How Writing Allows You to Showcase Your Unique Self

Mindy McHorse

There’s a common misconception among people pursuing the writer’s life …

It’s that one day, you’ll figure it all out. Get it right. Hit the Promised Land.

Not to be a bucket of ice water on your dreams, but … there’s no such thing.

If there’s one thing I’ve figured out after years of making my living as a writer, it’s this: There is no endpoint. No platinum level of achievement. No finish line.

But what you get instead is SO MUCH BETTER. That is … as long as you let your freak flag fly.

Here’s what I mean …

Making your living as a writer blurs the lines between profession and identity. Unlike people who clock out, shed their uniforms, or pull off a badge at the end of the day, your “writer’s brain” never turns off. (This annoys my husband to the max — you’ll hear more about why tomorrow.)

As writers, we get to pursue projects that align with our dearest interests. So taking time out from writing to garden or build a model ship easily circles back around to writing about it.

Similarly, every conversation overheard is a potential seed for an article. Or a headline. Or even the plot to a full-blown book!

This means your journey to success as a writer is often taken alongside your journey to success as a freelancer or entrepreneur. I’ll concede that yes, the craft of writing — and copywriting in particular — can be learned. By anyone.

But a successful career in paid writing requires a few other things. Like heart, soul, and dedication. Confidence is another biggie. Courage helps a lot.

Which brings me back to the freak flag concept. Jimi Hendrix first sang about it in 1967. David Crosby mentioned it in his 1970 song, “Almost Cut My Hair.” Shrek: The Musical ran on Broadway in 2008 with an entire song devoted to it.

“Flying your freak flag” is a modern take on authenticity. It’s about being okay with who you are. It means to stand tall with pride for what you offer the world.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a writer, or you dream of becoming one. And that, my friend, is your freak flag. It’s something that makes you a little different from the normal, workaday world. The things we want aren’t exactly in line with the status quo. For starters, we don’t believe in settling. We know we’ve got what it takes to bring about radical, out-of-the-ordinary change in our lives …

And to pull it off, we have to let our freak flags fly.

So my question to you for today is this: What does it mean for you to succeed as a writer? If you put yourself out there, what would your authentic professional writer’s life look like?

Remember, you’re answering this question for you, not anyone else. Think of it as the first step toward satisfying authenticity … not to mention an insanely gainful New Year.

What would it mean to you to “fly your freak flag” and be the writer you dream of being? I’d love it if you tell me below.

The rest of this week, I plan to show you how to make that vision a reality.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

Click to Rate:
Average: 4.7
Published: December 28, 2015

29 Responses to “How Writing Allows You to Showcase Your Unique Self”

  1. It would mean laying aside the commentators and nay-sayers in my brain, and allowing my true personality to shine.
    It would mean stepping out of my comfort zone to find excitement in creating something unique. It would mean new confidence in my abilities and a different attitude towards work. In short, it would mean an internal revolution, which, by the way, is about to take place- or should I say, which is now taking place!


  2. Ah yes! What would flying MY freak flag look like? It would look like a steamy cup of coffee on my right, my feet curled up under my chair, and me in my comfortably worn sweats smiling a satisfied (and slightly harried)smile as I thank GOD for His blessings. I know that it doesn't matter what time of day it is, or what time of year it is. I can spend time with my Mom, pay ALL the bills, watch my favorite shows or plan a vacation at my leisure. My retirement is not scary. I'm free and SO happy...

    Guest (LyndaK)

  3. Flying MY "freak flag" is all about the bigger picture. Something in which trying EVERYTHING on just a few things is much more important than justifying EVERYTHING for but a thing or two to finally work. An architect/artist, for example, for whom accomplishments in ALL building types -- whose drawings and paintings routinely hang in galleries -- is more geared for the aspirations better suited for posterity and not necessarily what's successfully bent for merely making a presence known.

    Guest (Chris Morris)

  4. Succeeding as a writer, for me, would mean that I would be able to earn a living working in a craft that moves me. I would never find myself begrudgingly getting out of bed -- even with a deadline looming.


