I’ve been talking about going into where I am at with my writing career (if you can even call it that) and it’s finally happening! I recently read an article on Man Repeller about freelance v. full-time work, and it got me thinking about my relationship with writing, freelancing, and what I really want to do (here’s a hint: I have no idea).
A bit of backstory, I recently graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and English and I’ve been freelancing part-time for about a year. It wasn’t something I intended to do really but fell into when applying for other jobs. But now I find myself at a bit of a crossroads. I could either transition into full-time freelancing (which would require a lot of networking, something I am not good at), keep doing what I’m doing, or do something entirely different. Are you confused? I’m confused.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very used to the listless post-grad feeling, and I am in no rush to ‘figure it out’ as they say. It’s totally natural for there to be a transition period while you get yourself on track. But I guess the real question is: should I commit to commodifying my writing?
Throughout my writing degree, the rather impractical dream was that everybody would graduate, write a book and then become the next J.K Rowling. Is it realistic? Of course not. Do you still wish it would happen to you? Definitely. As much as I really enjoyed my schooling, sometimes I got the feeling that this one path to success was the only respectable way to call yourself a writer, that what you write has to be art or it isn’t anything at all. I was never taught how to go about freelancing, how to invoice clients or any other practical ways to actually make money from writing—it was always focused on pitching, publishing, and submitting to literary journals (which can take months—if not years—and isn’t always financially viable). I definitely believe that these are still valid ways to make a living as a writer, that publishing the book can happen, and that you can build a career by submitting to journals and winning literary prizes, but it’s not the only way. How can I make use of my degree in a more practical way? Is it ok for me prioritize writing for profit before writing for myself and the glory of producing ‘art’?
I certainly haven’t abandoned all personal writing projects—I still write poetry from time to time, and one of my pieces is going to be published in a lit journal this spring. But I would be lying if I said it didn’t take a backseat as soon as I started freelancing. Meghan Neysmith, the lady behind the MR piece, makes a great point when she mentions commodifying her own writing: “...it makes it difficult to envision a way forward that leaves room for projects that don’t have an immediate financial reward.” Oh how this struck a chord with me. Although I’m still very passionate about my creative projects, I think it’s also very natural for me, as a struggling post-grad, to prioritize the kind of work that puts food on the table, or to avoid cliché, cheese in my fridge. But I also struggle with how to feel about my more creative pursuits falling to the wayside as a result.
As you can tell, I’m very much on the fence about all of this. I feel very grateful to be earning money through my writing so early after graduation, and I truly value that work. Maybe it’s just something I need to strike a better balance with (isn’t that how it always goes?). I’m sure with more fan-dangling I’ll be able to consistently freelance while also working towards poetry and fiction goals. But for now, all I can do is try to make the time.
Sorry for the rather rambling post today! This is just something that’s been on my mind lately, and I wanted to share it with you. I always enjoyed reading more personal posts, but that said, I’m hoping to bring more planned content about writing/freelancing soon!
(Boots: Doc Marten Jacket and Sweater: Thrifted Dress: Thrifted Purse: Urban Outfitters)