My sad freelance experience

Something happened recently that made me question my ability to write.

A few months ago, I got my dream freelance job writing content for a children’s educational app.

It was my first freelance job ever and I spent 10 hours a week holed up in my room perfecting my content. I had so much fun coming up with creative ways of teaching children about the Earth, the solar system, and the things they saw around them.

I was earning quite a lot on the side. I earnt more per hour on this job than any other job I had ever had. I thought I had finally transitioned into the world of freelance and that I could quit my full time job.

But I decided to wait just to be sure. I continued working 40 hours a week on my day job, and 10 hours a week on my freelance job. I would come home after 12 hours, then squeeze in an hour to write. I did this for about 4 months. Everything was going so well.

But that’s just the thing isn’t it? When everything goes well, something bad is bound to happen. That’s when things started to unravel.

I started coming home from work feeling extremely tired. I couldn’t think. All I wanted to do was lie down on the couch and sleep. But I forced myself to work on my freelance job. And that was my mistake.

Everybody always tells you to work hard. Work hard and you will reap the rewards. Work hard every hour that you have and don’t waste it by lying on the couch.

But that experience has taught me otherwise.

See, I was working hard. I had a schedule. I thought that if I managed my time well, if I stuck to my schedule, then that was all I needed to get the work done.

I was wrong.

My writing became less clear, and more muddled. I was writing, but I was writing pointless garbage. I was writing for the sake of filling up my quota for the day, so that I could hurry up and sleep.

I knew it at the time, but I just didn’t want to stop. I didn’t want to give it all up. I wanted to continue. I wanted it so badly.

On one particular day, when my spirit was at its lowest and my nerves were at an all time high, I decided to ask the question that I had wanted to ask for so long.

I asked my client if I could extend my hours to 40 hours a week, meaning I wanted to quit my day job and take the leap into freelancing.

I hit send, then I held my breath and waited. And waited. The reply came soon enough.

It still hurts when I think about it. Part of me blames myself for not taking the time out to relax, for putting so much pressure on myself to do well.

My face is burning in shame when I write about this.

This was his reply:

“Thank you for getting back to me, but I’m not comfortable letting you work 40 hours a week at the hourly rate that I’m currently paying you. I suggest we cut it down to half and you continue working for me for 40 hours a week.”

Half.

It felt like a bomb had dropped into my gut. All of these months. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t do well. It was supposed to be something that I was good at. And I couldn’t even do it properly.

I replied back to him.

I told him that I needed time to think about it and that I would get back to him once I had an answer.
I was heartbroken. I had put all my eggs in this one basket. And I was left feeling afraid of my abilities, afraid that I wasn’t ever going to be good enough.

So I did reply. Eventually. It took me four days of going backwards and forwards to finally come up with an answer. I asked friends, I asked family, I even did a coin toss.

Against the unanimous opinions of my family, I said “yes”. Yes to the half slashed wage and yes to the 40 hours. Yes to the fear and yes to giving it a second chance.

I said yes to all those things because of a dream that woke me up in the middle of the night that compelled me to write back and say yes.

In that dream, I kept getting rejected by the man who broke my heart. I kept wanting him to say yes to me, but he kept saying no. I had this horrible feeling of being given up on, of bring the woman that nobody wanted to take a chance on.

And when I woke up, I decided to turn the tables. I no longer wanted to be the girl who said no to risks, but the woman who said yes to unknown chances.

That day I made my decision.

I still have to wait for a confirmation from my client. But I’m waiting, not with bated breath, but with a sense of confidence, that whatever the outcome, I chose to give myself a chance.

My dad’s advice

My dad came over yesterday and sat next to me as I poured my heart out about my failed plans and how heartbroken I felt.

After talking with him, he made me realise that my loss allowed me to gain something in return. Time.

Now I was free to spend those extra hours after work solely working on my own projects.

Later that day, as my Dad was driving on the road, a car suddenly came up in front of him. By the light of the headlight, he saw the word “GO” and my name on the car plate.

To him it was a sign of encouragement from the universe, so he followed the car, took a picture of it and sent it to me.

Even though I felt quite small, knowing that my dad was supporting me made me feel a lot bigger.

The secret book club

Since things haven’t been turning out as I had hoped they would, I’ve a little more spare time on my hands. So I decided to do something a little unusual today.

I placed an ad in the local newspaper asking for kids to join a book club.

Now I don’t know how well or disastrous this will turn out, or whether anyone will even respond to my ad, but I thought it would be good to at least do something to encourage kids to read.

I used to work in the library, and during my time there I read to kids, and did lots of fun activities with them. The most memorable moments were when the kids would come up to me and talk to me while their parents were exhausted and napping on the couch.

I remember with joy when a little four year old boy came up to me and we had a full on conversation about everything you could ever talk about on the planet. He had so much to say and I was really surprised by how well he could hold a conversation.

I even made a little friend while I was working there. To this day we talk on FB once or twice a year. Our conversations are quite brief, I don’t think she can stay on FB for long, but I actually think it’s quite funny that once or twice out of the blue, I’ll see a message pop up and it’s from her.

Anyway, wish me luck. I really hope this book club thing kicks off. I guess what I’m really looking forward to is seeing some of the kids make friends with each other and have huge smiles on their faces.

Books should make children feel powerful

The fondest memory that I have as a child was listening to my teacher read Narnia.

Every afternoon at exactly 2:00p.m. we would stop whatever we were doing and sit there and listen.

