Working from home as a freelance writer, I spend the majority of my day in relative isolation. I look down at the tasks that I want to complete that day and then I just get down to work, letting my fingers fly across the keyboard as I compose blog posts, product reviews, and feature articles. Because I work in relative isolation, however, it can be a bit of a challenge to get a second opinion on my work or to get another pair of eyes to simply give my articles a glance. Contrast this to a conventional office setting where you can just spin your chair around and ask the guy in the next cubicle for a couple moments of his time.
If I was working out of a regular office and had regular co-workers, I may have been able to avoid some negative feedback that I received recently, because a co-worker may have made a similar comment before the criticism escalated to that point. I’m glad that I did get the feedback, since adversity is good for you, but it may have been better to prevent that situation from arising in the first place.
Going Online for a Faux Office Environment
So, if you work from home as a freelancer, what do you do if you want to seek a second opinion? Getting someone else to quickly proofread your work is usually a good idea, because they may catch grammatical errors that you may have missed. It’s easy to glaze over your own work, especially if you only wrote it a few moments ago. A fresh pair of eyes is of great value.
Thanks largely to the power of the Internet, it’s not too difficult to get some collaboration on your work. I picked up a project a few months ago that was a little outside of my regular realm. It wasn’t fiction, but it was a narrative (“story style”) and I don’t normally do narratives. While I could have focused on my strengths and declined the project, I took it on because I thought it could be fun and interesting. Turning to my Twitter friends, the Dot Com Pho crew, and a couple of other online contacts, I sent out my initial draft to get a little feedback.
Competitors and Collaborators
Even though it may seem like we are in competition with one another, it is also useful to work with other freelancers for mutual benefit. If one of my freelance writer friends asks me to take a look at something they have written, I’ll probably do it with the assumption that they would do the same for me. Aside from the online community, freelancers can also turn to significant others and other people in their lives for some pointers and a response. A second opinion is not only valuable in a medical context.
One of Your Best Proofreaders
If you do not have access to a network of like-minded contacts who can help you with editing, proofreading, and general feedback, perhaps the best second opinion you can get is your own. Go outside and take a break, returning to your work several hours later with a fresh pair of eyes. Smaller projects can be fired right through, but for anything more substantial, you’ll want to spend a little time to make sure it’s just right. Your reputation as a freelancer is on the line.