Monthly Archives: October 2012

When Words Fail…

I’m currently on a self-imposed, unintentional hiatus from writing. After diligently blogging, freelance writing and working on manuscripts/querying for five years, I simply…stopped. Rather than experiencing a defining moment of Today I Shall Write No More, there were a number of contributing factors.

Taking a desk job (I won’t bore you with the details aside from that fact that it sucked balls) ate up a lot of my writing time and left me exhausted. I sold my house and herniated my back within the same week. I explored my inner woo woo. My kids went from seven o’clock bedtimes to keeping Letterman hours.

Things piled up and for once I put writing at the bottom of my list. And that was okay.

Over the past few months I’ve been jotting down ideas and letting them percolate until they’re ready to be written. I’ve quit the soul-sucking-office-drone-gig day job and committed to a few freelance assignments. I have no pages to bring to the Restless Writers’ meeting, but I did write this post.

I’m dipping my toe back in the creative pool. And the water feels fine.

Vive la créativité!

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LS

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The Freelance Switch: Being scared and doing it anyway

Working from home, legs up on deskI’m no stranger to freelancing. I’ve been moonlighting as a freelance book indexer and writer for the past 11 years. And it has always been mostly manageable. Up until now, that is.

I recently made the decision to leave a stable, comfortable and well-paying role in communications to focus on my freelance work. Trying to be kick-ass in two careers was getting too challenging, and I decided the time was right to choose the path that was the best fit for my strengths, skills and passion. Today marks the two-week countdown to owning my days.

The people in my network who know about my moonlighting side say it’s about time. I have wanted to strike out on my own for as long as I can remember. For years I have been gobbling up books like My So-Called Freelance Life, The Anti 9 to 5 Guide, Making a Living Without a Job, and the $100 Start-up. (PS: If you know someone with as much love for the “joyfully jobless” life, tell them to connect with me on LinkedIn, because I’d love to hear their story.)

I expected to hear a lot of negative remarks from my friends and family. Instead, I got the opposite: most comments consisted of variations on “I’m so jealous” and “You’re so brave.” The ones who are jealous probably think that working from home means I’ll be enjoying long lunches and coffee breaks with the PVR, luxuriating in impromptu naptimes, and writing dazzling prose while reclining in the La-Z-Boy. Those people probably also think that Sex in the City realistically depicts a writer’s life.

The ones who said I was brave have a more realistic view of the freelance life—the ups and downs, the lack of a support system, the isolation, the uncertainty, the potential drop in personal hygiene standards. True, there are many benefits to being the captain of your own work-at-home ship, but I am still pretty anxious.

Here are the kinds of things keeping me up at night:

  • Will I forget how to act in polite company? I will probably swear a lot more than I do now.
  • Will I go a little stir-crazy? Granted, I already talk to my cats when I’m on a deadline, but what if they start talking back?
  • Will my lazy side turn out to be my dominant side? I confess to already being a champion napper, and it is very easy for me to be busy doing absolutely nothing.
  • Will easy access to the fridge make even my comfiest yoga pants feel tight? Note that said fridge is often filled with tasty pastries, sauces made with real butter, and puh-lenty of carbs. (My husband is a pastry chef. Do not envy me.)
  • Will I be able to motivate myself to be successful? Every decision will be my own, and success or failure will be up to me.

Despite all these fears and anxieties, some more serious than others, I am still making the leap. Interested in hearing how it turns out? Watch for more posts to come with the scoop on what it’s like to make the freelance switch.

Maria

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Confession Time

I dumped the entire contents of my purse on the floor of my doctor’s waiting room this week. Embarrassing? Yes. But there was a silver lining. While I was crawling on the ground (in a skirt!) gathering up the little pieces of my life, I made a few choice discoveries, including a $50 gift card for The Bay that was MIA since last Christmas and the head of my son’s much-coveted Darth Vader Lego figurine. Better than this though, I also found my ideas—long-forgotten writing ideas for book plots and characters that I’d jotted down on the back of receipts and sticky notes.

I have a habit of doing this. If you came to my house, you would find more of the same random notes on my bedside table, my phone, my laptop and in the back of my agenda for work.

This system for organizing my writing ideas is about as effective as it sounds – chaotic and unreliable. My notes, if I even remember that I’ve made them, are never where I think they should be when I want them. In fact, right now I am leafing through my agenda in search of a bright yellow sticky note that had some great ideas on it for this blog post. Ah, actually found it—crumpled at the bottom of the bag I cart back and forth to work every day.

Clearly, I am in need of some sort of system to help organize my writing. 

I turned to my fellow Restless Writers to see how they keep track of their projects.

Maria wondered if a binder qualifies as a system—I say yes. In her binder Maria says she keeps hard copies organized according to the working title of the piece, including previous versions, all dated.  Beckie relies on file folders, storing notes and papers in folders, one for each writing project.

A quick Internet search tells me there is a myriad of stuff out there for people just like me. Programs like Evernote, Mindjet, and an eBook The Oraganized Writer that promises 30 days to more time, money and less frustration. There is even a mobile app Werdsmith, created for writers to help them keep track of ideas whenever inspiration strikes.

Do others have organizing systems they’d be willing to share? What works for you?

 

 

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