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.

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.

Reflections

Everytime I think about him, I’m going to use the energy to finish writing my novel. I’m going to allow myself to think about him for a short while, but then afterwards I’m going to go on the computer and start writing.

That’s going to be my ritual for the next 6 months or however long it takes to get over him.

I heard that building your own self esteem and doing something meaningful to you is the only way to get over someone, as opposed to distracting yourself with random things.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

He was never really good at keeping promises anyway. I always had to remind him. So now I’m going to make up for that. I’m going to commit to the promises I’ve made to myself.

How will life work itself out?

Just spent 4 hours working on my freelance work. It’s now 1:22am. I’m feeling extremely tired, my head’s spinning, but it’s so worth it.

Everytime I do a substantial amount of work I go to bed smiling.

Lately, my schedule has been extremely busy. I come home from work at around 6.40pm, then try to spend an hour each night working on my freelance project.

I say try to because some nights I just feel like sitting in front of the couch watching trashy TV.

I know I’ll regret it in the weekend when I have to make up for the time lost. Like right now.

My target is to spend at least 10 hours a week on freelancing. I could do more if I quit my job, and I could earn a lot more too, so I’m weighing up my options.

The past few months have been emotionally draining and this freelance job is the only thing that’s sort of helping me get over someone.

Without it, I would feel so lost. I wouldn’t have this feeling of accomplishment that temporarily eases the pain of loss.

I’m glad I followed my strengths because they’ve helped me climb out of a bad rut I’ve fallen into. Which happens quite a lot!

Remember, you might think dreams are useless, but dark days are the times where our dreams are needed the most.

Goodnight.

Writing under the shade of a tree

Right now I’m using my break to sit and write under the shade of this big tree. I only have 15 minutes to finish this post before I have to return back to work. So I’ve got to hurry.

Why am I writing under a tree?

Before my office moved to the other end of the street, I used to do my personal writing at the library, during lunch time. Now that I’ve moved further away from the library, I’ve been scrounging around for neat little places to sit down and write.

Sometimes it’s impossible to find the energy to write after work, so I try to write throughout the day, in bits of time between my working hours.

Finding the perfect space to write

Nothing can replace the feel of a nice, soft spot in the library, but if you have no choice but to sit outside and write, then find somewhere that’s partially private.

Writing delves into the subconscious, and if you’re one of those people who can’t think when people are staring at you, then a nice shaded area, dense with trees, is the perfect place to write.

I want to write more but I have to go back to work. I’ll be here again, making use of this private writing spot. I hope to spend more of this time working on my novel.

 

 

 

Wandering without a religion

People always find it strange when I tell them that I don’t have a religion, as if I should’ve been born with one, like the hair on my head, or the skin on my back.

All I can say to them is that I never came with one. My parents aren’t religious, but they’re not atheists either. I always have to add in this last part as if not being religious automatically classifies us in opposition with whatever religion people believe in.

But from time to time, when I feel lost and out of my element, I have yearned for the guidance and support that people in community groups receive.

And the question that sometimes springs to my head is: How do I belong? Where do I belong if I don’t belong there?

Over time I have discovered that I belong in libraries and bookshops, in the comfort of an author’s words. Whenever I need guidance, I turn to books for advice and in them I find solace.

Who’s to say that reading isn’t a religion in itself, when it’s brought me great purpose and taught me how to have an open mind?

Wandering alone in the dark, I found my religion in their words.

Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to them: To find words for what we already know. ~Alberto Manguel.