Tuesday, March 11, 2008

freelance writing & other disguises

Having a multitude of thoughts today, as usual. It's warm out, and sunny (ah, the glories of daylight savings time for our non-agrarian country--it's silly, but I do love all the "extra" light), and life is just so full! Hmm, I think I've been bitten by springtime follies and excitement, and it's not even officially springtime yet. I am, of course, supposed to be working on deadlines, but here it is after 5 p.m. and I haven't even cracked open the files yet. Ahem. But it's a beautiful spring day, she whines! Note that I am at my laptop, inside, and actually writing at the moment. But I'm writing in my nonpaying (although much-loved), deadline-free blog as well as (gasp) web surfing, as a friend who just walked by and came in to say howdy pointed out. (I'm also listening to the quiet background hum of Lakshmi Singh's voice on NPR--can I count that as time well spent?) Anyway....

So I was just checking out some other people's thoughts on freelance writing and blogging (see here, and here, and here, for a brief example of some of my procrastinatory habits) and triggered my own juices as well.

I am a freelance writer. Does that mean I make my entire living from it? No. Does that mean that I spend all my time writing, looking for writing jobs, or setting up my freelancing website? No. But I am still a freelance writer, and I have the invoices and lovely checks to prove it, baby. I also have the background (insatiable reader, long-time writer, worked in the industry for years, etc.) and the definite desire to make my own way in the world, unencumbered by the tyrannical purview of dictatorial bosses. Hee hee.

However. I freely admit that the solitary life of the writer isn't necessarily all that. Have I ever longed for the camaraderie of some of my day jobs? The silly office gossip that spiced up the required hours of attendance? The steady gratification of paycheck, perks, and paid time off? Yes, yes, and yes. Sometimes I still do, especially in my down moments (They happen. Just ask my friend David and he'll tell you all about my moods, to which he is subjected on the phone from 2,000 miles away.) Give me the title! The salary! The peace of a daily purpose! My mother encourages all this too, with typical motherly love and concern. (Thanks, Mom. It's really very sweet!) And I do, in fact, have a "day job" at the moment, which fulfills many of my needs (especially the money part, of course.)

Writing as solitary profession is hard for most people. Even right now, I am in a coffeehouse, surrounded by others and their energy, and I find it buoys me. But still. I long to be a professional writer, which means to me that my entire income is derived from my writing, preferably both freelance and fiction. (See earlier posts about my fictional aspirations.) And that, my dears, demands time alone, writing. Even if I am in a public place, surrounded by others. (Who, oddly enough, are all also on laptops, lost in their own worlds of whatever they are doing, fingers tapping away on their keyboards, occasionally chuckling out loud at some hidden wonder on their screens. It's amusing.)

All right. I have expounded with brilliance on the state of being a freelance writer. Now I do need to get back to the nuts & bolts of said endeavor, and actually write something that will pay me, all the while apparently disguised as a student or other coffeehouse lurker, as I have decided most of my fellow chair-sitters in here are. Although I may do just a little more surfing first... It's research. Really.

Oh, and by the way, check out my friend Rachel's new blog, Be Whole Now. Cool stuff. She's also a writer, and woman who wears many hats.

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