Do you want to hire me to write for you? Seriously, you can. You do have to pay me, though. I know a lot of people these days are willing to write for free, but I do that enough on my own, and I kind of like earning money for my work. I’m super old-fashioned like that.
I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, which in my mind is kind of cool. I never went through a fireman or astronaut stage, probably because I’ve always been afraid of fire and space travel, respectively. But it’s nice to have a passion at an early age and to stick with it. I’ve never had doubts about writing—doubts about the quality of my work, sure, and doubts about the form it would take, but never about what I wanted to do with my time. Even when I’ve flirted with other career options, I’ve always assumed I’d be able to work on a book on the side. Adorably naïve, right?
Right now, I’m a freelancer, meaning I write whenever someone is willing to publish me. As much as I love what I do, it’s getting to a point where I feel like I need to step things up to the next level. The flexibility of freelance writing is great, but it’s not always regular work, and a worrier like me needs some level of consistency. I’ve never had a salary or job security—these are terms that are actually kind of foreign to me. And sometimes that’s OK: I write for the love of writing, not the big dollars. But I’m turning 25 in a few months, and that seems like an age at which I should have some of this stuff sorted out, whether or not my generation is aimless by definition.
So what are my options? The idea of getting a day job and writing on the side is not an attractive one, though I understand it may be a necessity. Writing might not seem like hard work—and it generally doesn’t feel difficult while I’m doing it—but it does require a lot of mental energy and discipline. These are qualities that, while tough to quantify, are often in short supply after eight hours in an office. I worry that a day job wouldn’t leave me with the time or energy to do the writing I want to be doing. But if it came down to an absolute need? If I had to get a day job to keep writing? That would be an easy (albeit whine-worthy) choice to make.
Obviously writing full-time is my ultimate goal, and I’m still not really sure how unrealistic it is. Right now I have four freelance jobs at varying levels of consistency: TV.com, the SF Bay Guardian, io9, and the SF Chronicle. (Yep, two honest-to-blog newspapers!) I write jokes on Twitter every day. I blog about three times a week. (Like I’m doing right now. So meta.) I have one pilot written, but it needs to be heavily revised. I have one short story written, but it needs to be heavily revised. And I’m not sure where all of this leaves me. I’m enthusiastic and (mostly) proud about my work. Added up, however, it doesn’t equal a career.
I think I’m good at what I do. I think I get better every day. I also think that journalism has taken a hit over the past decade (not exactly a controversial opinion) and that making it as a writer as harder than ever. I’m not anywhere near giving up, but I may need to at least reevaluate my ambitions. Unless of course you just want to hire me to write for you. Which would solve my problems and also get me stop bitching. It’s win-win, anonymous reader.