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September 14 2007

Work vs Writing

Work vs WritingI’m beginning to suspect I wasn’t aware of exactly what I was getting myself in to when I decided to start writing professionally again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving it; it’s exhilarating to work on a deadline again, hunting down the story, trying to figure out a new angle.  At the same time, I hardly sleep, it’s leaking in to my day job, and sometimes I feel like I’m speeding towards a cement wall in a poorly safety-rated car.

When I started looking around for work in late June, I set a very modest goal of what I would like to earn per month.  Just some walking around money, maybe enough for a new gadget or some DVDs.  That goal is long and forgotten as I have decimated it time and time again.  Then today rolled around and I did as much in one day as I used to hope I would do in a month.  (and no, that doesn’t mean I am now rich, it just means I can buy more gadgets)

The big problem is that it is starting to effect my day job.  When you’re a freelancer, it’s death to say “no” to a story request because the editor will start to remember those no’s and not ask as often, if at all, if you can take an assignment.  If you want to keep working, you have to say yes as often as possible to the work, and sometimes that means odd hours and interference with something else you’re working on, but if it needs to be done, it needs to be done.

So, why do I bring this up?  Every Thursday I meet a good friend of mine for lunch, and he voiced a question I’ve been asking myself: Would I be better off moving just to writing?

I don’t think I’ll ever do it, though there is a part of me that wouldn’t mind it.  I’ve spent 21 years building my business, deserting it because I’ve had a few good months of writing would be idiotic.  True, I’ve dreamed of being a writer since I was 4, but I also know while I have “a unique voice” (as some friends have labeled it), I lack a lot of basic skills.  My grammar is off, my punctuation is atrocious, and if it wasn’t for Firefox having a built in spell checker, I’d be sunk.

My writing does seem to be getting stronger, and my speed is definitely picking up, but I still have miles to go before I can even begin  to resemble a polished writer.  The odd thing is, though I have written seven blog entries today, and an eighth is in progress, I actually feel re-energized about writing for my own site.  Odd, I know.  My fiction writing is in the dumpster, but it doesn’t pay, so it gets done last.

Was there a point to this post?  Not really, just some random thoughts I wanted to get out about writing and how it’s changing my life.  And no matter how much it may sound like I’m whining, I’m really not, I’m enjoying the hell out of this.  Don’t be surprised if there are more posts about this… matter of fact, they may be a series about interesting tricks I’ve learned.



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