Freelance Fancies?

This is how freelance writers spend their time, right?

One of the things that has crossed my mind, as I’m sure is has for most people in my field, is the idea of freelance writing. And why not? When you can make upwards of $1 per word/$100 an article/$50 an hour from major clients. You have your own schedule, mostly, and can even do it from home in a lot of cases. What’s not to like?

Well, for starters, it’s a business that’s saturated at the moment. In 2006 there were a reported 135,000 freelance writers. Six years later, what do you think will have happened to that number? This can be discouraging for the blossoming writer. It can really seem like it’s impossible to be noticed out of hundreds of thousands of people.

To make things worse, because there are so many writers,  you have to be great. I mean really great. You have to be an excellent, fluid writer with the balls the size of a bull and an aggressive personality that still seems employable. I mean, you don’t actually want to come off as a jerk. Just like you have the propensity for it. Of course, if you’re content with snagging a low-profile job every so often to supplement your income, then mediocrity is perfectly acceptable. If you want to score that job writing for Oprah.com I saw posted today…well…you better be just fabulous.

So how do you even get started?

  • Have a very nice, tailored resume.
  • Have a writing portfolio to show off your work
  • References are a plus
  • Relevant education
  • Relevant experience
  • Specialty
  • Huge balls as mentioned previously

I think the most serious factor in preventing me from attempting it at all is the fact that you can’t really say that I have a portfolio. I have the resume. I have my degree. I have a small amount of copy writing experience. I have a professor as a reference.  I haven’t really chosen a specialty, but a considering copy writing/grant writing/technical writing/online writing courses. I just don’t really have the portfolio. I mentioned yesterday that I have my coursework, all of it, from college. Saved all my papers. But emailing my college essays and research papers and critical analyses to Oprah (or rather, the person who runs her website) is nauseating. Not that they’re bad or anything. I just really doubt the webzine/website/magazine editors of the world want to read about various motifs  present in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. And, while a piece of that nature would show off my grammar and writing style, it would hardly make anyone go “Oh yes, she’s just perfect for the job writing about weight loss.”

So what in the world do I do? Should I just pick random topics, write about them, and send those in? Hope I find a place that doesn’t require you to send a portfolio (ha!)? Or just mope?

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Failure Frenzy

We just went grocery shopping. And even though we saved a total of $32 ($10 of that was coupons! Oh yeah!), I’m still having a minor panic attack about spending money. Granted, food is kind of a necessity. It isn’t like I went out and spent almost $200 on shoes or home decor or something. But swiping that card and knowing I have a little less money is painful.

As a result, I start struggling with the idea of being a failure. I mean, it’s been 2 whole weeks and I don’t have a new job! In fact, I lost the other job! I must suck.

While my release from my prior job was considerably unjust and an attempt by my former employer to cut some costs, I can’t help feeling like if I had been better he would have kept me on. Of course it doesn’t help that I was literally the most expensive employee he had out of 2 stores, next to the manager above me. And he would have to be completely insane to let that manager go. Chris has been there 6 years. He lived in Georgia for 2 months and opened a store that isn’t even in his region. All because our boss asked him to. He does all of the catering and is perfectly okay with working upwards of 70 – 80 hours in one week. Like I said, Chris is not going anywhere.

I, on the other hand, was an hourly employee and not on salary like Chris. I couldn’t work more that 45 hours a week. There’s no way in hell I would move to Georgia for 2 months and live in hotel to open a new store. And I’ve never catered a single thing. I already have my degree and have been praying to the job gods for years that I would stumble on a better opportunity. In short, I was a flight risk. An expensive flight risk.

Doesn’t mean I don’t need the money. Doesn’t mean that the job market isn’t non-existent. Especially for those of us specializing in things like Literature. Doesn’t mean that I didn’t work my butt off for 4 years and do way more than was ever expected of me or of normal food service managers. And it definitely doesn’t mean that I should be cut off with no warning.

But enough whining. I have to cope with the fact that things happened the way that they did.

So, how do I go about that?

  • Write a blog about it [X]
  • Find a friend to listen [X]
  • Hold my Bachelor’s degree and cry [X]
  • Apply to everything that is even sort of related to my skills [X]
  • Remind myself that I am not a failure [X]
  • Write angry things about my prior job in a private journal [X]
  • Realize that 2 weeks is hardly enough time to find another job in this job climate. [X]
  • Try as hard as I can to remember that I am awesome and better than that job and the people that I worked for and see this as the best opportunity I have to make something of myself. [X]

It gets difficult sometimes. One of the biggest struggles I’ve had in my life is realizing that I AM good enough. I AM capable. And that the only person that can keep me back from being amazing, is myself and my own insecurities. Well that and the bosses who don’t want to hire more people because their business is hemorrhaging money.

So. Time to take a big breath, put on my big girl pants, and kick the world (and myself) in the ass.