Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative

A few days ago I wrote about some of the things I wouldn’t miss when I’m freelancing. It’s certainly not the complete list—I could have gone on for hours. Well, maybe if I didn’t have to get up in the morning.

Anyway, the people who commented generally agreed with me. (I’m guessing the people who enjoy peak-hour on public transport weren’t allowed out of their wards.) But one person suggested I should be focusing on the positives, and wanted to see a post on six things I’m “totally gagging for”.

She’s right. I’ve been thinking so much about leaving my regular job (eventually), I’ve almost forgotten why I want to be a freelancer in the first place. So here they are, Jennifer: six things I’m really looking forward to.

(And for the record, these aren’t in any order. To me they’re all equally important.)

First of all, I’m looking forward to seeing my name in print. On the wall of my office is a framed copy of my first published humour piece, along with the acceptance letter I got from the editor. That was 12 years ago, but I still get a thrill every time I look at it (especially the handwritten comment at the bottom: “Had a good chuckle”). I want to feel that thrill again—and again, and again.

(Yes, I realise the thrill will probably wane after a while. But I’m willing to take that chance.)

This is why I don’t think I’d be as happy as a copywriter. Sure it pays better, but I’m looking forward to the ego trip as much as the money. And let’s face it: to begin with, it may be the only trip I can afford.

I’m looking forward to working with editors and other writers who appreciate how much work goes into a piece of writing. I hate it when a person reads something I’ve written and says, “Wow, that’s really easy to read. It must have been really easy to write.” (It’s right up there with “Can you edit this for me? It should only take you a few minutes.”)

I’m looking forward to getting feedback about my writing, even if that means getting rejection slips. (Are they even called that these days?) Right now I get very little constructive feedback at work, and so I have no real idea how I’m doing. What’s more, there’s no-one there to push me, to help me get better. And I definitely want to get better.

I’m looking forward to learning more about the world, and the people who live in it. So many freelance writers I’ve talked to say they love their job because they’re always learning something new. I’m hoping I’ll get the opportunity to write about not only what I know, but also what I want to know.

I’m looking forward to working whenever and wherever I want. Yes, I too dream of sitting in a small cafe by the sea, casually tapping away at the keys while I sip on my cappuccino. But I also realise I’ll be spending most of my time slaving over a word processor or on the phone with a source trying to drag a decent quote out of them. But it will still be nice to have the freedom to get out of the office, even if only for a few hours, without needing someone’s permission to do it.

And finally, I’m looking forward to… looking forward to work. While I’ll never feel happy about the alarm going off (at five-thirty in the morning it’s hard to feel anything), it will be nice to head off to work with a smile instead of a grimace. To feel the day has been worthwhile rather than a waste of time. And to come home knowing I’ve done more than just survived.

I’ve lived.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Jen Frahm February 2, 2010, 7:07 am

    This post rocked my world! Bill – thank you, I reckon we are going to see a twitpic of the name in print r-e-a-l soon. Like just around the corner…

    Here’s to living!

    • Bill Harper February 3, 2010, 10:23 am

      Glad you liked it, Jen. And believe me, if I get anything published with my name on it my Twitter followers will be the first to see it. (Well, after my wife, of course. She’s the one who actually framed my humour piece for me.)

  • Heather Rueschhoff February 2, 2010, 7:25 am

    I read this post from a link Jen Frahm posted on Twitter … and, I must say, I LOVED it! Best of luck in your freelance endeavors.

    • Bill Harper February 3, 2010, 10:23 am

      Glad you liked the post, Heather. And thanks for the well-wishes.

  • Kay Lam-Beattie February 2, 2010, 9:50 pm

    Welcome to the world of self-employment – it’s a thriller of a ride! If I’d known at the very start just what was involved, I probably wouldn’t have taken it on. But now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    All the best with your journey. I’m sure you’ll find those thrills you’re looking forward to – and much much more that you haven’t thought of yet.

    • Bill Harper February 3, 2010, 10:36 am

      Thanks Kay, although I’m not there yet. Barely out the door, actually.

      But I’m looking forward to the journey, which I hope will be just as fun and exciting as the destination.


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