The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Monday, November 12, 2007

A freelancer walks into it...

By Tamara Lee

Freelancing is hard. Gratifying in many ways, but it’s very difficult to keep momentum. For the past two years, I have been freelancing semi-full time as an editor, and working on my writing side projects. Now, it is time to really amp it up, but I’m a bit exasperated by the prospect of putting the glaring spotlight on business-building.

So there has been much online researching, forum-lurking, how-to book-perusing, and advice-seeking. And I can now say I know it boils down to a few things:

1-The self-marketing never ends.
2-The work-seeking never ends.
3-The overwhelms will never end.

One has to get into some kind of Zen-state about this whole enterprise, because as daunting as that list is, there is another list:

4-The self-discovery never ends.
5-The learning never ends.
6-The possibilities never end.

When Number 1 begins to scare the bejesus out of us, it’s time to soften it with Number 4. And when number 2 starts to exhaust us, it’s good to refuel with Number 5. So that by the time Number 3 starts to monopolize our thoughts, we can startle it with 6.

Like many freelancers, among my character flaws is that blasted thing called impatience. I recently read something very useful, though: Instead of comparing ourselves to the successes of others, compare ourselves to ourselves last week, last month, last year. The idea being, seeing our own progress precipitates more progress.

Nice one. That should get a sticky-note and front-and-centre on someone's bathroom mirror.

Currently, my baby steps include taking a magazine writing course. Essentially, trying to get Number 5 and Number 2 to shake hands and make nice. The class has been rather informative so far, if a bit nerve-wracking. (How is it that, someone with as much education as I’ve amassed still manages to feel awkward and misplaced in a classroom setting?)

Next week, I’ll share a little of what I’m learning, once I feel I have a leg up on this thing. Right now, I’m caught in a learning curve that still feels rather foreign.


Blogger Anne said...

I will want more details.

Mon Nov 12, 10:35:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Another thoughtfully excellent post, Tamara. I like the idea of comparing yourself only to yourself. Long distance runners do that, I've heard, as do yoga practitioners. Each of us follows a different path and each path is valid. Freelancing is a tough path, for sure, especially for self-effacing souls. The yin/yang of your opposing numbers seems like a good way to find the courage you need to stay on that path.

Mon Nov 12, 01:47:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger T. Lee said...

Thanks for stopping by, gals, and for your kind words, Tricia. Stay tuned for the next episode... :)

Mon Nov 12, 06:59:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Freelancing is terrifying. Creativiy on demand is not for the faint of heart. You go, girl!

Tue Nov 13, 02:14:00 am GMT-5  

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