Week in Review: First Snow

It’s been a month since my last Week in Review, which is totally an indication of how freaking busy I’ve been. In fact, things have been so busy that I wound up making a pretty big decision about my business in the last week.

One of the things not a lot of people understand about freelance writing is that you don’t just decide to be a writer, and then spend your days making all kinds of money off of passion pieces. It’s a job, like any other job, and sometimes it involves doing work that you wouldn’t necessarily choose for yourself. In the world of freelance writing, that often means ghostwriting.

The way my business is, and always has been, structured is that only about 20 percent of what I do is true passion writing–getting paid to write the stuff I love. An additional 30 percent is editing, something I also really love. And about 10 percent is social media consultations and management. Then there is the 20 percent of work I write under my byline, but that I’m not particularly passionate about–some of that I share with you all, and some of it I mostly find myself hoping will never really see the light of day. From there, there is 20 percent of what I do that doesn’t have my name attached to it at all: Ghostwriting.

Now, I have a few ghostwriting projects I really love, and about 7 clients I’ve worked with as a ghostwriter for years now. I tend to stick to subjects I know (so I do a lot of career and HR ghostwriting, since that was my former professional life), but I also blog regularly for several small business owners: A wedding photographer, a fitness guru, and even a novelist who just doesn’t feel like she has the time to blog.

The thing about ghostwriting work is that it helps to pay the bills, and I genuinely like the clients I work for. But the stuff I’m writing isn’t in line with the subjects I would want to brand myself as being an expert on… it’s just consistent work I can count on, which is a big deal for a freelancer.

But over the last few years, I’ve been bringing in more and more of the passion work; the writing and editing jobs I get truly excited about. And then in July, mom.me hired me on as their social media manager. It is by far the biggest, most consistent project I’ve ever had. There are a lot of good things that come with that–I’m taking on new challenges, still working from home, and I’m making enough money to be able to be really picky about the other work I do.

Which means more time to focus on my passion writing, and even to work on that first fiction novel I have my heart set on completing.

The downfall is that given the hours I’m dedicating to running social media for a big brand now, I don’t have as much time to commit to the many smaller projects I was previously juggling.

Something had to give.

Now, I have the typical freelancer mentality: This part of me that struggles to let go of any potential income stream, because you never really know when work is going to dry up. But things have been going really well with mom.me, and I’ve also had several other dream writing opportunities come my way in the last few months. I’m knocking on wood as I type this, but I think I’ve reached the point in my career where the dry spells may be a thing of the past. Which left me with the realization that I could no longer continue to hoard all the work that comes my way. At least, not if I also want the opportunity to sleep.

I knew I needed to establish a very clear understanding of what I could and could not take on from this point forward. And more importantly, I knew I needed to then stick to that.

After a lot of reflecting, I realized I obviously want to keep my passion writing, and I still want to make developmental editing a big part of what I do as well (I genuinely enjoy it, and it’s something I like to think I’m very good at). But it no longer makes sense to contribute time to ghostwriting, when that’s the one facet of my business that doesn’t really contribute in any way to where I want to go.

So… over the last week, I gave my notice to several clients. Which was weird, because again, as a freelancer–you don’t typically turn down work. It was also hard, because I’ve worked for some of these clients for several years now–they’ve become my friends, and I hate letting friends down!

Thankfully, everyone was incredibly understanding–even if they did try to bribe me to change my mind a little. I gave them all plenty of notice, promising to continue on until the end of the year. But after that point?

  • I’ll only be writing content I pitch and want to write.
  • I’ll be dedicating time every week to finishing my fiction novel.
  • I’ll only be taking on 3 developmental editing clients a month–which means my editing slots WILL be booking out months in advance. I’d suggest getting in touch now if you want me to edit your book!

I had a friend confess to me the other day that she thought I was totally crazy when I quit my job 3 years ago. I had a newborn, and no real guarantee that I could make this work. “But you’re doing it,” she said, “And it’s kind of incredible to watch.”

What she didn’t realize is how incredible it is for me to experience. I feel so ridiculously lucky to be able to do what I love for a living, and to have the flexibility with my career that I know not most single mothers have. I got an e-mail recently asking me how I managed to build up a career as a writer, and my abbreviate response was just that… luck. I really do think that’s what it came down to for me. Timing, and networking, and luck.

But I’ll take it, because yeah… I’m grateful.

So… that’s what’s been going on with my career this last month. On the home front, we got our first in-town snow last week, and this kid could not have been happier!

img_8289

We’ve already done some sledding and snowman building, and are just hoping for another good dump-down of snow to really make for a perfect winter!

One of my writers recently published her first book and it’s one I can absolutely recommend:

I provided developmental editing for Sandra, but Masao completely captivated me from beginning to end–which is saying a lot, because historical war biographies wouldn’t typically be my preferred niche. But the way Sandra sheds light on WWII through the eyes of a soldier who might otherwise have been shunned on US soil is absolutely fascinating. This is a true story that shines an entirely new light on this less-than-stellar piece of US history, and it is absolutely worth the read.

As for my own work, here are some of the pieces I’ve had published over the last few weeks:

Now, we’re heading into a weekend with snow and two birthday parties… so pretty much lots of fun ahead! I hope you all have great weekends as well!

One response to “Week in Review: First Snow”

  1. Cristy

    It’s hard to say no and to terminate opportunities. I’m in the phase of hording options, so I know that anxiety. But I’m glad you are prioritizing what you can and want to do. It is important. Plus you have recommendations for your work from long-time clients.

    The car seat issue is one so few truly understand. We turned the Beats around a couple of months ago as it was clearly time (they were messing with the seatbelts), but we did keep them rear-facing past the 2 yr mark because of the data about crashes. And they will stay in their current seats until they reach the requirements that you listed (goal is 6 yrs) because it’s that important.

    I nodded along with your feeling muted piece. I feel that way too.

Leave a Reply