What Freelance Writers Can Learn from Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin's Advice to Freelance WritersSarah Palin just keeps grabbing headlines, doesn’t she? Most recently, it was her pronouncement that she could beat President Barack Obama in 2012.

Whether you think that’s unreal hubris or that’s totally gonna happen, there’s a lot freelance writers can learn from Palin. To my mind, the former Alaska governor has some personality traits that freelancers often lack. Develop these traits, and you could really rocket your writing career forward.

What am I talking about? Here’s what Sarah Palin’s got that could help you succeed as a freelance writer:

    • She’s bold. Say what you want about Palin, this woman is utterly fearless. She makes gaffe after gaffe, and just keeps on sucking it up and rolling on. Tina Fey made a cottage industry out of making her out to be an idiot (see the video below). Personally, I think that would make me crawl under a rock and die, and I consider myself pretty self-confident! So many freelance writers I’ve worked with in my mentoring program are held back by fears and insecurity. A Palin injection might be a life-changer.

  • She seeks the limelight. Palin is not afraid to promote herself. She’s everywhere, still, with the election far behind us. She lives by the law of publicity — that is, all publicity (negative or positive) is good publicity. By contrast, many freelance writers feel too insecure to even show up at their local Chamber of Commerce mixer.
  • She is not easily embarrassed. Yes, her daughter had a baby out of wedlock while she was running for national office, pretty highly embarrassing for a Republican-conservative candidate. But on she rolls, like the mighty Columbia. Do you think Palin would let one rejection letter bug her? Or be devastated by one editor who dropped her? No chance.
  • Setbacks do not faze her. OK, she is not the vice president of the United States. She tried for that one and bombed. But clearly, she sees that as just one battle in her war. She’s not going to curl up in a ball and mope, like so many freelance writers do when they don’t get a “yes” on a query letter.
  • She’s got a plan. As you could tell by that Obama comment she recently made, she has no plans to be one of those people who’s famous for 15 minutes and then vanishes into obscurity. She’s still workin’ it. You may not like her plan, but she’s got one. A freelance writer needs a plan too, or life just happens, you wake up next year, and you’re just treading water, writing for the same low-paying clients.
  • She’s a climber. Sarah Palin could have gone on being the governor of Alaska. A lot of women would have been real happy with that achievement. But to her, it’s just a stepping stone. She got to that plateau, looked around, and went, “What’s next?” When the Republican Party came knocking, she could have played it safe and said “no.” But she’s always thinking about how she can take it to the next level, an attitude successful freelance writers need.
  • She’s different. Think what you want about Palin, but one thing’s for sure — there’s never been a female politician quite like her. She reminds me of freelancers who have an unusual niche they write about, or a very unique writing style. They always seem to earn the most.
  • She’s memorable. From her “I can see Russia from my house” cracks to her trademark bun, Palin knows how to brand herself and make an impression. She reminds me of this guy I met at a networking event recently. He had turned his name tag into a gigantic, two-foot-wide laminated board he wore around his neck. What a laugh! And a great way to say “Hey, I’m a pro networker, and a fun person.” Most freelance writers could think more on ways to make themselves stand out like that.

What personality traits do you think are essential for freelance writers? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Photo via Flickr user edalisse