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The thread where we talk about your process

In this thread we discuss your process.

Your freelance process, not your Netflix selection procedure or your mating ritual.

Although… your mating ritual is bound to be funnier. Alright, let me update the thread topic:

The thread where we talk about your process and maybe mating rituals (if they’re weird, like bringing a miniature karaoke machine with you everywhere you go, because you do a wicked Steven Tyler impression and you’re the kinda person who says things like, “chicks dig air guitar”)

No. I’ve re-decided. Let’s keep it strictly to your freelance process.

As a songwriter, my freelance career and my in person - pro writing career can look very different. In person, I’m working with an artist or production team who’s body of work is the launching pad of our new artistic pursuits. It’s my job to factor in their career trajectory, what they’ve said previously, what they haven’t said and what portion of those statements (melodically and philosophically) have to remain in place to retain an audience’s interest. Then I’m taxed with moving the needle. This is an example of contracted work - and it’s entirely different than staff writing, which has its own process.

None of these metrics may apply to freelancing.

But there are similarities. So the initial process remains the same:

  1. Get coffee.

  2. listen to A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and convince myself that a thread of inspiration exists between this new country artist I’m writing for and my having listened to “take on me.” Otherwise, it’s just me dancing around my kitchen to “take on me.” I prefer to see it as “gathering information.”

  3. Ask my new client every single question that could ever be asked, ever. I want to know every thing about anything that they have ever even dreamed that a song could accomplish. When I set out to write that song, I want to be so familiar with their headspace that their voice is paying rent in my imagination.

  4. I get more coffee.

This is my initial process (give or take 400 other intricate things happening that actually speak to getting work done).

I’d like to know your process.

Tell me:

  • What you do. The main thing.
  • Where you start
  • What you need to launch

No process minded folks out there? @vickiespencer ? @lloydsolutions ? @wordsfire ? @benedictrm ?

Bueller… Bueller?

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Was in the “process” of searching the internet to find a definition of Bueller.

It means “Is anyone there”?

Make …
With …
A cup of tea! :slightly_smiling_face:

Interesting question.

As a freelance writer, I will write between 50,000 and 75,000 words a month.

This is for blogs, articles, etc.

My process is fairly simple.

  1. I get an order.

I use Fiverr for part-time income as I have numerous sources for freelance work. So, each day I have at least one writing job to complete. I write six half days (9AM-2PM, with a lunch break) a week.

  1. Research

Once I’ve determined what article(s) I will be working on for the next writing session, I will put about an hour or two the night before into research. Sometimes it’s basic stuff, other times it’s a bit more intense if I’m trying to “learn” more about a topic I’m writing about.

  1. Create Notes

Out of my research, I’ll have notes, things pulled off the internet and instructions from the client. I put all of this into a Word Document where it makes sense to me and print it out so I have hard copy to refer to.

  1. The Writing

The following morning I go to the upstairs office after breakfast and a shower. I will review my notes, re-read the clients instructions and start writing. Once an article is finished, I proofread, then I’ll run it through Grammarly (just in case) to help tighten it up. I’ll proofread a second time, then submit. All of my finished work is at least 90% first draft with some tweaks.

  1. Repeat

Either I move on to another article or I am done for the day. After dinner/supper I go back to my research cycle and go from there.

For me, it’s a simple system that works well. I’ve been writing since high school and spent the better part of the past 40 years as a news reporter (radio/newspaper) among other media tasks so being able to churn out decent first drafts is common for me.

I hope this helps.


Mine was a reference to the thespian masterclass that is “Ferris Bueller’s day off.”

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

I think you just publicly declared us as “official.”


Now, who would have thought of that!

Unfortunately my brain has difficulty with this as I am extremely worried that you are having an “out of character” experience.

In fact, so much so, that I have found it necessary to go and make another cup of tea.

I know, I know…

It isn’t my position to create some normalized fiverrian conversation thread.

Far be it from me to break the fourth wall on my Kaufman-esk “character performance.”

(Kaufman-esk is similar to Kafka-esk with the former being to act like a weird imaginary creature as opposed to becoming one)

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Do you have any pregame rituals? Go to sources of inspiration or similar actions that put you in your zone?

