Don’t get me wrong, I worked hard and I worked long hours. I was dedicated. I created a blog which I still maintain for other writers, listing markets and links to help guide them through their journey. I created and edited an online flash fiction journal. I also spent a lot of time on writer’s message boards, giving and receiving advice and searching for markets, making friends; and yes, wasting time chit chatting.
Those days are gone. I have been forced by circumstance to support myself. I had several choices when my husband left: I could go out and get a regular job or start my advertising business back up–which I created and ran for ten years and grew to hate–or I could try to make a living as a freelance writer. I chose the latter. I had to do a lot of soul searching, for as anyone who writes for a living knows, security is not a word that applies to freelancing, or at least not to new freelancers. But I love writing. I made a commitment to myself when I gave up my advertising business that I would spend the rest of my life writing. And that is what I am going to do.
I find that the biggest challenge for me is a psychological one. It truly is mind over matter. Still, I get up everyday with a clean slate, determined that I will not give up on my dreams. I am strong, smart, industrious and a good writer. And there ARE ways to make a living writing, though what I have found is that the easiest way for a beginning freelancer is to write for the web. I get paid through Paypal for most jobs. I look for jobs that pay quickly. I write content. I have written for a soap opera site. Whatever writing I have to do to make sure the bills get paid that’s what I do; so far so good.
But I find it highly ironic that I used to be such a Prima Donna about writing for the web. When I would read post by writers on message boards who were working for very little pay I would bombast them, telling them that they shouldn’t give their work away. Now I eat crow everyday as I check the job boards and submit my beautiful words for less than I think I deserve.
I guess you could consider this a confession, the confession of a woman who is determined to make it as a freelance writer and is willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. The good news is that I no longer have the luxury of hanging out on message boards. Time is money, and the hours that I don’t spend writing for the web I spend sending out queries to magazines that pay good money. I have created a resume and am starting to get more offers for web work than I can handle. I have also learned that my background in writing ad copy in real life equates in the writing world to copywriting. Beginning copywriting, granted, but still, I’ll take whatever accolades come my way.
I realize that the road ahead is a long one but I am hopeful and excited. I know that as I continue on my journey as a freelance writer the more experience I get under my belt the more often better paying jobs will be available to me. I also know that the time will come will I will want to write new poetry and short stories, maybe even more novels, or who knows? Maybe I’ll even write a non-fiction book. The writing world is wide open before me. All I need to do is keep plugging along and not lose faith.
I am sure I am not alone in my predicament. My hope is that these words will help other writers who may be in a similar life situation. And on that note, I’d like to close this confession with a challenge. I have always firmly believed that you can do anything you set your mind to. I intend to be a shining example of exactly that. What about you?