I am officially a freelance writer now! Cue parades, confetti, and, oh hell I don’t know, champagne? Look, I’ll work out the grown-up celebratory obligations later, for now, I’m just happy to be here. You might be wondering what ‘here’ looks like, and only three days in, so am I.
I’ve been struggling for years to figure out what I wanted out of life and how to get it. For a while things got pretty dark and scary, mental health is a real issue, don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Eventually, my husband wondered if I wouldn’t be happier making money from writing. My knee-jerk reaction was, well duh, of course I would, but we live in the real world and need things like shoes for the kid, dog food, and electricity. Then we really sat down and started hashing out the details of what exactly it would take for me to be able to work from home. Suddenly there was a glimmer of hope.
I spent the next few weeks looking for places that would be willing to pay me to sling words at them. I had a few close calls where I thought I was onto something, but ultimately I was only able to pull in one steady commitment. I’d like to say there was some sort of divine inspiration that hit at this point, but really I just wanted out of the life I was finding myself trapped in. So I gave my two weeks notice and started looking for more freelance gigs.
Two weeks passed and now I work from home. I get up with the husband and kiddo everyday as usual, but when they leave I retreat to the office and spend the day writing, or reading about writing, or emailing people about maybe paying me to do writing. This new life is everything I wanted, and nothing like I expected, all rolled together.
I’m spending more time with my son again. Can’t afford to send him to daycare if I’m not doing “real” work, so after school he comes right home. Throwing caution to the wind I went ahead and volunteered to help coach his soccer teams (yeah, teams plural). Soccer is kinda my lifeline with the outside world at this point. Don’t want to give in to my hermit tendencies too much.
The hardest part of working from home? Convincing myself that it counts as work. It doesn’t help that I’m just starting out and not really bringing in the big (or even small) bucks as of yet. It’s stressful to feel like the race started without you and now you’re playing catch-up. These things take time, and speaking of time, learning how to best utilize yours once you have only yourself to answer to is disorienting. Suddenly, I have the option to do everything or nothing, all within the same day. It’s motivating and overwhelming all at once, but honestly, there is a part of me that loves it.
For the first time I feel like I’m getting a peek at my most authentic self. The one who is free to be creative and unconventional. I can finally follow a dream and see where it takes me. It’s scary to have so many opportunities open all at once and know that if I fail now I have only myself to blame, but there is freedom in being able to fail. Having the choice to get up in the morning and do something that matters, if only to me, feels amazing.
Maybe a few months from now I’ll be back to trying to find a “regular” job that pays me to do ordinary work, but at least for now, I get to try to really be me, and damn, I’m lucky to even get that chance.