Freelance Talk: One Year Full Time

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour

I just realized the other day that I was coming up on the first anniversary of going into full time freelance work and so I thought we needed to mark the occasion. One year ago today was my last working full time at the police department. I have no idea where the time has gone, it’s been such an intense year and a half of change that the months have flown by. Time for some recap and reflection!

In January of 2013, an offer of virtual assisting work (combined with training and invaluable mentoring) with friend and Friend of the Blog, Caitlin Kelly was my first chance at freelance work – look out for a couple of hopefully upcoming pieces about this on other sites! This led to other VA work, which led to content production work, which is (slowly but surely) leading to pitch work. Currently I’m working with authors, two entrepreneurial start-ups, and am subcontracted through other freelancers with multiple businesses. My writing is starting to appear on some external sites as well as I’ve learned how to pitch publications and organizations better.

I love freelance work, I love writing, and there are times I have to pinch myself to be convinced that it all isn’t a dream, joke, or prank. It’s been an uphill battle at times, but looking back, I’m really proud of where I’ve been able to get in 15 months.

I admit, sometimes there are days when I still manage to feel totally bogged down or even despondent. Student loans are still a worry, we have to budget things tightly, and there have been plenty of late nights where I’ve tried to put in as much work as possible in order to make ends meet. As I type this I’m nursing a semi-sore throat from one too many past-midnight work sessions since one of my major clients was on vacation last week and had turned over the majority of her content commitments to me to manage, in conjunction with the design team. An exciting (though thankfully temporary) jump in responsibilities that gave me a lot of good experience, but it certainly upped some of my stress levels.

And yet, in spite of financial or other worries, when I emerge from my work fog or To Do lists and look up, I’m unbelievably grateful – and totally overwhelmed by how much change a year and half has brought. I got what so many people needed: an opportunity to try and learn and attempt the kind of work I wanted. A foot in the door. And it has made all the difference. A year ago, I never would have guessed I’d be working, however temporarily, in a major magazine office today.

I was talking to an old schoolmate the other day. Back in middle school we both toted notebooks around (a la Harriet the Spy) which we filled and replaced regularly with day-to-day observations, ideas, whole short stories and – very bad – poetry. We read and critiqued one others work, encouraged each other, and both dreamed of the day when we would make our living by our pens.

Fifteen years later, we’re doing it. She works for a major cultural heritage institution drafting all kinds of content, from letters to grant proposals…and is querying her first novel. I write website copy, social media campaigns, research summations…and my articles, both personal and professional, are being seriously considered and published. It’s not at all what we thought our lives would look like at 13 years old. I think it’s better.

Today’s notebook, the inheritor of teenage ambition. A bit battered, but still stuffed full of ideas and goals – though sans bad poetry.


6 thoughts on “Freelance Talk: One Year Full Time”

  1. How cool to have been a part of your trajectory! Congrats. Wish I were there in London to raise a toast…hopefully later this year.

    Those early journals and notebooks are powerful tools. I kept mine from my 20s and found that (!) I’d predicted leaving Toronto (my hometown of 25 years) to head off for adventure; within months, I was gone to Montreal and a new job.You have to own it, name it, claim it!

  2. I think there’s a typo–you misspelled “flawless” in that bit about our poetry. I mean, “Her eyes shone like emeralds through waters deep/After dooméd Arabian dhow” is riveting verse. And that, of course, pales in comparison to your Julius Caesar quatrain.

    Wish I could attach a photo of my current notebook. I still have all my old ones (both the Notebook-notebooks and the “manuscripts”) and looking through them is always entertaining.

    Suggested new blog feature: throwback Thursdays with excerpts from middle-school notebooks. DO IT.

    1. Seriously, though. “After dooméd Arabian dhow.” What a bizarre place my 13-year-old mind was…

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