Some writers need silence to work. Others prefer a poppy, feel-good beat. Me? I often listen to loud and rowdy metal and alternative music. Over the years I’ve built up a bank of lyrics that spring to mind when certain things happen in my freelance life.
I’m going to share some of those lyrics here and explain a bit about which bit of freelancing life they represent to me. And yes, I’m slightly afraid you’re going to come away from this thinking I’m an angry, grumpy freelancer. I’m not. Most of the time.
As there’s no time to dilly-dally, I’m kicking this list off with full swears and anger. 🤘
1. Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me
Killing In The Name, Rage Against The Machine
This tune pops to mind when prospective clients — people who aren’t even on my books yet — contact me out of the blue and bark their requests at me. You know the kind of message. It’s the one that goes something like this…
I’m Lance and I run America’s best digital-everything company. As a CEO and five times winner of the BS-Buy Your Own Award I make it my mission to provide amazing digital solutions to some of the world’s most famous brands.
I want 20 pages of website copy, a white paper and blogs, please. I’m contacting you after finding you on a directory.
The tone needs to be professional but friendly. Our audience is C-suite only.
Please let me know when you can send me all of this. Ideally, we want it done by yesterday.
Digital BS Enterprises
LOL. And my internal response is, “Fuck you. I won’t do what you tell me.” On loop. It’s a nice reminder that I don’t have to put up with any crap. I’m my own boss. And if there’s something I don’t wanna do, I won’t.
2. Yeah, well maybe it’s all for the better now, Yeah and maybe things oughta make sense
Just So You Know, American Head Charge
The client is right, the client is right, the client is right. Except for when they’re not. But it’s important to pick your battles, right?
3. I’m not like them, but I can pretend
Imposter syndrome. This one is all about the imposter syndrome.
4. Run to the hills, run for your lives
Run to the Hills, Iron Maiden
I don’t even like Iron Maiden, but this lyric worms its way into my head when there’s that feeling of, “This project/client doesn’t feel quite right” and the red flags are flying.
5. Done, done and I’m onto the next one, Done, done and I’m onto the next one
All My Life, Foo Fighters
Summing up the hamster wheel of repetitive projects. Like writing over 3,000 product descriptions for a sex toy company. Fuck. That was a long one. And it was like eight years ago. I don’t think I’m fully recovered.
6. Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there with open arms and open eyes
Finally! A bit of bloody optimism. 😂 This one sums up the getting up and doing-the-do every day, under my own steam. It’s a nod to knowing I can take on whatever comes my way. And if there’s something that stumps me, then fuck it. I’ll find a way of dealing with it and learn from the experience. That’s part of being freelance. Keep showing up.
7. I get carried away, The day has gone
Sticking with the positive vibes, this one is an earworm on those good days when the time flies by.
8. Shove (Shove it, shove it, shove it)
My Own Summer, Deftones
Then there are really shit days. And this is the only fecking lyric that will do. Cranking this tune up and roaring it out on a bad day is very cathartic. I recommend you try it sometime.
9. I’m not alone ‘cause the TV’s on yeah
Bleed American, Jimmy Eat World
Freelance life? Lonely? Of course not. I have the lunchtime news every single day, and I talk to peo…. Oh, wait. Nope. That was just me listening to a phone-in on the radio.
What tunes sum up your freelance life?
Now you know a little of my internal soundtrack, I’m keen to hear yours. Is there a song or couple of songs that fit perfectly with your working life? Satisfy my curiosity by commenting below. They don’t have to be metal tunes.
Not familiar with some of my choices? I put together a Spotify playlist here. Might add to it over time, but expect it to be mostly angry, loud tunes.