Keywords

I’ve been exploring a site for freelance work, where clients post jobs and contractors can make proposals on them and then manage the work and needed communication. I’ve never done any sort of contract work before, so there’s a lot to learn — not least, whether it’s a sort of work I’m even interested in doing.

Yesterday I spent some time skimming the most recent job listings for writers, and came away depressed. Of course what people get hired to do has a lot to do with making money for other people and businesses; I get that. But too many of the ads feel totally soulless, asking for writers to produce “content” on all kinds of topics and subject areas to post on websites and blogs, I think more to have an excuse to have a website in order to put ads on than to really say anything worthwhile. Too much interest in keywords and “SEO” and getting more clicks, and none in pursuing good and worthy ideas, exploring knowledge, helping people. Trying to squeeze money out of jaded web-wanderers, rather than trying to build something good in the world.

I don’t know what kind of work I am going to land in, and maybe taking on some of those kinds of projects is yet going to be in my future; but if the only way to live and be a writer is to do that sort of work, I want no part of it. I can’t build a life on such an empty foundation. I have no desire to try.

I left my laptop and went away to think about what I want and need, what’s important to me, what I think is important to the world. I have a gift for writing, yes, one which I didn’t create, but which I am working to improve. I believe it is intended for good, to be used for God’s glory, to be used for helping people do good stuff and become better versions of themselves. That’s what gets me excited about writing, that’s what brings me to my notebook and my keyboard — the chance to find the right words to set to good purposes.

So I pulled out my scribbeldy notebook and made my own list of keywords. Words that speak to me of the kinds of people and organizations I think I’d like to work for, the kinds of causes I want to support, the sort of work that I believe can help the world. I have to believe that somewhere in this particular list of words and in other words related to them, there are keys to good work for me to do, there are clues about other people who may need a writer to help them find the right words to pursue their own visions and purpose. These words tell me a lot about who I am. I hope that a year from now, 10 years from now, the work that I do and the writing I will have produced will reflect the best of these words, and the best of myself.

non-profit
causes
humanitarian
appeals
education
children
elderly
needs
donors
life change
betterment
support
community
love
organizations
disabled
grassroots
vision
non-political
faith-based

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