Last month I was invited to write about podcasts. For a website that you’ve heard of. I won’t say who because it didn’t work out. No hard feelings, these things happen. But the important part of this story is I was offered the chance to do this. And it was a paying gig. The emerging writer’s unicorn.
Like a lot of opportunities, it came along disguised as a coincidence (my mom didn’t believe in coincidences, so every single time one comes along I think of her.) I happened to meet this person through some online networking, she happened to mention that the company she worked for was looking for a writer. By coincidence.
She was looking for a writer to write about podcasts. Awesome. She wanted someone who could create regular content and regularly listen to podcasts. No problem. Sounds just like me. They were focusing on podcasts for millennial women entrepreneurs. Um. Wait. What?
I’m not really a millennial. Depending on which demographics you read, millennials were born somewhere around 1980 to 2000. The years vary slightly, so sometimes I get included but at the age of…let’s just say I’m closer to 40 than 30…I’m not really who people who use the word “millennial” are talking about. I am also not an entrepreneur, although as you’re going to see I learned a few things about myself in this process. Long story short: I was so not the target audience for this. And while I knew I could get the podcasting part right, I was not at all sure about the millennial women entrepreneurs part. My instinct was to say no.
But they were offering me money to write! A paying gig with a website you and people I know have heard of! It was not in my writer DNA to turn it down. So I faked it. I said, well, I’m not a millennial but this sounds like a fascinating project and agreed to write a couple of sample pieces. I downloaded a bunch of podcasts aimed at millennial women entrepreneurs and pretended I knew what I was doing.
And you know what? It was awesome. The shows were fun. One of the first episodes I listened to was about becoming a freelance writer. Cue ta-da! noise here. Of course writing is a business, although we creative types don’t usually think that way. I found a couple of podcasts I plan on listening to again and a couple that I will definitely recommend to others. A few weren’t my thing. It happens. I was able to tie it all together and create some work I was proud of.
I made a conscious decision to sound like myself. I had been told I was chosen to try this out because they liked my writing as seen on this blog, and my writing as seen on this blog is not formal. I got the sense from them that they didn’t know exactly what they wanted, so I decided to make it personal because I felt that connection with readers is what they were looking for. I may have been wrong. I have no way of knowing. I was told I was a very talented writer and they had decided to go a different way.
Any regrets? Not a one! I am so glad I didn’t say no right way when I found out the topic. I learned about new things, practiced new writing skills, and emerged with different experiences. Is my ego bruised they didn’t want me in the end? Maybe a little but it won’t crush me. If getting rejected by one publication was enough to crush me, I am in the wrong business. Their rejection was very kind. I try not to read too much into it. I’m reading through a pile of submissions tonight and I’ll be sending some rejections myself. Probably to some talented writers when I decide to go a different way. I write that letter all the time. (No, I don’t. I have a template.)
Where does my fledgling career a a freelance writer go from here? I’m not sure, to be honest. But I know I will have my eye out for coincidences.