What My Driving Instructor Taught Me About Being a Freelance Writer

Learning to be a freelance writer
A thought occurred to me the other day and then almost immediately I came across a blog post exploring the very analogy I had stumbled across in my own mind. (This happens a lot.)

I like to think Why Freelancing is Like Learning to Drive Stick Shift is kind of like the US equivalent to my own thinking on the matter.

I also like to think great minds think alike. 🙂

The above post on Carol Tice’s website was incredibly useful to me all on it’s own actually, as it raised issues about being flexible, pragmatic and persistent as a freelancer.

But here in the UK, learning to drive is the same thing as learning to drive a stick shift. Nobody learns to drive an automatic in this country (unless they have an overly keen interest in go-karts).

The thing that made me relate being a freelance writer to learning to drive then were the things my driving instructor used to say to me.

So, with the ingeniously named sub-heading below (I don’t know how I come up with this stuff), I hereby invite you on a pun-filled voyage back to the young and impressionable world of my late teens:

Things my driving instructor used to say:

  • "It's only my job to teach you how to pass your driving test. It’s after you pass your test that you really learn to drive."

It occurred to me that my time working a nine to five job in an office was teaching me only to jump through hoop after hoop. As soon as I became a freelance writer I felt like I was driving for real. You might say I was finally in the driving seat after all those years... (That's the first pun out of the way.)

  • "The best students are the ones who have absolutely no experience whatsoever. Why? Because they don’t need to undo any of the bad habits they’ve picked up."

Thankfully I missed the whole ‘black hat’ SEO marketing phase where (some) online writers and marketers were only interested in stuffing their content full of keywords and producing gobbledygook instead of quality stuff. It was enough to ‘drive’ any reader crazy.  (Oh dear.) I’m glad I came in when I did and didn’t inadvertently pick up any bad habits. If you’re new to freelance writing online, you should be thankful for this too.

  • (After I’d executed a perfect left turn, eased seamlessly up the gears and then pulled over at his request): "Now, what was wrong with that?"

At his question I’d shaken my head, raised my eyebrows and dipped the corners of my mouth down with the vague air of confidence one can only achieve through genuine ignorance. “Well, it was all perfect,” he said, “apart from the fact that I asked you to turn right, not left. There was a right turning further down but you took the left instead as you saw it first. It doesn’t matter though – the main thing is you committed to it and executed it well.”

So it doesn’t matter which turning I take as long as I commit to it and try my best along the way?

Oh he was a wise man. So very, very wise.

To learn how to earn a full-time living from freelance writing online – and quit your job if that's all part of your masterplan – click here now.

Image courtesy of miheco via Flickr.

5 Comments

  • Diana

    Reply Reply October 3, 2013

    hahaha, we have a saying here – turn left (driver turning right) – well, the other left 😉

    pretty cool post. At first i was shocked to see it as i played in my mind with the very same topic just yesterday – but the unclear (yet) idea of my post is somewhat different than yours, so… stay tuned. Some day you will see my version of freelance and driving as well 😉

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply October 4, 2013

      Look forward to seeing that Diana!

  • Phoebe Long

    Reply Reply February 2, 2016

    Great post. Great writing. Well said.

    (I am sometimes a woman of few words…but not always)

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply February 3, 2016

      Glad you enjoyed the post Phoebe. (Short and long comments all welcome here!)

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