Starting Out Is The WORST
Here are some things that starting out as a freelance writer feels like:
- Trying to move a very heavy piece of furniture by yourself, all day, everyday, and really fucking up your back in a chronic, long-term manner.
- Turning into a ghost, not realizing at first that you are a ghost, trying to talk to others, being ignored, and screaming into the ignoring masses until you lose your voice and have a frantic breakdown.
- Trudging through molasses that go up to your knees, but not finding an island to rest on, so it’s an especially nightmarish trudgefest.
- Failure. Long-term, utter failure.
I could not get paid real money to freelance for about a month. Eventually, I just had to accept the smallest of salaries to get good reviews on the site. Important not about freelancing via a worker database: Without a good feedback score, no one will hire you no matter your qualifications. The work that I did was ridiculous. Things like writing a 20-video course on negotiation tactics (that I was told to make up all by myself) and rewriting scientific articles (which broke my brain and nearly made me cry). Luckily, I have three long- to longish-term clients right now, all of whom pay reasonable amounts and make my life easier. Thanks to my reviews on Upwork, my freelance site, I am now considered a “Rising Talent”!
Bad Habit Hobbit Hole
I know that a hobbit hole is not like a rabbit hole, but that’s ok. I like the way it sounds. As the heading suggests, I have developed a hell of a lot of bad habits due to my current employment status. I also must interject that my 2-3 months of extreme illness have also entrenched a lot of these habits. No matter the confounding factors, these are all aided and evolved by the biz.
- Never getting dressed, ever: I work in bed and I work in pajamas. All day, ereday. I would bullet here that working in bed is a bad habit, but that’s where many great writers have claimed to do their best work (Mindy Kaling, bow down bitches) so I have no apologies for that. However, I still only get dressed when I have to go out, which is rarely.
- Never moving, like, at all: Unfortunately, when you work in bed, the only reason to move is for caffeinated beverages and the bathroom. My Fitbit numbers are beyond depressing.
- No Vitamin D: Don’t ask me the last time I spent time outside. As a freelancer writer, the limit does not exist, if you mean the limit of time spent cooped up indoors.
But, The Good Stuff!
No matter the silliness of my faux-whining above, there are also many positives about being a freelance writer! At least there are now that I’ve got the vocation on lockdown, somewhat. I will detail these highlights below.
- Never having to wear pants, ever.
- Being able to move wherever I want, whenever I want. This is super helpful since I’ll be relocating to NYC in the Jan/Feb window.
- Making my own hours. As many or few as I like at whatever time of day.
- Being my own boss, in the larger sense.
- Making good money to do writing. Seriously, way above minimum wage.
- Getting to take sick days or vacation days whenever I want.
- Taking a several hour break in the middle of the day to watch iZombie, because I can break and can’t stop watching! (Thanks for the recc, Cassandra, it’s SO DAMN GOOD!)
- Did I mention the no pants thing? The no pants thing is the best.
Where Art Goes To Die
I know that this has to do with my illness, somewhat, but this is the most frustrating thing about freelancing for me right now. I am living at home, not spending money on anything, and have been told by my parentals that it’d be cool if I used about half of my working hours to make some progress on my own stuff. I won’t have this kind of financial freedom much longer, after all. But, and here’s the big but, I’m too tired. After hours of writing quizzes, I can’t muster the spirit to write my play draft. I have written some, but not in comparison to my usual ability to churn out product. This all plays into a fundamental fear that I have, that my day job will take away my art-creating-abilities. In 1.5ish months, I will hopefully have more energy because all the toxic hormones from the Mirena will have officially left my system (we’ll cover this emotional, three-month hurricane on another day), but for now my situation leaves me feeling sad and helpless. I am trying to be kinder and more patient with myself, but it is definitely a journey. A very, very long one.
One way or another, I will have a finished play manuscript by December. I swear this solemn oath in the name of my ancestors, or, actually, the name of my childhood Yellow Lab, Charlotte. I know and like her far better than any “ancestors” of mine.