I just finished reading The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell and found it very useful. How do I know? I made a lot of notes to follow up on.
This is a book for magazine writers, which I don’t come across too often. It takes you through the entire gamut of the magazine writing business from breaking in to collecting on unpaid invoices. It is also easy to understand, which allows you to get more from the book.
The format of the book was very easy to follow. You have chapters that group “rules” by subject. I guess the rules could be classified as the consensus thinking. I think if I had to define it idea behind the book is that there’s no one right way to do things. The authors list each rule that should be broken and why it can be broken. They also include plenty of anecdotal stories to illustrate their points, too.
I found that even when I didn’t agree with breaking the rule, the explanation often had me seeing how breaking the rule could be useful. Sometimes, I even changed my mind about breaking the rule.
In between each chapter, there’s a profile on a renegade writer. I didn’t find these particularly interesting, but I can see how some writers might find it useful. You can look at these profiles as rule breaking in action.
As I said, I bookmarked quite a few rules to follow up on and decide if I wanted to try breaking them. I may be too set in my ways to change on some things and other things are working fine for me without breaking the rule.
What I found amusing when I read is how many rules I am apparently already breaking in my magazine writing work. I didn’t think about these things being rules when I started freelancing. They were simply changes I made because they worked.
That’s what this book does well. It causes the writer to think about why they are doing something. If you can defend why you are doing with something other than that’s the way it’s done, then it is probably a rule you shouldn’t break. If you are only conducting your freelancing in a certain way because that’s what you were taught, then maybe you should try breaking a rule or two to see if it jumpstarts your business.