It’s June 7*, six months since I quit my editor job to become a freelance writer. I’ve learned a lot of stuff so far. Overall, the experience has been great. Here’s what I did today.
I got up at 7 a.m., took a bath and got dressed. I fed the cats their morning snack, washed the dishes, did laundry, swept and mopped the kitchen floor, and made a mango smoothie and green tea. Then I dicked around on the internet until around 9 a.m.
At 9 a.m., I worked for two hours writing Facebook posts for a copywriting client. At 11 a.m., I had a phone interview. Then I ate some leftover vegan mac and cheese and went to Loyola for a voice lesson. My teacher is really awesome. Turns out I’m a soprano, not an alto like I always thought. She said I hadn’t been using all of my voice, and it made me wonder if there are other areas of my life where that’s true, metaphorically speaking.
2 p.m. I got home and did three interviews, two for a client blog posts and one for an Advocate story. I also took a nap and played piano. Working on a Schubert impromptu right now. I finished the interviews a little after 5.
At 5:30 p.m., I worked on my novel. The last few days I’ve been outlining it using Scrivener. I just started working with the program and it’s proving useful for large structural revisions. I like being able to move around giant chunks of text. Today I wrote a new scene that might not make it into the novel at all. It was 852 words and it went well. I was pleased because it’s been a while since I wrote fiction.
Then I wrote this post. Now it’s 6:56 p.m. and Bryan and I are going to get a beer at this brewery that just opened nearby and then make dinner.
I can’t believe how much freelancing suits me. My biggest challenge is not dicking around on the internet. I could seriously knock my work out by like 3 p.m. each day and then just hang out or go to the country club or whatever if I just didn’t dick around on the internet for hours. Financially, everything is extremely stable.
I have a more intimate relationship with my craft now. Before, writing was sandwiched between commutes, and it happened in spurts between staff meetings, Rouses runs and water cooler bullshitting (yes, we really had a water cooler, and I really bullshat there). Now, I sit at the kitchen counter, open my laptop, words come out, and by some trick of late capitalism and undeserved luck, those words turn into dollars.
I often asked freelancers for advice when I was a nine-to-fiver. They always told me to go for it, that it was the greatest choice they’d ever made. So far, that feels true, but I also see the pointlessness of giving advice.
My freelance career is unique to me. Riddled with whorls and lifelines, its trajectory is as complex and winding as the inside of my hand.
*I wrote this 10 days ago but just got around to editing and posting it today.
Batches Of Beauty says
This sounds so perfect! Since I’m a new blogger looking to get into the freelance lifestyle, I have no idea where to begin.
I’m trying my best to avoid content mills!
You can definitely do this. You’re a really good writer. I actually did write for content mills in 2008-2009, when I was first getting started. The pay was so low and the work was so grinding, I did very little of it. However, just getting actual money for doing actual writing was a big deal to me. I applied for every writing gig I came across and eventually landed an unpaid internship at a local alt-weekly newspaper. I was supporting myself by stripping at the time, primarily. After my internship ended, I freelanced for the alt-weekly for about three months, and then I got really lucky when a position opened up. They hired me and I worked there for seven years (from 2009 to 2016). The whole time, I accepted freelance work when it came my way (and just being at the paper meant access to a lot of opportunities–BRIDES and Google both reached out to me and became clients). Eventually, I built up enough freelance clients to support myself–many were contacts I’d made from working at the paper. I also Airbnbed out my spare room for an extra source of income. And in December 2016, I quit my job.
Just wanted to share the story of where I began in hopes that it might be useful! Also, are you in any writers’ groups on Facebook? There’s one called Binders that is really good. It’s a great resource for women and gender non-conforming writers.
I’m glad it is working out for you! Although I miss you here at the 9 to 5. Maybe one day I’ll get confident enough to make the freelance leap someday and we can hang out around some random water cooler and bullshit, though I’ll have a baby in tow.
I will happily BS with your little Hazelnut. Miss you, too.