  5. Star Wars is Truly a Great theme, the connective tissues that bind man with the stars in the heavens. To discover, that New Creature, within the children of men. The indicator species observed, but never spoken of. foretold from long ago. eluded to, but never pointed out. shadows of things to come. That which is in part, has been done away. The Day Star appears from Time to Time bearing gifts to men. So much to share, where to begin ? at the beginning ! Chosen before the world began.


  6. I live in australia. I am told I write screeds when its just supposed to be a common old garden variety email, I have that much stuff going on inside myself that it has to surface one way or another so my friends and others get a book instead of a "Hi hows it going" I love to write. I do not know if Ive got what it takes but in saying that I take what I get and am ok with it.
    I dont really know what copywriting is. so is there any call for this kind of work here.

    Guest (Gail)

  7. Despite the bucket of ice water thrown over my head, I took steps today to live the writer's life. I wrote freestyle for thirty minutes in my growing notebook of blog ideas and rough draft articles. If I can achieve financial freedom it will mean being able to buy a decent car, spending more time with my eleven year old, starting my farmette and waking to write with the chickens crowing and my garden blossoming. It will mean being able to relieve my husband's chronic pain with measures beyond our grasp right now. More frequent visits with family. And, tears in my eyes, having money to give to those in need! So, thanks for the bucket, Mindy!

    Julia D

  8. My freak flag would be to have enough money to get out of the 7:30 am to 6:00 pm grind. To get away from the employee versus the employer drama.
    To wake up every morning with my cup of coffee and pound out these words that keep swirling in my head. Get dressed when I feel like it. Jump in my car and go out into public to talk to people, with my camera in hand.
    Then come home and fix a nice dinner for me and my husband. And finally sit down to write about my day. Everyday!

    Rhonda LD

  9. Hi, Mindy! For me, 'letting my freak flag fly' means having the guts to step out there and talk to anyone and everyone about my ideas, and especially to potential clients, without worrying about 'selling' myself, or getting it right, or impressing them. Just enjoy being myself, and learning from the reactions of others. Ultimately, the 'freak flag' thing means aligning my Self with my work, something I've sought my entire life.

    Joyce H

  10. I'd travel constantly writing about what I see, helping readers to see the same thing in their mind's eye. That you, Mindy, and Happy New Yea.


    Guest (George White)

  11. To inspire,excite and mentor in a manner that benefits and positively effects people to live a more informed and possibly less stressful and less complicated lives. To write copy as well to bring humor into peoples lives.

    Guest (Tommy)

  12. Flying my "freak flag" to me means FREEDOM!
    Freedom to be me...authentic!
    Freedom from performing as a perfectly polished and poised professional while politics, students, administration pile on garbage and stress.
    Freedom from the commute.
    Freedom to take care of me with walks on the beach, yoga, or hikes on the mountain trails.
    Freedom to use my writing gift on interesting topics with variety of subjects.
    Freedom to travel.
    Freedom financially to have the life I"ve dreamed of.

    Sarah Zamzow

  13. Hi, Mindy. My freak flag already flies up here in the Black Hills of South Dakota,as you can tell by my "display name". It is an abbreviated form of "An Itinerant Poet without Itinerary", which I thought was appropriate when I went roving in my 5th wheel and F250. It is very pretty,Custer State Park and other recreation areas abound. But I'm tired of being the only new gal in a tiny town, flying her freak flag, ripe for gossip.I seem to be a lot more interesting than I had ever realized.

    Carrie the Itinerant Poet


    Guest (Marianne)

  15. I was in a bad motorcycle accident several years ago and "Flying my Freak Flag" would mean being able to finally get off the meager Social Security Disability benefits that barely keep my afloat. Since I signed up for The Barefoot Writer a week ago I have been reading every piece of info on the site and I'm getting more excited every day. I can't wait to unfurl my flag.

    Guest (Dion)

  16. Writing is an opportunity to spread my wings and fly into the galaxy of verbal sights and sounds. It is a plausible adventure that has the potential to free me to give to my family and to charitable groups in a more abundant measure. I have had so many opportunities to explore and develop hidden gifts in me, and this is one more that I have been challenged to do.


