Reason To Write: To Ask Questions

Vera Badertscher

For our latest entry in the Reason To Write series, let me introduce Vera Marie Badertscher, a freelance writer who also blogs about travel-related books and movies. She is also the co-author of Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist, an art biography that will be released in April, 2011. Why do I love Vera’s story so much? It highlights the importance of writing about the things you want to know more about, rather than being limited by what you already know.

My father said my constant refrain as a little girl was, “Why, Daddy?”

That may explain why I wound up in a profession that asks questions. I’m curious about just about everything and everyone.

Freelance writers have to be curious. It may feel snoopy and prying, but we’re not satisfied until we’ve probed and picked away at the surface of things, and mined the real story lurking underneath.

The little secret of our trade? People like to talk about themselves.

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When To Stop Giving It Away

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Considering that I maintain a how-to blog with no membership fees, donation links, or advertising, you must assume that I love giving it all away. And to some extent, you would be correct. I love how this blog has helped me build up a professional platform. I love how it’s allowed me to connect with fellow freelancers. And, bottom line? I love helping people out.

But lately, two factors have led me to question where I should draw the line when in comes to “free”:

1. The launching of my coaching practice, the eventual success of which relies upon the assumption that people will actually pay me money for my expertise and professional guidance.

2. Repeated questions from newbies that lead me to believe that they haven’t even tried doing their homework. Forget thorough research. A quick search of my blog would have yielded them the desired results! Am I hurting wannabe freelancers by giving them the easy answers?

So how do I know when to provide free advice, when to direct people to my blog, and when to simply say, “Here’s my coaching fee!”?

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