Writing, particularly freelance, is laced with anxieties. It’s a volatile career, pinned to the whims of editors, publications, backers. And sometimes, when the planets shift just out of alignment, you end up having a totally, utterly shit day.
I’ve been on a steep upward curve the past few months. Things are going really, really well. And let me be clear: They still are. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not riddled with doubt and worry when I don’t hear back on pitches or a gig falls through or the words just aren’t coming quite as smoothly as I wish. I’ve been lucky that writing has been a steady, reliable, and growing career for me.
But today was one of those days where I’m just down. My day job is wearing me thinner and thinner as my writing assignments pile up and I edge closer to going full-time freelance. I got some bad news on one gig and no news on a few others, which is no less stressful. The days have been gray and I’m tired from a week of pounding the proverbial pavement.
Even as I write this, I have a small pile of assignments that are on track, emails out to editors about projects, and pitches I’m really excited about waiting to be read. I have a tidy stack of books to read for reviews, an ever growing list of topics to research for possible articles, and pieces going live every couple days. All of that is what makes a career, and I know that.
Not that it makes the down days any easier. They happen to everyone. We all get off track every now and then, and spend a day just feeling irritated at all of it. I’m lucky to have things to distract myself, work related things even that don’t mean distraction is synonymous with being unproductive. Self-pity and gratefulness are competing for attention right now.
Tomorrow will be better. It’s Saturday, and the start of a long weekend at that. I have a list of projects to keep me just busy enough not to get bored, but not so busy I can’t relax. And maybe tomorrow, or maybe Monday, or maybe a week from today I’ll get another boost; an editor will love a pitch, or a piece will take off on Twitter, or I’ll just wake up in a better mood than I did today.
Today may be a bummer, but at least it’s just one day.
Bridey is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.
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