Sunday, November 29, 2009

A love of words, a reality check ... and some gooey mud

I'm heading into Week 5. Seems impossible, but there it is. Every day, I'm enjoying this time and space and choices. Every day, I'm making choices with my space and time. I'm making good choices; I continue to feel this sense of return, of coming back to myself. In this same time and space, I need to pay attention and act on this growing instinct, of this need to write -- in different ways, with some freedom, to seek both pro bono and paying, in new and familiar industries, on varying topics and materials -- in short, to really start exploring freelance writing/editing.

In a professional online profile, I listed myself as a freelance writer and editor. Someone asked me in an admiring vein how one gets to be a freelance writer. My laughing response was that, while there are many paths, in my case, one quits a challenging job that one is not a good fit for. And voila, a professional freelance writer/editor is born! So simple, so complicated.

But moving beyond mere words to the actual doing, that freelancing of the writing and editing -- that's simple and complicated as well. Simple in some ways, as through word of mouth, which begins with friends and others I know. A friend, refining his cover letter for a much-hoped-for job -- "hey, could you take a look?" Yay, editing! Other friends, busy with grad school applications -- "hey, deadline's tight, but could you...?" Yay, more editing! Another friend, with a dream of a book project -- "what do you think...?" Could be fun..!

Having the capacity and ability to apply these skills I've honed through my work at college, my years at the magazines, my years as an editor in a corporate environment, and my lifetime of simply reading and writing, is a pleasure, all the more so for those I know, who help me in turn, and who are helping me build my story -- "so, what kind of writing and editing have you been doing since leaving your last position?"

Next, scarier steps are pushing our farther, finding others/organizations (yes, paying) where I can apply these skills, see if I can support myself in a new way with my love of words. It feels like a huge world, of wideopen, abundant opportunity. It also feels like a huge world, with high-walled mazes and doubleback turns, unknown etiquette and rules, and a few quagmires along the way. Perhaps this is why I've been standing along the edge, wanting to poke my toes in the gooey mud because it's fun and who knows what surprises lurk, but then -- who actually wants to poke their toes in mud that contains surprises, no matter how fun the goo?? Well, apparently I do. Time to go a mud-wadin'.

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