Good question.


I think since I HAD to write when I was the editor/owner/publisher of a newspaper with a weekly deadline, the need to fill space with words strung together in sentences and paragraphs just make it easy to write just about anything now.

I RARELY have dry spells.

I can’t remember the last time.

But nothing “pre-game” at all.

So… fun fact is I have been thinking about a thread like this, although I don’t think I have a ‘process’ just yet.
When I was writing just for fun, it used to be - finish homework, sleep till 10PM, wake up, hyperfocus for x hours and repeat - (luckily my grades didn’t suffer that much, I was a smart bean.

But… once I’ve started taking writing seriously is where things got a bit jumbled up. The way I think is, my brain still thinks that ‘writing 6000 words in two-and-a-half-ish hours is the way to go’ - which it can be for some people, but it absolutely drains me. I don’t have a real preparation ritual to it (other than, when too tired, making a strong cuppa of whichever chocolate tea that smells like has the most caffeine) and reading through the docs I was provided.

I am definitely a ‘work in short bursts and then be done for the week’ kind of person, but the more ‘good days’ like that I have, the more I suffer after (like, I have to legitimately be reminded I should be water (which results in, yes, more tea.) for 2-3 days and then rinse and repeat. So far this ‘crazy mad scientist gets inspired on a whim’ thing has worked (and no one’s been complaining) but I do realize it probably won’t be OK in the long run - so I’m working on slowing down. I’m writing every single day instead of whenever it feels right - which does seem to prevent me from complete burnouts but also makes me grumpy so… Looking for the middle ground basically.

(Yeah, I wish I had a magic routine or something going on, but still haven’t quite figured that out yet. I… have time I guess?)

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I relate to this and I know what you’re saying. You’re saying writers write.

I’ve retained that muscle memory from staff writing. In that way, there’s a beautiful grey where our world’s intertwine. It was the last holdover from the Tin Pan approach. A workman’s approach of burying your head in the muck and grind until the job was done.

That place is as long gone as your place. All in the name of that precious progress they sold us.

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I’m sorry, but some of these random posts make me chuckle.

I’m pretty sure someone would randomly post a similar reply even if it were a thread regarding colonoscopies.


That early, magic space of a young writer writing is absolutely everything. Each attempt could be an epiphany. Each stretch can be a consolidation of a new style. It’s amazing to be limitless.

There’s more merit to “not knowing what you don’t know” than us grizzled writer-types will tell you.

Of course there’s more merit to knowing what you don’t know. But, you’ll have time for that. Now is the time to play fast and reckless.

The only process that’s crucial is total soul-consumption. If you’re doing it right, it should feel like heat exhaustion. It’s real time introspective extraction. A lonely, skull crushing activity with a soundtrack of your internal monologue performing a loop of unfinished ideas.

Its a nightmare.
It’s beautiful.

Read everybody’s everything. “Get” all their rhythms. Learn everyone’s philosophies and hunt down their exercises. Study them until your mind is numb. Love and respect the rules. The rules are secret code. They are to be found - not distributed.

Know that there are rules! Anyone saying otherwise is too daft to find them

Then break them all and observe them again
(I’m not sure when this became a speaking engagement).

Be honest with yourself to the point of fear … then, be fearless enough to keep doing it. Fear is the bridge that connects the human experience.

Then, for goodness sake, take into account that all this chest puffing, gutter advice is coming from some know-nothing songwriter. Successful people in my world have written gum jingles.

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Sometimes it’s just nice to be wanted.

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I’m in the no pre game no process camp. Unless you count the pot of coffee as pre game.

Otherwise, I just sit down, get the job done and go on to the next.

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I’d genuinely like to hear about your process @marinapomorac

I’d also like to know how much inspiration plays a factor into getting into the job.

Note: Or you can ask me to withdraw this post. We don’t have a required class “show & tell” that I know of.