  17. I've played "the game", but after re-inventing myself several times I came to realize of late that I was not enjoying myself. So, this time around, I'm going to do something for me.
    I love words and the importance they have in communication.
    I love the exchange of ideas and how words permit us to move forwards.
    Yep! This time is for me. And boy am I ready!

    Mike Shepherd

  18. i guess my freak flag is that my dream life style is half way between the mountainman life style and the average barefoot writer life style.
    i'm finding so many different ways to make money if you have land, to find that i can make money by using my main hobby (writing) i get to have a few less worrys in the future.
    writing goes from just a hobby for fun to a future income sourse that doesn't mean i'm coupted up most of the day to make a hard dollor.

    Guest (multyfangirl writer in texas)

  19. Freak flag. I like that term.
    My freak flag would be to make the transition fully from freelance writer to copywriter and without working TOO hard, increase my income enough for my husband to take retirement a couple years early and move to (or at least winter) in a tropical location where I could continue to serve a steady stream of clients.
    And hell, just to keep it going...maybe I'd be writing some of these inspiring posts along the way. Now that's freaky!

    Guest (Pauline Clark)

  20. The Freak Flag Have you ever had something to say yet couldn't quite put the verbiage, good enough to your liking, to your mouth to express it? However, when you went into your "space" and began to scribe there was a flow that seemed natural, right, freaky, and "you". Well then you have an idea of the opportunities writing professionally would provide like personal and financial freedom, to expand my knowledge, and to help and inform others via the written word. Freak Flag flying high!


  21. before gaining money I would like to thanks to those who help us to make it perfect.
    but I ask for more help supports and encouragement

    Guest (Ahmed)

  22. To be able to make a living...
    Doing something you love...
    At home or on the road...
    Wherever you are...
    Build your career around your life...
    Not your life around your career...

    How rewarding is that?

    Paul J Vigeant Jr

  23. At the moment, my checking account consists of 35 cents! Therefore, I have no money at the moment to take advantage of your offers and classes. I would, however, like to learn how to become a copywriter. Do you have any advice for cash poor beginners?

    I do have a blog site: duncanmindbodyhealthblog dot com

    What are my options for increasing my income?

    Thank you in advance.


    Guest (Beth Duncan)

  24. To fly my own freak flag?

    Writing website content, on topics that nourish me,like holistic health self-empowerment. With my knack for teaching/entertaining/storytelling, helping people to to live delightful lives.

    Time and money to be with family, friends, when and where we'd like.

    Time for my many interests (organic gardening, fun electronics, woodworking, playing/recording music, energy-efficient clean energy homes, hangliding, exploring consciousness), and writing about them.



  25. Flying my freak flag will mean finally, working from home, on my own schedule. Family and friend time will be a priority as well as volunteering for worthy causes. I'll take a "writing vacation" once or twice a year... or maybe more... I have a feeling I will enjoy traveling more then I knew I would! Feeling so blessed to find this opportunity where I will finally make a living while using my love of writing and some marketing skills I've used over the years. Looking forward to it, big time!!


  26. Flying my freak flag means to me, that I will finally be able to write about inspirational things in live. Motivating people with my writings and coaching them to find their own niche in life.

    Writing means to me to be free and work on my own time with no boss looking over my shoulders. Enjoying the blessings God has giving me. Using HIS gift to give to others.

    Writing means to do what I love and to build my career from home. ON MY OWN TIME.

    This is the blessing I look forward to.

    Guest (Gabriele)

  27. Flying my Freak flag will mean to me to retire comfortably. Instead of working at a dead-end job, I could have financial independence through living the writer's life. That would allow me to spend more time with friends, family, and to attend more activities at my church. In other words: to have a life!

    Guest (thomas)

  28. It means that I won't need to waste anymore time trying to fit into the workforce where I have not succeeded and spending my time doing one of the things I love the most-writing. I can then take care of myself better. Most of all I can hope to travel and write about it. Writing should give me the opportunity to accomplish more than I've been able to so far and stop having to worry about the future.

    Tamara Kratzer

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)

This name will appear next to your comment.

Your email is required but will not be displayed.

Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters

Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)