If we were loud and boisterous one moment, we were quiet and in awe the next.

I was a playground junkie, I loved playing tag at lunchtimes with my friends. We would take over the entire playground with our shouts and running feet, but whenever it was 2:00 p.m, I would sit there on the carpet, arms crossed and turn silent.

I still remember quite clearly why I loved the book. It was the feeling that it gave me. I could see the images running through my own head as if they were scenes in a movie. Images of a boy running away from a witch, dropping down into a black hole, of children being tied to a tree and a mysticism that surrounded the whole story.

That was how my nine year old brain interpreted C.S Lewis’s words. I saw them as pictures and felt them, and no matter how many hours had passed, they stuck to my mind and imprinted themselves like memories.

As I grew older, into my teen and young adult years, I realised the power that stories gave to me.

They got me out of bed and made me run up a hill. They made me teach myself skills when I didn’t think I was smart enough. They made me see a different side to me when I didn’t believe in me. And they made me realise to always, always cherish the parts in yourself that you hate. Because somehow, miraculously those faults always turned out to be the one thing that gave you your greatest power.

I discovered that stories were the constant anchor I held onto during transitional moments in my life. They gave me a moment to pause and catch my breath before I was strong enough to swim back to shore.

Nowadays, I feel a tingling sensation course through my body when I find myself in the right section of a bookstore. It’s as if the excited nerves in my body are greeting an old friend. And all because of a book I listened to every afternoon at school.

The rain and I

Sitting here on the couch today, I’ve made a decision not to sell myself short.

I’ve decided I’m going to stand up for myself when other people say “you’re not good enough.”

I’ve decided to say “yes, I am.”

I’m no longer going to please people as if my life depended on it.

These past few days, I’ve seen a change in my habits. I no longer procrastinate, I stick to the things that I say I’m gonna do and I am more disciplined than ever.

I have become this way not because I am strong or successful, but because I have failed.

I have failed and realised that I didn’t want to diminish myself anymore.

Today I cried buckets and buckets of tears. Today, the plan that I had set into motion didn’t pan out.

But that’s ok, because when the rain speaks, nothing else can be heard. It’s just the rain and I. Stripping away all the inessentials.

The one who makes all the wrong decisions

Do you ever make decisions that are insane/ incomprehensible/ illogical, that nobody in their right mind would do?

I feel like that is me. Or, at least, I am on the verge of doing that. And I’m so torn between logic and insanity that I’d be willing to base my decision on a simple coin toss.

The thing is, I am always torn between these two opposing forces. On one hand, I think how awesome it would be if I took a leap of faith into the unknown, where there is no guarantee that things will ever work out. And then I snap back to reality, scaring myself with all the what ifs.

People seem to romanticise the idea of taking leaps of faith and letting whatever comes your way hit you.

I do too. And it scares me.

So why do I think like that when I’m not really that brave of a person? Who am I to think that I will be able to soldier on through whatever comes my way?

Because there is something that I am utterly afraid of. Something that happened to me when I was nineteen years old that has stayed with me and messed up my process of thinking.

I could be safe and comfortable going about my own day. But then I think back to my nineteen year old self and the way I didn’t act when I should’ve or could’ve. My life would’ve changed in that instant for the better if I acted on that whim.

But I didn’t. And that has stayed with me for years, crawling underneath the roots of all my decisions.

No regrets. No regrets. It’s why I push too hard even if things look bleak.

No regrets.

I would rather have tried too hard than not at all. Because then I would know. I hate having to rewind back in time to find a piece of knowledge that has slipped through the cracks because of an indecision. It’s tedious. That’s why there’s no such thing as time travel.

Regret has made this shy, wallflower of a girl need to try something different. Regret has hurt my mind, stretched it, and bent it in ways that I would have never imagined.

Regret has disrupted my safe thinking and conjured up wild and crazy alternatives, opening my mind up to endless possibilities.

Fearing regret has probably made me a little insane. It’s probably led me off track at times. But I hope it will eventually lead me back to the right decision.

I am an adventurer

I am an adventurer.

Not your typical skydiving, globe trotting, jet skiing adventurer, but a more solitary, peaceful kind.

You see, being adventurous means being brave and following your heart.

My adventure happens right here in my room, where I am writing stories, becoming the author that I want to be.

There are it’s challenges; distractions, heartbreaks, financial woes, and work that gets in the way. But an adventure wouldn’t be called an adventure if it was one smooth sailing ride to the finish.

One of my major challenges this week has been my freelance work. Due to distractions, loss of a close friendship/romantic interest and feeling down in the dumps for the past week (months), I’ve let the quality of my freelance work slip.

My client is not too happy about it, but he has given me another chance to fix it, which means less time spent working on my novel.

Luckily for me, this weekend is a long weekend so I can, if my mind permits, focus on getting things sorted.

I currently work 2 jobs, a 40 hour a week day job, and a ten hour a week freelance job. So I’m forgiving myself for being a bit stressed and making mistakes.

But it’s really got me thinking. I need to pull myself together and stay organised so that I can get the work done and still have enough time to write my novel.

I’ve only spent a few hours this week writing it, which is nothing compared to the time spent freelancing and working.

I’m thinking in a few more months, something needs to give. I’m waiting a bit longer to make a decision. Seeing how things turn out first.

Anyway, what challenges have you guys faced while reaching for your dreams?

Hope the stars can work in our favour for the rest of this year.