New freelance writers can learn a lot from Henry Rollins. Many people wrote Rollins off as “the guy who ruined Black Flag.” He took those early dire personal struggles–and all criticism of him as an artist– and used it all as inspiration to just keep going, battering away at a variety of projects to see what would work. Whatever you think about 70s punk, Rollins is definitely a success. He went from being an always-broke, semi-starving musical outsider to a one-man industry thanks to relentless speaking tours, small press publication, film appearances and other multi-media work.
Rollins is a force to be reckoned with when he sets his mind to putting the word out on a new project. He’s what every freelancer should be–a tireless promoter of the task at hand. Not everyone can live up to the demands of a self-employed creative person, but Rollins shows us how to do it right. Never rest, forget about self-defeating attitudes and activities. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Rollins is not the world’s greatest writer, but he’s got a real talent for non-fiction. He’s at his best when he’s writing travel pieces–his observations about life in other countries (and ours) is top notch. His fiction work is violent, transgressive and often funny, but he shows more writing prowess in his personal observations. The Portable Henry Rollins is a great primer for his work, and it is easy to take inspiration from his writing. Check out the selections from Get In The Van and his other titles…you’ll instantly get the attitude, the ferocity, the refusal to roll over and die–all the attributes a freelancer should have–or at least aspire to. You won’t learn how to make money freelance writing with this book, but you’ll take away a new sense of purpose for your own work. Rollins is infectious like that.