Life Changes

The Freelance Writer’s Journey Chapter 1

If someone had the ability to travel in time, they could probably entertain themselves wildly by telling people what would happen to them in just six months’ time. Especially this year. For example, if some mysterious time traveller came up to me in early March and said, “In six month’s time you will be living in Tacoma, working on your doctorate, and beginning a new career as a freelance writer and editor,” I would have laughed in their face. But of course, they would be right.

I don’t know where you were in the beginning of March, but I can virtually guarantee that now, in September, life looks a whole lot different than it used to. I used to plan my life in terms of years. Now I know that any claim I make about where I will be in six months needs to be taken with a massive grain of salt. I guess that’s what they mean when they say that people plan their way, but God guides their steps. Even though it all happened so quickly and unexpectedly, I am confident that I am right where I was supposed to be all along, almost like there was a divine hand guiding me through the process.

Here’s what I did during the closing part of this journey’s prologue:

  • Finished moving, and got the house to a place where normal life can occur. There’s still some work to be done, but it’s beginning to feel like home!
  • Got myself oriented for school. This involved attending orientations, getting books, parking permits, the like. Now the rhythms of school life have started.
  • Made decisions about a couple of opportunities that came my way for steady, non-writing work. Though it was extremely difficult, I decided to stick to the plan of full-time freelancing. I now have a 2-3 month window to make this work before I would need to try something else.
  • Finally started class.

I am ecstatic to be a part of the Doctor of Psychology program at Northwest University! I enjoyed formally meeting all of my classmates, and I am so looking forward to journeying with them the next five years. The culture of this place astounded me with its genuine love and care. These values were not just words posted on a wall, but living attributes of the community. The coursework seems challenging yet not overwhelming. That is to say, I know I will learn, grow, and experience stretching, but it is all beneficial to me as a student and professional. It was wonderful to step into courses that are completely relevant to the work that I am going to be doing in the future.

So now, the dust is starting to settle, and reality along with it. I really am a doctoral student. I really do live in a different city now. I actually am a full-time freelance writer. The time traveller from earlier was right. Now it’s time to do the work.

Steven Pressfield wrote a book called Do The Work which serves as a primer for an artist, creator, or entrepreneur to begin and finish their dream project. For me, it is a startup freelance writing and editing firm. Pressfield speaks of some of the chief obstacles when somebody is merely starting out, beginning with a person’s own fear and distractions:

“The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.”

For him, the solution is to start before you’re ready. Too many aspiring creators have psyched themselves out in the preparation process. But creators that were successful? They threw themselves into the work before they really had a clue what they were doing. They were too stupid to realize how much this was going to take, too naive to doubt their success, and too stubborn to let the inevitable obstacles and setbacks stop them. That’s why we cheer for the scrappy underdog who just won’t quit, who actually believes they can win, as opposed to the sophisticated, cynical villain.

And so that’s what I’m setting out to do. To start before I’m truly ready, to stubbornly persist in it, and to passionately go after this thing that’s been in my heart for years.

It’s time to begin.

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