A Freelance Life for Me


Earlier I was reading Elizabeth at Fluent and she had mentioned how she had recently left her full-time reporting job so she could write freelance and have more time to write creatively. A year ago I felt as she did: “I put my whole self into it . . . The problem with my job was that I could not put my whole self into it. A part of me was . . . always wanting to spend more time writing creatively. I have been frustrated by my lack of time, and specifically by my lack of writing time.”

After nine years of daily journalism, I had become just as frustrated as she was; I was writing — sometimes relatively creatively — regularly for my job, and trying to write my own stuff at home. The job had other stresses and frustrations, details of which I won’t go over here. Largely, though, I was frustrated by the lack of time I had to write creatively; it was Catch-22 for me — I had to work full time to support any creative writing I did on my own. Then came an opportunity to teach writing at a local community college here in Central Texas. It was an adjunct position, so also theoretically gave me time to write freelance. But, the time wasn’t there. On days I wasn’t teaching, I was grading three sections’ worth of papers. Hunting freelance work dropped low on my list of things to do.

Then came the surprise — my classes for the spring semester didn’t make, and I was out what was essentially serving as a full time salary. At the same time, I began to pick up freelance gigs, one of which was fairly steady, at least until the editor moved on. None were lucrative enough to make it worthwhile to try to write freelance full time, not without substantial savings, and I had to spend time between writing assignments looking for full time work.

Now I have a full time job as an editor in textbook publishing, and while I’m working with words, editing is never the same as writing (except I do write an awful lot of copyright permission requests, keep track of freelancers by e-mail, and write an occasional business blog post). I’ve been missing writing regularly — I have this blog, and I’m beginning revisions of the final draft of my novel. But writing for pay — writing as a journalist, I’ve missed that. I’ll be getting to do that part time again as a freelancer; I’ve picked up a column for a new arts paper, The City Review, in Waco, Texas, where I live. I’m looking forward to my first story — I’m planning to write about the Texas Book Festival in Austin the first weekend in November. It’s exciting to get the opportunity to write more, and I hope to begin picking up more assignments with the Review as well as trying to get assignments and pitch stories to any publication that will have me.

And if anyone has any suggestions for future stories, or freelance resources, let me know — I’m ready to write, and I need the extra money.

Todd

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