“I love what I do—I just wish I could do more of it.” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said that, I probably wouldn’t care that I don’t earn as much as I’d like to. There are plenty of benefits to being a freelance writer, particularly the freedom to choose assignments and sleep in, but I’ve been craving some sort of stability for years. Of course, my fluid schedule is a luxury I’m still clutching for dear life. It’s not even that I want lazy mornings—I’ve learned to wake up at a reasonable hour with ample caffeine. I just fear too much structure. Well, that and I only like running errands when everyone else is at work. Have you gone to the grocery store at peak hours? It is the stuff of night terrors.
Lately I’ve been picking up more assignments and forcing myself to take on additional personal projects. (This blog is one of them!) It’s nice to be writing a significant amount on a daily basis, even though it does require breaks from Supernatural marathons. (I review TV, so that counts as work, too. Haters to the left.) But I’ve reached a point where I don’t know how much more to take on. I write for four separate publications—or five, I guess, now that I’m blogging a bit for the Huffington Post. Full disclosure: I’ll be crossposting some of these blogs there, so it doesn’t require any more effort, really. But please don’t spread that around. Everyone has been really impressed! Still, four publications, two Twitter accounts, and a personal blog are a lot to juggle. I’ve never missed a deadline, but I have felt my brain protest with extreme writer’s block and nonconsensual naps.
Does it sound like I’m complaining about having too much work? It probably sounds like I’m complaining most of the time. The truth is, I’m delighted to have more outlets for my writing, and I’m thrilled with the response I’ve been getting. (Yes, even the people who think I’m some sort of monster!) I just feel like I have too much to sort through mentally: a diverse to-do list of personal and professional responsibilities, various looming deadlines, and Supernatural is getting really stressful, you guys. (Lest you think I’m wasting time here, I need to catch up on the series before attending Comic-Con next month.) I seldom find myself in that middle ground between over- and underwhelmed. I’m either not working enough, not impressed with what I’m putting out, or I’ve got too much to get done, with a shrill voice in the back of my head screaming, “YOU SHOULD BE WRITING SOMETHING ELSE.”
I’m not sure what the solution to this is. Would a regular, salaried job put my mind at ease, or would I continue to vacillate between “too much” and “not enough”? I will say that being a freelance writer often reminds me of high school and college, times during which there was always something else to do. Moments of relaxation were, well, frequent, but always tinged with the knowledge that I could have (nay, should have!) been working on something for school. Now, as I sit here blogging for the sake of blogging, I’m faced with the same internal reminders that I have actual work to get done. It’s possible that one solid, well-defined gig would help on that level.
Or maybe I’d feel creatively stifled and miss my free-flowing days as a freelancer. I’m pretty sure the best thing for me to do, at least for the time being, is to enjoy this feeling of mild stress. Yeah, I have a lot to do. I can’t just dick around online all day. (Well, I can. I just have to have Microsoft Word open, too.) I’m overwhelmed by the amount I have to accomplish, but I’m also excited! LET’S DO THIS. I can write for my four publications and maybe take on another column elsewhere and blog for myself/the Huffington Post and catch up on TV shows in preparation for Comic-Con and revise my pilot script and write jokes for Twitter and clean my apartment. No problem. I just need a really good organizer.