I am normally the person who is always happy for everyone. I look at other people’s successes as proof that “it can be done,” especially when it’s in a field that I am also in. Their success is my success. But lately I’ve been feeling professionally stagnant, and it’s making me very green-eyed.
The majority of what I do is freelance writing and copy editing. It’s not glamorous but it’s a wonderful way to make money in a flexible environment. It allows me to stay home with the kids while still bringing in a paycheck. I personally would not be happy if I wasn’t earning money in some capacity. I started babysitting at age ten and I’ve been making money ever since.
A lot of what I’m contracted to do is really dry. Think the writing you see when you pull up your bank’s website. Sometimes I get opportunities to write for places that are much more fun, like BuzzFeed (I know a guy). At the end of last year, I got a super-amazing contract to write several pieces right in my wheelhouse for double my usual rate. It was during the busiest time of year and required a ton of research, but it was fun and great for my resume, and I couldn’t wait to see it “live.” Last week I heard from my editor that even though he loved my work, the company had a brand-new president who was going in a different direction. That not only meant no more work going forward, but all that work I’d done would never see the light of day. I was still paid, but it’s very frustrating (and since they paid for it, they own the content which means I can’t even post it elsewhere), and while this has happened to me before it’s never been on such a large scale.
Mike talked me out of my disappointment – writing that never sees the light of day is the story of a screenwriter’s life – but I think it showed me that I definitely prefer the kind of work that I can point to. Like, hey look, I did that! That’s the problem with freelancing: you have no control over your work once you turn it in. And I know how indulgent it is to whine about something I got paid for, believe me. I think it all comes back to me just not knowing what I want to do with myself.
I’ve always been jealous of the people who have clear career paths and something they always dreamed of being. If you’d asked Mike or my brother when they were kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, they both would have said writer. I wouldn’t have said anything, because I didn’t know. I still don’t. I think it’s time I tried to figure it out.
I don’t like being envious of other people’s good news. I need to focus on what I can do to make myself happy so I can start creating my own good news. I am in control of my own life here. How am I going to find the work that makes me happy? Noooo idea! How does anyone figure out this stuff?? I just have to try a bunch of things, I guess. Maybe something will click, and maybe nothing will, but at least I’ll be acting positively. I am a much better person when I am positive.
It’s time to get out of this funk and see what I find.