This was something I had originally posted on the main After Graduation site, when it was set up like a blog instead of an article bank. It’s such a good piece that I didn’t want it to get lost forever, so I decided to repost it here for you all!

Yes, I was a rockstar for Halloween one year in college.

You might be new to this biz, but it won’t be long before you start seeing the term “rock star” thrown around online in relation to writers. Clients advertise wanting a “rock star writer.” Some bloggers call themselves “rock star bloggers.” Just look through the archive of your favorite writing site (other than this one, of course), and you’ll probably find at least one reference to “learning to be a rock star.”

But you know, I’ve read some bad things about that term too. It rubs some writers the wrong way to be called rock stars. Rock stars drink and party and generally participate in a lot of shenanigans. Rock stars produce crappy sub-par music to feed the needs of fans. Rock stars are rarely long-lived, and their careers typically end on an episode of I Love the ’90s or Celebrity Rehab. At least, that’s the pessimistic view of the life of a rock star, and although there’s definitely truth in those statements, that’s not the whole story.

At the end of the day, I’ll admit it…yeah, I want to be a rock star freelancer.

Yeah, you’ve got your rock stars who are washed-out nobodies, hooked on drugs and planning an eighth comeback tour that they hope will work this time. But look at who else is out there. The greats, like David Lee Roth, Axl Rose, Keith Richards, even Elton John for christ’s sake…they’re still around, and they still rock. I’m not saying that these guys are perfect, but I think striving for perfection in life is pretty much a waste of time anyway. And then check out the rock stars of today. Not everyone is wasted all the time or on drugs. Not everyone is pumping out generic music (*cough*Nickelback*cough*).

I want to be a rock star freelancer, because this is what the term “rock star” means to me:

  • People know you, respect you, and try to emulate you. You get to be a role model, and you get to inspire others to reach for their rock star dreams too.
  • You’re paid well for the job you do. No one wants to struggle, and when you’ve reached “rock star” status, you don’t have to worry about debt collectors anymore. You even have enough money to make positive differences in the world.
  • You spend every day doing what you love. David Risley talks a lot about starting a blog to get rid of the “J-O-B” and he’s right - it sucks to go into an office job every day and completely hate your life for eight hours. If you’re a rock star, your J-O-B is to rock out! And for us, that means that we make a living writing. How f’ing awesome is that?
  • You leave a legacy. No one remembers the guys who didn’t make it. Good or bad, though, everyone remembers the rock stars. When you’re gone, don’t you want your writing to live on? I sure as hell do.

There’s a reason people dream of becoming rock stars when they are kids. I think, as we grow up, we realize that there’s bad that comes with the good. At the same time, reaching that “rock star” level means that you’re on the top of your game as a freelancer. Clients advertise for writers who are rock stars because they want that - someone who is the absolute best at what they do and really excited about doing it.

So, to all those who are weirded out by the term or feel rubbed the wrong way when they hear it…listen, I’m not trying to make enemies here. Certain terms have certain connotations to people. But in my world, being a rock star is awesome. And awesome? That’s my middle name.

Rock on, readers. \m/

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