day Job

I know this blog is about freelancing – but yesterday’s post about planning to freelance had some great comments asking some good questions.

First, while I want to freelance full time eventually, I actually really like my job. I like the people I work with and I like the work I’m doing. But most importantly, my day job allows me to continue learning.

I’ve found the feedback I’ve gotten from the editors I work with to be invaluable in improving my writing. I’ve also learned a lot from the style discussions we’ve been having in my office lately (we’re doing a redesign), and learned from the examples the other editors in my office set with their writing–techniques and ways of weaving together content that I may not have seen before. Further more, it offers me insight about how an editorial office actually works that I expect to be invaluable when it comes time to pitch articles.

While I don’t have anyone in my office right now that I’d consider a mentor, our publisher has just about seen it all in the publishing industry and is a source of awesome stories about everything from his days as a newspaper reporter to discussions on his transition from an outside consultant to being our group publisher (and head of a ridiculous number of magazines).

My boss, our editor-in-chief, makes a point to try and work with me to improve my writing–specifically the way I use my voice in the stories I write. He’s good about periodically checking in with me and giving me progress reports and feedback. For example, he most recently complimented me on how I write blog posts and suggested I try to add some of the voice I use there (both on the company blog and on this one) in my article writing.

Not to say my job is perfect–we have office politics, like any other office, and I’m sometimes frustrated by what I see as a lack of communication between departments, or because I sometimes don’t feel challenged by the work I do. But over all, I like my job.

In fact, right now the only downside to this particular job is that it’s covering an industry–the pet industry–that I’d love to work in MORE. I can’t write for many of the pet magazines out there (even the consumer mags) because they’re owned by our competitors. However, on the flip side, I’m establishing an expertise in the industry that I full expect to benefit me when I do go freelance–I’ll be able to pitch pet stores and consumer pet magazines and say that I was an editor at Pet Business… and who knows? With any luck, I’ll continue being able to write for them on occasion, as a freelancer.

*Image by Piez, on Flikr.

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