The element of doubt

Today was supposed to be the start of my freelancing journey.

Late last year I completed the Online Feature Writing course at the Sydney Writers’ Centre. And in the five weeks the course ran for I was transformed. I no longer thought, “Will I become a freelancer?” Instead it became, “When will I become a freelancer?” And I decided this was the year it would happen.

So I organised for a day off every fortnight to focus on my transition to freelancing. To study markets. To write query letters. To interview people, do research, and ultimately write articles. (Okay, maybe not straight away.) And today was the first of those days. (The fact it fell between the weekend and a public holiday is just coincidence.)

So what did I achieve today? Well, the carpets are vacuumed, the dishes are done, and we now have a fresh basket of clean clothes to fold.

Why? Yes, the dishes needed to be done. But they probably could have waited until tomorrow. Yes, the floors needed vacuuming. But they could just as easily be done over the weekend. (The clothes couldn’t wait—we really needed to put a load through the machine.)

It’s almost as if I’m sabotaging my own career. And I’m struggling to understand why.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m really cut out to be a writer. Sure, I can string a sentence together pretty well. I can interview people, and get the quotes and information I need. (I still suck at research, but I’m getting better.)

But can I find the right markets, send the right queries, and give editors the articles they asked for? Can I do it over and over again? Can I ever become a full-time freelancer, or even a part-time one?

Because if I can’t, then I honestly don’t know what else I can do. It feels like everything I’ve ever done has led to this point, and so if it’s no longer an option I will be completely and utterly lost.

Oh, well. At least the house is clean.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Jen January 26, 2010, 2:36 am

    When there are doubts it’s always hard to get started. I’ve learnt that again and again. With every new freelance project, in fact. You just have to push yourself through the negativity and doubt, get the ideas down and the writing done.

    It’s much harder than it sounds.

    • Bill Harper January 26, 2010, 5:09 pm

      Thanks for the words of encouragement, Jen. I’ll be much better prepared next time (the house will be cleaner for a start).

      And I can do things like study the markets during my lunch hour, on the train, etc. so there isn’t as much pressure on “the day”.

      Okay, so I failed this time around. But I’m not ready to give up the dream just yet. There’s too much at stake.


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