The Dreaded F-Word
I have read that in marketing and ad campaigns the writer should never use the F-Word. It may be appropriate in some circles or industries, but when writing ad copy, it is advisable to eschew the F-Word.
Freelance. “Freelance” indicates that your business venture is not to be taken seriously. When I started On the Mark Writing, I thought put on all my marketing collateral “Freelance Writer,” thinking that it would be an enticement for those “creatives” whose forte was not writing to hire me. My thinking was, no sick-time, no insurance, no vacation-pay… (As it turns out, industry-types weren’t really all that worried about those things.)
J. Christopher Hippler wrote an article in an article of the use of the F-Word in the January/February 2007 Southeast issue of Create Magazine.
“‘Freelance is another word for unemployed,’ [advertising] agency cats would say,” says Hippler. That may be true, and people in the arenas of writing or photography know that being a freelancer can be wonderfully profitable, but at other times, it provide them with such little cashflow that checking to see if the electricity is still on at the house seems like an adventure!
A friend of mine who is also a copywriter has a different take on the issue of the F-Word; he said that industry-types (graphic designers, writers, photographers) probably know not to use the word freelance in advertising, but outside of them, the majority of the public doesn’t have such an aversion to the word. Typically, when I tell people what I do for a living, I say I’m a writer. Usually, acquaintances ask what I’ve published, or if I work for a newspaper. That’s when I break down and tell them I’m a freelancer. To them, though, it doesn’t mean unemployed; it just means I don’t have a job to go to every morning outside the house. (It also means the only commute I have is to my son’s school and back. That’s priceless!)
What are your conceptions about the word “freelance?”
How ’bout it?