Friday, April 23, 2010


I apologize for the gap between posts. Our household had a cluster of misfortune recently, including not just a funeral, but a lack of Internet connection, a sick cat and a sick me. That, though, leads to the topic of this post.


It’s a small word, but a difficult feat…and it means so much to both your personal and writing lives (if you manage to separate the two!).

One of my clients recently emailed me and asked about copywriting versus editing, and if I’d be willing to look at a half-and-half kind of job. “Just wanted to know specifically what you do and do not do,” she finished.

Did I tell my client to go jump in the lake unless she could clearly define the perameters of her current project? Of course not. So, what did I tell my client?

“I’m flexible!”

I don’t talk much on this blog about the editing and writer-for-hire sides of my career. Hey, they help pay the bills, but they’re not glamorous. At times, the work is deadly dull. Working with clients, though, has helped hone the same professionalism I need when dealing with, say, editors. Flexibility is one of the traits that comes in handy. When a client, or an editor, comes to me and says, “This piece is okay, but it’s not what I’m looking for,” do I stand my ground and insist that my way is best?

Only if I want to end my career as a bitter writer grandma whose blog is her only writing gig.

Or, do I say, “What changes do you want? I can have them to you by Friday!”

Heck, yeah, that’s the way to do it!

If you’re a member of a family—especially if you’re the mother of that family—you’re probably already good at flexibility. Certainly, Baby M has taught me loads about flexibility. Life also has a way of throwing fast pitches at you to see if you can either catch them or be flexible enough to dodge. Here are some personal examples from my past week:

  • You've maxed out your bandwidth allotment by spending too much time blogging, so the Internet at your house is down indefinitely. Is it:

    “Bummer! Guess I’m off to the library!” or

    “Darn, a whole week lost!”

  • You get a severe stomach something in the middle of an already-hectic week. When you recover, you’re weak as water. Is it:

    A day snapping at your family because you’re angry at how weak and unproductive you are, or

    “Now I have an excuse to sit and cuddle my daughter!”

There’s a place for rigidity…in your morals, in the values you hold dear, in supporting and defending your loved ones. The trick is to separate those moments that call for the strength of the oak from the much more common moments that require the elasticity of a reed. Try to stand firm at the wrong moments, and you may find yourself snapping instead. Try it in your career, and you’ll be snapping without a paycheck!

1 comment:

Lobug said...

I love this post.(and your heart/attitude that shows through) So great. Flexibility is so important in so many areas!!