That is the question that the Irreverent Freelancer is asking this week. What made you want to freelance? It’s not exactly for the weak stomach or those who crumble at criticism.
My reply was long winded and involved but it had to be.
There wasn’t any one thing that brought me to this. I’ve always loved writing. I wrote for the school newspaper in high school as well as their fiction magazine, The Page. I honestly didn’t think I would do much with writing once I got out of high school. Instead I looked into getting a teaching degree or becoming a social worker. However moving out of state, getting pregnant and then married (yes, in that order), and then going back to school taught me a few things:
- I didn’t have the stomach for social work because many of the things I learned, just saddened and sickened me (especially since I was a mom now).
- Teaching didn’t seem like it was something I could do day in and day out. I love kids but I also love not having them around.
At that point though, I was pretty undecided about what to do. I was an office temp for almost 9 years while I was raising the older 3 kids and I took off a year when Shorty was born. About 2years after that I did go to school for awhile and then we moved. I had just gotten a nice job (not temping) and was in school and doing well and we moved to the country. That was when I really didn’t know what to do. I was out of work for awhile cause the commute was too long (or so I thought at the time) and the kids were still young, only one in school still… When I did find a new job I was there for almost two years and that’s when the floor fell out from under me.
I was never going to get a better job without more school, I was pregnant and had to take an early maternity leave. I knew the odds of going back to work right away were slim because there were problems with my pacemaker. I started looking into working at home, at least while I was on FMLA. When my job was “given away” and the FMLA ran out and I was no closer to being allowed to go back to work, I fell back on what I knew. Stringing sentences together and telling a good story. I can write as well as I talk, if not better so I started submitting stuff. I found blogs about writers, (which are many of the writer blogs on my blogroll), job boards, and I just started absorbing information. Almost to the day that my FMLA ended, I had my first piece of work published online at whamzone.com. Then in March when I got “The Letter” that officially stated I had been terminated; that’s when the freelance possibility really hit me. After that I sent in community news and articles to our local free paper and started making some extra money.
Once I was clear to return to work, it just didn’t seem possible (or logical). I had three in school, a hubby that worked nights, a new baby still breastfeeding, and after school programs for the kids… How was I going to do 9-5 anymore and get them where they needed to be on time? Forget it. So I spent 2006 till now muddling my way through freelancing. Last year was really I began learning how things worked and by the end of 2007, I had some regular paying clients. I had made a few mistakes and learned so much from the people I have “met” that this seems like the best thing for me.
I don’t know if I will ever meet my goal this year to be published in a national magazine but… you know what it is not really about seeing my name in gloss… well it is, but it’s about this weird ability everyone tells me that I have to tell a story. It’s about learning to control it and grow it.
It’s about teaching my kids that this is a new world we live in, my mom could have never of done what I am doing – We simply didn’t have the resources or capabilities that we have now. Going back to school is a bonus for me. I may never need that Media Writing Degree I am looking for, but if I have it and it teaches my kids a few things about family, perserverance, and hanging on to a dream or two then it was money well spent.
Aaahhh this got way off base from my original thoughts but who cares? You know why I am here now and maybe it makes sense to you and maybe I totally lost you. This post wasn’t exactly for you anyway, it was more for me. To remind myself when I have piles of articles due and Math, and Philosphy homework breathing down my neck, how I got here.
And Why I stay.