Writing for a Living, Chapter 1

It has been seven weeks since I started writing for money as a freelance contractor on oDesk.com.

My soul is still intact.

In the beginning there was this little fear in the back of my head that said, “If you turn writing into a job, you won’t love it anymore.”

And another: “If you write all day for work, you won’t have anything left for the novels/poetry/fiction/etc. that you really should be writing.”

There may have been a tiny bit of truth to those fears, but for the most part, writing for cash has been good for me. A few observations:

1. I’m faster. NaNoWriMo did great things for my speed, but writing for work has boosted my output levels higher than ever, because now, more output equals more pay. Plus I have a better grasp of how long 500-1000 words should take to write. That means I can schedule my writing time more effectively than in the past, and make sure to squeeze in an hour or two for poetry.

2. Variety makes me happy. And there is no shortage of variety in freelancing. So far I’ve written speeches, scripts, financial articles, business blogs, newsletters, eBooks, web copy, and a tearjerker about a stuffed, pink kitty. I love that I never know what’s on my oDesk docket from week to week. There is no opportunity to get bored.

3. Creative people are my favorite employers. Writers, designers, artists, and entrepreneurs all have one thing in common: passion. Their love for their work spills over into what you write for them, and it’s so fun to be a part of their projects, and see the finished results.

4. I’m more confident. There is definitely something to be said for getting paid to write. It’s true that nobody is handing me money for the two novels I have yet to finish. (It might help if I actually mailed a proposal or two at some point, but hey, baby steps!) Even so, there is power in the fact that I no longer have to question whether I have something of value. Yes, I should have known anyway, but when somebody hands you cash in exchange for your talent, it shuts up that little nagging voice that says, “You’re not really good enough.” And building on that…

5. It’s no longer IF, but WHEN. I don’t wonder anymore whether I’ll finish the book, or publish it, or sell it. It’s going to happen. Maybe not the first time, but sometime. The process of applying, winning, wowing, again and again on a small, freelance scale makes me sure that it will happen on a large scale. I feel free to slow down and put the pieces together naturally. No rush. No doubt. Just moving along steadily toward my dream job.

 

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