Keeping the dream alive

One of the toughest things I’m finding with this transition into freelancing is keeping the momentum going.

At the moment I have one day off every fortnight, and on that day I’m living the freelancing dream—researching possible markets, looking up possible experts to interview, and so on. (This is what they mean by “the day is full of possibilities”). It’s still work, and yet I feel completely and utterly free because I’m living the life of a freelancer.

But the next day I’m back at my regular job and quickly swamped with emails, meetings and to-do lists. By the end of the day I’ve completely lost that feeling of freedom, and by the end of the week I can barely remember it. And it’s another full week before I get it back again.

I’m sure it will get better as I start making money and can take more days off each fortnight. But for now one day is all I can afford, and so it’s a struggle to keep the dream alive.

Sometimes it feels like I’ll never make it, that I’ll be spending the rest of my working life doing a series of mundane jobs I don’t enjoy. But every now and then I get “that freelancing feeling” back, and it suddenly feels not just possible, but inevitable.

Today was one of those days.

After publishing yesterday’s post I announced it on Twitter before heading for bed. I don’t advertise my posts very often (it feels like I’m inviting someone to my house while it’s still a pigsty), but I thought a few of my followers would enjoy it.

This morning I woke up to find not only comments on my blog (all agreeing with me), but people re-tweeting it on Twitter. I told people about it again (to cater for the folks living on this side of the world) and got even more comments (again, agreeing with me) and re-tweets.

I’ve often dreamed about someone reading an article of mine—on a train, on a bus, in a cafe—and slowly nodding to themselves in agreement. In the dream they may even show it to a friend of theirs and say, “You’ve got to read this. It’s excellent”.

Well, today I got to live that dream, and to remember why I’m making this journey in the first place.

To those who commented in the blog and on Twitter, thank you for helping to keep the dream alive.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Susan @ Reading Upside Down February 13, 2010, 4:37 pm

    I haven’t commented on yesterday’s post – too worried that my reponse will not be succinct enough and will invite more remarks on the irony of long-winded comments.

    In the interest of keeping the dream alive even longer, I thought I should tell you that I forwarded a link to your post on essay length to a friend with the comment “you’ll enjoy this”.

    As someone who is also trying to find work as a freelance writer, I can sympathise with your struggles. My discouragement comes not from loss of momentum, but from friends and family who regard me with surprise when I mention my latest success, particularly if it involves web-writing of any kind. It is difficult to keep the dream alive when those around you are constantly classifying work you take pride in as a “harmless hobby” at best and a “waste of time” at worst.

    Here’s to Keeping the Dream Alive! (to totally ruin the moment, this phrase always makes me think of a song by a German band called Munchener Freiheit. I think they have an English version, so I’ll have to find the link and pass it on to you via Twitter.)

  • Glenn Murray February 15, 2010, 8:53 am

    Hey mate. The cream always rises to the top. You’ll get there. In reality, the speed at which this happens will be determined (I believe, exclusively) by your current domestic/financial situation. You have a young family, and that makes it hard to just quit work and focus on your freelancing. I believe if you did, though, you’d make a success of it. So in the meantime, at least go a bit easy on yourself. Know that it’s only taking a while because you don’t have the luxury of being able to dedicate all your time to it. Don’t attribute that lag to anything else.


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