The tea kettle whistle blows warning me of imminent boiling water. If I’m not quick, it will boil over and extinguish the life of the pilot light on the gas stove. The water has reached the tipping point, ready to mix with freshly roasted ground coffee beans for a warm wake up this Monday morning.
Not too long ago, I too, was at a tipping point and things I’d long dreamed of began to come to fruition. But days hard won, do not come easily. I woke at the break of dawn each morning for months, created my list of the day’s writing assignments, and typed until my eyes grew heavy once again. I was becoming a freelance writer, a caterpillar in the cocoon.
Reading writing blogs and job descriptions on this journey, I find it worrisome “no experience necessary is often interjected. In my experience, even those with no experience require some type of training. Perhaps, these job description authors mean to say you don’t need to be a subject matter expert. But, be willing to research and just for a day, learn all you can about the topic. Step into that industry’s shoes and move about, feel what they feel, learn what they learn, absorb. On the flip side, keep your writing tight, write and re-read your work with your audience in mind.
Writing is hard. It is a baring of the soul, whether you realize it or not. No matter what you’re writing about, to write it well, you do live it, if only for a moment. The call to write is a cathartic exercise for many. It can be done from anywhere; whether journaling, keeping a diary or stream of conscious gibberish – anything to make sense of the plans and ideas going ‘round your head.
But, freelance writing can be just as stressful as any other job. The writer is now a business owner, accountant, collector, project manager and lawyer; responsible for contracts, taxes, and collections and making sure their product is well written, on-budget, edited, proofed, and submitted on time. Freelance writers must be communicators. The Freelancer’s Union’s campaign freelance isn’t free has been a boon to the freelance economy, but there is still some educating to do.
Somewhere along the way in the melee of working toward making writing career, the joy of writing can get lost in the chaos of the workweek. In an attempt not to lose my desire to write, I devised a new mantra. On Sundays, I write for me.
Sunday. Roll it around on your tongue, soak up its meaning. Sunday is a day of rest. No worlds were created in my six days, but I could create one on the seventh. I would tell a story of my own making, no research required, no keywords or hyperlink, just a bit of world building flush with rich characters. Everyone I meet, every experience, every what if an opportunity to explore the unknown. From Monday to Saturday, I’m happy to write about the most mundane and most exciting topics, but on Sundays, I write for me.