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🤷‍♀️ The "It's Not That Deep" Freelancing Advice

Do you find yourself overthinking everything? Same.

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Hi there,

It’s a sweltering June morning when I enter the London airport with my three girlfriends. We’re all nursing a hangover (fun), so we shuffle over to a diner and start ordering blueberry pancakes, coffee, and beans (because, you know, England).

It’s perfect hangover food, but…the soy milk in my coffee has curdled. My coffee looks borderline chunky, and it’s doing my nausea zero favors.

“I might go to Starbucks to get coffee,” I announce to Sara, Sarah, and Tasha. They’re half-listening. Figures — they’re too busy focusing on not vomiting last night’s tequila shots.

My mind starts to unleash a barrage of frantic thoughts. You said you wouldn’t spend money on coffee! You already spent $4 on coffee. You don’t need another one. Dr. Huberman said lots of caffeine isn’t good for you. But man I really really want one…

Sara glances at me. I have my head buried deep in my hands and I look as though you’ve just told me you’re going to foreclosure my house or put down my dog.

“Alice, sweetie…it’s not that deep. It’s Starbucks.” Sara says.

I lift my head up. For some reason, Sara’s remark snaps me out of hypnosis and I realize this conundrum, well…isn’t a conundrum at all.

I grab my wallet and head to Starbucks.

As wild as it sounds, this five-second exchange has since helped me better handle my overthinking tendencies. Chances are you’re no stranger to these types of thoughts:

→ Should I sign off this client email with a “Warmly” or “Kindly”? Or is that weirdly affectionate?

→ Maybe I’ll pitch this article idea to editor XYZ. But they didn’t answer my last email. They hate me, don’t they?

→ Which writing course should I purchase? The reviews on this one are solid, but the other one seems more up my alley. Or is there a better option? Time to hit Google (again).

Repeat after me: It’s not that deep.

In a lot of cases, overthinking stems from the assumption that there is one “right” way to do something. But as writer L.M. Sacasas will tell you in The One Best Way Is a Trap:

“It produces anxiety, fear, compulsiveness, resignation, and, ultimately, self-loathing. If there is ‘one best way,’ how will I know it? If I have not found it, have I failed? And is it my fault?”

The “quest for the best” is a fallacy. In reality, it’s just not that deep.

The client won’t remember how you signed off the email.

The editor doesn’t hate you. They had an inbox with x431 pitches to review.

One writing course won’t alter your life more than the next one. Start learning.

You’ll have an easier time going through life — and your business will grow x10 faster if you take messy action — by adopting the “it’s not that deep” mantra.

Because 90% of the time, you’ll completely forget what it is you were stressing over. The proof is in the pudding — I forgot my Starbucks latte in the lounge while boarding for my flight. 🙃

✍️ Quick Writing Tip

Write a story, not an essay. The (ridiculously easy) key to doing this is to set the scene by attaching a location.

Here’s an example:

Version 1) My boyfriend’s always been a generous person — almost to a fault.

Version 2) I’m in a bar in Williamsburg, watching my boyfriend grab his credit card so he can cover all seven of my friends' green tea shots, even though he just lost his job. He’s always been a generous person — almost to a fault.

The first is an essay. The second is the start of a story.

This writing tip came from Mathew Dick’s Storyworthy. I highly recommend it!

🥒 Content Diet

• 📙 The Optimization Sinkhole by Anne Helen Peterson — Are you the type of person to spend 42 minutes in an Amazon rabbit hole to find the “best” toaster? (Guilty). Then this article on why optimization is a fantasy will be very relevant.

• ✍️ How to Write Thought Leadership Content by Ryan Law — I’m a ghostwriter, so it’s only natural I bought Ryan’s course on how to write thought leadership content. Ryan is an excellent teacher and shows you thought leadership doesn’t have to be cringe.

• 🧍‍♀️How to Stand Out on LinkedIn With Hala Taha by Financial Feminist — If Twitter’s rebrand to “X” pissed you off and convinced you to start posting on LinkedIn, this podcast episode is brimming with valuable LinkedIn tips.

Thanks for reading!

I’ve decided to remove the freelancing section (for now) and instead dive deeper into stories on freelancing, writing, and creativity up above. Hopefully, it’s your vibe. 🤞

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Have a beautiful rest of your week, wherever you are! If you enjoyed this newsletter, why not share it with a writer friend? 🙂 

Stay Creative,

Alice 💌

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