Our lives are made up of minutes that become hours that run into days that eventually become years. Then, it’s over. There’s an announcement in the newspaper, or a Facebook update mentioning an obituary. Maybe there’s a visitation, a funeral, or simply the memories of a life lived out across a small ripple in a sea of time.
I’ve lived out more than half of my ripple. Will it leave even the smallest of marks on the water’s surface after I’m gone? Nothing’s certain on that front. I hold the belief that how we live and what we do while here matters—at least that’s the hope, lacking any guarantee.
Last week offered perhaps the most representative summation of the freelance lifestyle from my vantage point. Equal parts enjoyable, even empowering, intertwined with a stretch that left me uncharacteristically weary, requiring tapping into a reserve that I wasn’t sure I had. Every segment of my puzzle-piece work life was represented.
Back when I was running laps around the usual five-day-a-week labor track, I complained that my two-day weekends weren’t long enough. Now, finding a 48-hour stretch of time to step away from wage-gathering happens so infrequently for me that I sometimes resent those who have it so good—and yet find the need to voice their displeasure in my presence or via social media—not knowing that it irritates me (although I try to overlook it).
Writing is a passion of mine. If I have to name what it is that I do, I’ll always self-identify as “a freelance writer.” It took me nearly 40 years to recognize a talent (some might even qualify it as “a gift) that remained hidden under layers of work, family obligations, and even romantic notions about what constituted “the writing life”—as if there’s one defining frame for being a writer. Runners have different strides, just like pitchers rely on their own style and array of pitches in getting batters out. My writing experience is probably different than yours (if you’re a writer), as it should be.
I began the writing journey back in 2002, with 2003 being the year that I set my face “like flint” towards a goal to make writing central in my life. By 2006, I recognized that writing didn’t automatically deliver riches, but rather (at least for me) required creativity and supplemental income—at least if I didn’t want to end up foreclosing on my house, or worse. I turned back towards a more traditional, 40-hour way of making a living, while still continuing to write. In fact, it was during this stretch that I released my two books on Moxie. Continue reading