I can hardly believe it, but today marks the end of the first month of my freelancing career! It’s been a busy four weeks, full of hard work, hustle, and putting myself out there more than I ever imagined. I am consistently surprised by the opportunities I’m discovering each day, and I keep challenging myself to do more and do better in order to take advantage of those opportunities. There are definitely stressful moments, but I am having fun figuring out this new life, and I am hopeful through the stress, because it feels like I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
Here are some key developments from the last month:
- I am learning to accept rejection. Working for yourself is an emotional roller coaster, because all of your successes and failures suddenly become that much more tied to your sense of personal worth. Historically, I haven’t been known to handle rejection or criticism very well (to say the least). I’m a perfectionist, and I don’t like falling short of expectations, especially my own. Admittedly, I’m also used to getting what I want, as long as I’m willing to put in the work necessary to earn it. Life as a freelancer puts all of those feelings to the test, because success is non-linear– working hard and being good at something don’t automatically equate to a pay-off, because there are plenty of other talented people out there hustling, too! Talent and hard work aren’t the only factors in this business– timing, connections, and pure luck are also involved, and those things aren’t in my control. The first few times I had a pitch rejected, or didn’t get a response to an e-mail right away, I was predictably hard on myself. I’m learning, though,that it’s important to shift my expectations and move beyond temporary frustrations because there are infinite potential opportunities for success in my new non-linear world. It also feels a lot better when I can remove my emotions from a professional situation, and instead go on to the next project with my confidence still intact. Handling rejection will be an ongoing challenge for me, but I’m happy that I am already learning to see it differently.
- I’ve become a better wife, daughter, sister, and friend. For the last few weeks before I made the decision to quit my corporate job, my confidence was at an all-time low. I felt lucky to be working for such an amazing company, but I was unsure about whether or not it was the right place for me, leaving me conflicted and confused about what to do next. For the first time in my adult life, I wasn’t sure what I really wanted for myself. Unfortunately, as many of us tend to do, I took out my frustrations on the people closest to me, especially Matt. It broke my heart that, so soon after our wedding, my internal struggle was killing what was supposed to be our honeymoon period. As hard as it was to take a risk by leaving my job, now that I’ve done it, and now that I have proven to myself that I have what it takes to pursue the things that fulfill me, I find that I have a lot more of myself to give to my husband, parents, siblings, and friends.
- I’m figuring out that a schedule may be less…scheduled than I once realized. One of the goals I made for myself as I transitioned from an office gig to working for myself was to maintain a schedule. While I’ve mostly stuck to this by spending time each night jotting down a to-do list and general timeline for the following day, I’ve also learned that creative work doesn’t always fit neatly into structured segments. As long as I’m not writing something on deadline, and especially if I’m making a first impression on an editor, I would rather give myself a bit of extra time to make sure that my work is of top quality, even if it means deviating from my original plan. I’ve also learned to be kind to myself and allow flexibility with my time. When I can’t sleep, I’m working at 2 AM, but some mornings, I’m not at my desk until 11. If I’m feeling up to it, I put in a few hours of writing after dinner to takes some stress off the following day’s list of tasks. Whenever possible, I’m listening to my body and my intuition about when I can show up at my desk and be my very best. As long as I can finish each day feeling mentally tired and creatively challenged, I chalk it up as a success, regardless of the specifics.
- People are actually reading this blog! This may seem fairly obvious to you since you are one of those people, but I’m still finding it hard to believe that so many readers are interested in my story! I started the blog simply to share my journey and point-of-view, and it means the world to me to have so much support. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for continuing to read and share!
And now, I’m taking off for a little road trip to celebrate a fabulously productive and fulfilling month. Happy Weekend, everyone!