Freelance writers sometimes get a bad rap, especially those of us who write web content. Even close friends and family members can be surprised by the amount of time the average freelancer spends online. Some of us have been accused of wasting our time playing games, and told to get a life – or at least a “real” job. But when it comes to the Facebook “Numbers in Status” game, writers can play along guilt-free. Here are some of the benefits that make this fun exercise a productive activity for freelance writers.
Facebook numbers game develops writing skills
Writers of all kinds use writing challenges and prompts to help develop our writing skills, and this game is a good example of a challenge that demands we hone these skills. The Facebook numbers in status game is a challenge: receive a concealed number from a known contact, then write in just a few sentences what you think of that person. Post the number and description to your Facebook status, and see if other friends can guess who you were writing about. For more on the game, and tips for the best game play, please see Jaipi Sixbear’s article on the subject.
If you think it sounds easy, think again! You can’t reveal too much, or the person’s identity will be revealed too soon. But try to write a brief and unique description for a dozen or more of your closest writing friends! We share the same profession, many of us have similar interests, and some share similar life stories. Composing several descriptions without using too much overlap is tough! And you want them to be interesting, so other friends will read and try to guess who you’re writing about. This is no walk in the park! And it’s done with the restriction that the description has to fit into a status update. Plus there’s a pressure to respond fairly quickly, while others are interested in playing the number game. I can think of a lot of reasons this game could be a serious tool for writers. You will use these skills in your work, trust me!
Numbers in status game is “writerish”!
Participating in the Facebook number game is a community building experience. Some of my writing friends have been very touched by the answers they received from fellow freelancers. At least one was moved to tears. It’s been fun to guess along with my friends, and try to discover who was being described. But even more than that, it’s been a way to learn more about other writers as people. And it’s a wonderful way for us all to show we care about and support each other. As Kathy Faust and Suzanne Alicie like to say, it’s a writerish thing to do!
The numbers in status game can boost self-esteem, and it makes us stronger as a group. It may also help some of us to meet one or more new writers. I know I had a very interesting exchange with Kel McCollum as a result of this Facebook game! We had only connected in passing up until now, but her description of me led to a conversation in which she shared insights with me and I gave her feedback as to the accuracy of her thoughts about me. This conversation has opened the door for us to get to know each other better, and I look forward to seeing where our friendship will take us!
Facebook numbers in status game raises awareness
As mentioned above, freelance writers and producers of web content can be looked down upon. It’s really tough to do that when you start reading the comments produced during the playing of this Facebook game. Looking through just a handful of the numbers in status comments reveals how much love and respect freelancers have for their colleagues, and how we look to one another for both inspiration and support. There are many who have expressed admiration for another’s talent or success, countless who have spoken about the dedication of one writer to our community or of the amount of time and energy one writer will devote to promoting and mentoring new writers.
Some freelancers, you will discover, have friendships that reach back to childhood – like my own relationship with Angie Mohr. Some writers only know one another online, but have very close relationships all the same. The thing so many of us have in common is that we are part of a supportive community. We spend our days encouraging each other to set and meet goals, reading and promoting each other’s work, and learning from one another – sometimes lessons in writing, sometimes about how to live life gracefully. We are not a clique, despite what some may think. And although we are known for our ability to deliver a well targeted critique when it’s called for, so many among us are approachable and helpful people who spend more of their fair share of time trying to help others. Read the comments in the Facebook status updates, and you will see how much we care about one another as people.
If you are not a freelance writer, take advantage of the numbers in status game to get to know the freelancers around you. If you are a writer, play this Facebook game to your heart’s content! It’s a great writing and promotion tool, and you should indulge absolutely guilt-free. You’re not wasting time on social networking and games; you’re working on your writing career!