🗺 Left to Discover, Not Forced to Learn | Internetly Vol. 73
How to write elegantly, approach the creative process, and prepare for a potential client call.
Greetings from NYC!
I’m back in Brooklyn after a month sauntering around Brazil. I celebrated Carnaval in Caraiva, a seaside village in the south coast of Bahia. To get here, you go on a 2.5 hour car ride from Puerto Seguro airport, cross a river in a canoe, and then finally catch a buggy.
The canoe to get to Caraiva
As you can imagine, there are few tourists here. When I spoke English, some Brazilians couldn’t believe their ears. “How did you find this place?” one asked in bewilderment.
Being a fish out of water is a humbling experience. There were many times I’d stare in doglike confusion when spoken to in Portuguese or have zero idea what I’d ordered (I found out the hard way what cachaça was).
Yet, that’s what traveling is for. To be left to clumsily discover new things (including language and liquor), rather than forced to learn them in a classroom or cubicle.
“I love that you asked me the word for ‘gum’ before going into the store by yourself to get some,” said Shandra, my Brazilian friend who I was traveling with. “You don’t need me to come with you.”
Do I look like an idiot to the cashier when trying to pronounce ‘chiclete’? Yes. But these actions, no matter how trivial, are acts of courage that eventually compound to influence a personality.
As Derek Sivers recently said on The Pathless Path podcast:
“When you book a one-way flight…it changes how you see yourself. You’re like, I am a person that did that. I am now adventurously living far from home. I’m here by myself….It changes all these internal self representations and now you see yourself as the courageous, self-capable hero.”
While asking for gum in Portuguese may not seem like a heroic feat, it’s the willingness to step out of one’s comfort zone and accept embarrassment that helps you become a person you can rely on.
So the next time you travel, don’t be afraid to stick out like a sore thumb. It’ll shape you in more positive ways than meets the eye. 🌷
Olive Diamond - Belt of Venus, 2022
✍️ Quick Writing Tip
To infuse your writing with elegance, use the second-order description technique. As coined by Julian Shapiro, this is when you describe the impact of said thing rather than outright saying it.
The further you’re able to stray from explicitly mentioning said thing — while still allowing the reader to grasp what you’re saying — the more poetic your writing becomes.
Inspired by Julian Shapiro.
🥒 Content Diet
📚 What’s Our Problem? A Self-Help Book For Societies by Tim Urban – Tim Urban is a brilliant writer. For 6 years, he researched everything from evolutionary psychology to neuroscience to figure out why our society is in the position it’s in today. You’ll not only feel smarter after reading this, but get some good laughs out of it, too.
📻 How John Mayer Approaches the Creative Process — The world is at your fingertips. What will you create? If that’s intimidating, John Mayer has a special technique to hone your creative process.
🕊The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Twitter by Me - Shameless plug. If you’d like to use Twitter to supercharge your freelance writing business, I got you. Twitter can help you land dream clients, build a brand, and hit six figures. Since you’re an Internetly subscriber, you have the code “Internetly” for 40% off. :)
And now, Feeding the Mind Fish by Worry Lines:
✍🏼 Freelancing Journey
This Week: How to Prepare For a Potential Client Call
I had a call with a potential client a few days ago and found myself feeling…pretty nervous. I’d followed them on social media for a while and was a fan of their writing, so to connect with them felt surreal.
To prepare, I went to good ole’ YouTube and found this video by the freelance master Chris Do. They roleplay a potential client call where the client doesn’t want to pay more than they absolutely have to (sound familiar?).
What a goldmine. The main lesson is to diagnose first, always. This means asking a new client as many questions as possible to determine their problem before you offer them your solution.
I mean, imagine you went to the doctor and the first thing they said to you was, “You have the flu.” You’d be like, “Wait, what? But you haven’t even heard me out!” 👩⚕️
Your client wants to feel respected. Listened to. Appreciated. The way you do that?
Through clear, calm, and communicative questions.
Here are a few of my favorites from Do:
➜ “You have a whole team of in-house freelancers. Why are you outsourcing?”
➜ “So if I’m hearing you correctly, your problem is [X]. Is that correct?”
➜ “How can we make this a home run for you?”
Regardless of whether I seal the deal with this client, an interview is never a waste of time — it’s a priceless opportunity to practice your craft and persuasion skills.
Jacques Villon (French, 1875-1963), The Game of Chess, 1904
That’s it this week, folks.
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Wishing you a beautiful week, wherever you are.