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When your writing experience doesn't seem to fit with clients' fields

Active Member
Michael P Member Since: Feb 19, 2019
1 of 4

I have significant writing experience in a particular field, but there doesn't seem to be much demand from clients for writing about that field. I'd like to try and find connections between my field and those of clients, even if they don't see the connection themselves.

Any suggestions?

Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
2 of 4

Michael P wrote:

I have significant writing experience in a particular field, but there doesn't seem to be much demand from clients for writing about that field. I'd like to try and find connections between my field and those of clients, even if they don't see the connection themselves.

Any suggestions?


Hi Michael, 

I looked at your profile, and you have a lot of terrific stuff to draw on. 

One thing I'm going to mention is that I notice you cast your skill set in very precise terms. For the sake of doing freelance contracts, it might be more helpful to think about skills and abilities you have in terms of how you might be able to use them in a broader range of potential applications. Nelson Bolles presents the concept of transferrable skills in his book What Color is Your Parachute? and that might be a good resource to consult. 

I'm going to present a brief example of how to go from the narrow view to the broad view below:

I have significant writing experience in a particular field. >> 
I have significant writing experience in a particular field.


Active Member
Michael P Member Since: Feb 19, 2019
3 of 4

Thank you for your reply, Renata. I really appreciate your input.

My concern, though, is that there's only a fairly narrow range of subjects I feel comfortable writing about. I'm wondering if there are ways to work my areas of expertise into things I write for clients, even if my expertise isn't quite what they're looking for. Or else to draw links between my expertise and clients' topics of interest that they don't see.

Can you think of ways to do this without convincing the client that I'm not the person for the job?

Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
4 of 4

Michael P wrote:

Thank you for your reply, Renata. I really appreciate your input.

My concern, though, is that there's only a fairly narrow range of subjects I feel comfortable writing about. I'm wondering if there are ways to work my areas of expertise into things I write for clients, even if my expertise isn't quite what they're looking for. Or else to draw links between my expertise and clients' topics of interest that they don't see.

Can you think of ways to do this without convincing the client that I'm not the person for the job?


To tell you the truth, I think a lot of the clients I deal with would be perfectly happy to hand their writing tasks over to me regardless of my lack of knowledge of their discipline. From time to time, I edit for subject matter experts (people with PhDs in their area of specialization and loads of experience) who ask me if I can finish their reports. They're usually surprised when I explain that I can't write what's in their heads.

Why do they think I can do this? Because I've learned how to apply my understanding of writing mechanics to a broad range of tasks. My area of specialization is improving their writing.

People never tell you this at school, but if you get a master's degree, you've spent time developing two very marketable skills: rearching and writing. You can apply those to a wide range of tasks. There's another really marketable skill that's attached to all of this, which is consolidating and packaging information. 

To answer your question, I would say try to find a way to focus on the abilities you have that can be applied to a broad range of situations, not on your perceived lack of specific knowledge. Because, even if you lack specific information about a topic, you can do research to come up to speed on it (and please make sure you bill for it because it's part of the writing task). Look at the big picture of what you're bringing to the table. This might be a bit tougher for you because you seem to be an analyzer, meaning you like to break things down into specifics  (and believe it or not, this is another generalizable talent that can be broadly applied!).

My other recommendation is to read the book! 
  

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