aka…How Not to Become a Freelance Writer
Three years ago, I told my Devil Wears TJ Maxx boss to suck it and quit my job. Well, in my head that’s how it went, but in reality, I wrote a nice resignation letter, worked my last two weeks, and walked out the door with little fanfare. While there was a good bit of drama behind the scenes with a new boss that treated her employees like some lowlife scum she had dragged in on the bottom of her cheap, shit-kicker shoes, I didn’t go out as guns-a-blazin’ as I would have liked. There was a fair bit of crying in HR and a whole lot of trash talking with other disgruntled employees over drinks after work. In the end, I just left the office (3 hours early…so take that, bee’otch), head held high, with dreams of writing a scandalous novel telling the world what evil I had just barely managed to survive.
It didn’t turn out that way
However, just over three years after walking away from that soul-crushing experience, I’m still here. Did I write that novel? No. But I did put together a pretty sweet website for all my writing work to live, so there’s that. I have to admit, after quitting my job, I was a little more than shell-shocked. It was the best and worst experience of my working life. For one fabulous year, it was one of the best jobs I had ever had. It was fun, my co-workers were awesome, and I felt like I was helping to change lives working with students at a local university. Life was pretty sweet, and I had dreams of climbing the ranks of the education ladder, having finally found my true calling. And then it ended. Without getting into the minutiae of it all, a new director was suddenly brought in and a force, a dark force, took over. In the blink of an eye, the best job turned into the worst job overnight.
So, I planned my escape
I’d had enough. After months of me coming home crying my eyes out and droning on and on about how miserable I was, my husband had had enough too. So, I quit. (Incidentally, four out of the five of us in the department all quit for the same reason within a few months of each other, so it wasn’t just me being a diva…there were serious issues.) It was scary, but I had quite a bit of money saved up to get me through a year without worry, and I set my sights on fulfilling my goal of becoming a full-time freelancer. Oh, it was going to be grand. Livin’ the writer’s dream of creating masterpieces of magical wisdom by day, and drinking champagne by night with all those checks rolling in. I fantasized about running into that evil bitch of a boss and telling her how her evil doings had pushed me to be the best version of me I could be. Followed by me dramatically throwing a drink in her face, walking away confidently, then turning around with a fabulous hair flip and saying, “Thanks for the memories, bitch!” Ahhhh, sweet, sweet revenge.
But that never happened
What did happen was a tad less dramatic. Okay, it was not dramatic at all, but a girl can dream. To be honest, I was more than a little traumatized by the events that led to me quitting my job. (If you want to hear some drama, that last year was a doozy, but a tale for another day.) During the first months of unemployment, I took a few online classes and threw myself into a podcast that sadly died a sudden and unexpected death (again, another story for another time). I filled my days with organizing files, redecorating the kitchen, and developing an unhealthy relationship with Netflix binge-watching. To put it plainly, I was lazy, depressed, and just didn’t care anymore. Write the great American novel…what’s the point? Get another job…who would want me? Eat another slice of pie…yes, please! Yeah, I got fat too (but I’m working on that).
And then I ran out of money
Full disclosure here. I’m married to an engineer. A very good engineer with a very good job. So, he pays all the real bills. We live in a nice house, and my work status is not a factor in keeping us off the streets. I’m a very lucky gal, and I know it (mostly because my husband keeps telling me so). However, the money I do make is necessary for anything and everything else that I’m doing in work or life in general. To put it plainly, I have bills like everyone else…lots of them. I can hear you saying it now, “Oh, what, you have to pay for your salon treatments, cry me a river, those aren’t bills.” Well, my inch of gray hairs that stubbornly keep appearing every six weeks and need to be covered up immediately would beg to differ with you. The point is, I got bills. Maybe not “can’t feed my baby” bills, but bills nonetheless.
So, that’s when I got serious again
Faced with the choice of having to find another soul-sucking job or getting back into the freelance game, I chose the latter. I have been freelancing on and off for more than a decade. Ever since I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Professional Writing in 2005, I’ve been freelancing. But until now, I always had another job to fall back on while writing freelance projects. Over the years I’ve written on every topic under the sun, from Tips for Herpes Dating to the Secret Order of the Illuminati to How to Host a Halloween Seance, I’ve written about it all. So, I kicked it into high gear and set out to work from home as a full-time freelance writer, no wires, no safety net, just writing whatever the world needs to be written.
Here I am, doing it
Well, not doing it, doing it. I haven’t gotten desperate enough to do porn yet, but I have written for porn websites…there is no judgment in freelance writing! So, it has all worked out in the end. While I still have the occasional nightmare of being led around on an actual leash like a dog through downtown Atlanta by my evil ex-boss during a so-called “team-building” exercise (true story, one I’ll tell later), I made it out to the other side with just a few battle scars leftover.
We’re all in this twisted world together
By sharing my story, I hope to connect with writers, bloggers, and others who are living the freelance dream to help anyone out there still waiting to take the leap and follow their dreams. So, I’m hoping to give some good advice, tell cool stories about my successes and failures, and connect with anyone out there who can relate to anything I’ve said here. Oh, and I’m also gonna talk about crappy television shows, share some silly craft tips and recipes, rant about stupid shit that happens to me every time I leave the house, and post pictures of two adorable cats too. If that sounds like something you’re into, stick around and let’s start spilling the tea together!
What’s your twisted story? Leave a comment and tell me about it.