I’ve been kicking the idea of becoming a freelance writer around since I left the world of public libraries back in November.
Finding myself as a writer again opened a lot of doors, and really helped a part of myself heal that had been messed up for quite some time. However, it also presented an entirely different outlook on my professional life, which was something I really wasn’t expecting.
For almost my entire young adult life, I thought I was going to be a teen librarian in a public library. Be damned with the long hours, ridiculous patrons, and behavioral problems – this was my calling, my life’s work and joy. I would even joke that I might not ever really retire.
To say that something changed would be putting it wrong. I didn’t change, not really – not as a person. But rather, I realized some things about myself. Things that had always been there, had always haunted me.
While I was working in libraries, I was a nervous wreck. Constantly. I loved working with people, but thinking about having to do it every day drove me crazy. I would sit at the desk almost sweating, wondering what was going to come my way next and how I was going to handle it.
The weird thing was I didn’t really realize I was doing this.
I figured it was all part of the package, that it was just shyness, immaturity. That it would go away eventually.
But it didn’t go away, it got worse.
And worse and worse and worse until I couldn’t do it anymore.
And what made me realize that I was having those thoughts and feelings, and that they would not just go away with time?
I started writing.
Working through my anxiety through my characters, feeling how comfortable and light and happy I was sitting at my desk with my laptop or just a notebook and pen made me realize that I was on the wrong path.
Now, like most of you, I was told that writing would always make a great hobby, but that it was very hard to make a living off it.
For many in many situations, this is the unfortunate truth. That’s why we all trudge through our day jobs and turn to twitter at the end of the day for connection and inspiration. When I left libraries, I was full-on ready to just pick up a 9-5 as some receptionist somewhere and then write when I could.
But my situation as of two years ago now, is a little different. I am fortunate (very very very fortunate) to have a partner with a good job, who doesn’t care what I do so long as I am happy doing it.
And he sees how much happier I am writing and thinks that working as a receptionist somewhere would quickly drive me crazy.
Maybe he’s right. While I was job searching, I managed to score some interview, but never got offered a job. Nothing seemed the right fit. I don’t know what mold I fit into anymore.
Now I’m working 12 hours a week at the local pet food store at the end of my street and spending my otherwise free time trying to figure out this freelance stuff and seeing how far it takes me.
Even though I still feel it, the monetary pressure is off, and it’s not like I won’t ever get this thing kicked off, right? So long as I keep working at it? (Right? Right?)
So here I am, trying not to put the same amount of pressure I put on myself while I was working in libraries. Just trying to learn, trying new things, and of course, writing.
So readers, remember to always ask yourself that question. Stay realistic, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, but always try to explore a new opportunity when it presents itself to you.
Because why not?