Hmm … Well … the biggest part of my process is making myself sit down and start, even though, all of a sudden, I feel an almost irrepressible urge to do things I don’t really want to do but should actually do eventually, or should already have done last week, or month, or year, like climb on the roof and clear the leaves from the eves gutter, repaint the kitchen, shine all the shoes, and defrost the fridge, in that or reverse order, or even things I usually would not ever even consider doing, like clean the bathroom tiles with a toothbrush, sort my books alphabetically (they need to be sorted by colour, obviously), or go grocery shopping in broad daylight.

Once I’ve talked sense into myself, and under the reproachful glare of NeeChee, the plushie cat, who doesn’t want to become homeless and sofaless, I’ll open a YT window, choose some music without lyrics (too distracting if you deal with words) that fits my mood of the day, or the job at hand, or both, and start.

Once I’ve started, it’s all love, peace, and harmony, with rainbows and unicorns sprinkled all over, and the flow can be so zoney that suddenly I notice it’s dark, and check the time with panic-widened eyes, to see if the supermarket is already closed.

Roughly about that.

Very boring, I know.

However. After I haven’t heard or read anything about Ferris whatsoever since years, I guess, or even decades, just yesterday, a friend mentioned the movie in a mail, today I read a reference to it in a Fiverr forum thread … if I happen to read or hear of it for the 3rd day in a row tomorrow, it must be the universe telling me something, a sign … that I should do something really outrageous, like … take a day off.

That masterful artwork of a movie went under the title of “Ferris macht blau” here, by the way, which literally translates to “Ferris makes blue”. “Blaumachen”, “make blue” meaning, you may have guessed it, “skip (work/school/weekly hamster club meeting/…)”. I love my work. And I’m not a procrastinator – a nice lady in a Ted Talk told me I’m not a procrastinator but only have a procrastination habit!
And now, I’m wondering whether a 2021 Ferris remake would be called “Ferris the procrastinator” instead of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” instead of going to bed …


Thanks for the @

Hmm. I am like you and really want to feel a connection to the project (and by that, person, team, company, world they inhabit). This is increasingly difficult when people think talking is wrong, creepy, or that my asking Q makes me some sort of Principal Frye, and therefore worthy of ignoring or insulting.

If I can get through that briar patch with something resembling common decency and a sense of what the greater (and specific) Story is, I move to assessing the materials sent. If they pass muster I open the project.

I will have already had morning coffee and my loins are as girded as I can get them with intestinal bluffing that this is worth doing. In good projects, this process is easy as the above has gone swimmingly and I can already hear the beauty hiding in the raw work.

Rather than trying to be immediately creative, I lay my field of battle by arranging the material. When Mixing that is the Stems in an order that makes sense, which oddly enough is not alphabetical!. This helps me have some idea of what is in here, what may need help, what screams Story.

With songs, I usually start on the Vocals first. Despite the common misunderstanding, Drums are a dime-a-dozen, the singer is the unique bit of it all. The person most clearly carrying the Story. I look for how to bring the unique beauty of this singer even if they sing like Lou Reed - yes today from his pine box.

Vocal parts singing nice enough to call it a single just as it is, I turn to the next most musical - storytelling part. I make that so it sings almost as nice as the vocals and balances to support the singer/s. I work that down to the last part and then go watch TV for the evening. It is most of a day’s work if it is a full track with many Stems.

After TV is done and the Ghost Whisperer has kissed her wonderfully tolerant dish of a hubby, I listen to what I have Mixed, right there in the lounge on a system that wouldn’t know a 1kHz test tone moments after they were formally introduced by The Queen. I see if the track works. What does, what does not translate.

Tomorrow I open it up and make those adjustments. I may re-check in the lounge. Off to Delivery it goes whilst I try to do anything but think of what the customer will say.

This is one I did recently where I got nothing but the vocal and a bassline. I built everything up around those parts (even the video). This is a case of a singer with a powerful Story to tell but no official “merits” past that passion. My job was not to hide his flaws but to push his passion forward. Those who want to snipe will, those who want to engage will. Our job (his and mine) was to get that story told.

I think we did pretty well with that. We had a fellow come to us with thanks as his family lost a daughter to a slavery gang in Eastern Europe for several years (see Taken with Liam Neeson).