Introduction: Who am I? What is this?

A great many Microsoft Word templates started out with the infamous Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, a filler text that Google translates to Lorem ipsum carrots. Unsatisfied by this vegetable, I did some digging and found that “lorem” is a piece of dolorem, the word for pain or suffering.

In the photograph above, I am suffering as I wonder why the NY Times never published my response to “Is Sushi ‘Healthy’? What About Granola? Where Americans and Nutritionists Disagree.” I am thinking: Oh drat, oh drat, Jean-Paul Satre was right when he said, “Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough.”

Background

Once I found out Upwork could be my future, I wanted it bad(ly). But I was used to in-house professions, prescribed schedules and poetry readings. My competitors had endorsements, DSLR-quality head shots and a special wisdom in their eyes. What was I?  A twenty-something with the semi-boosted ego of an English professor’s “raw talent” commentary. More subtle boasting to come.

I was at a standstill, afraid to take the leap before I’d finished The Well-Fed Writer. But there was a darker truth beneath my ostensible diligence-- I was lazy.   

As a millennial, I had the experience and market intuition. What I lacked was discipline.  

What to do… What to do…

Alternatives

As I’ve learned from books and blogs, there are infinite ways to launch your freelance career.  When I began my freelance journey, I tried everything. Even Kombucha.

Creating one cover letter for every job.

Yeah, it was a lot easier to copy and paste my song and dance than to cater each message to an individual business. But they see past the disingenuous Hey, you! I’m here to provide XYZ because XYZ please get back to me soon! I need this!

Claiming too many skills.

I had four years of experience in marketing strategy, knowledge in psychology and a lifelong love of writing. I wasn’t an “HTML extraordinaire” and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d ever live up to my 10,000 words-a-day claim. I relayed my experience as word vomit and hoped clients could dig some value out of the toilet.

Expecting immediate success.

In other words, failure was the end-all. Every nonresponse was a personal and professional rejection (and a reason to stay in the office full-time! See, Ruby?! Fear controls you!)

Kombucha

Underwhelming.

Solution

I needed to write something here.

Hard work.

There’s no way around the “hell week” of freelance writing, where you register online and emerge from your comfortable egg as a small fish. During this time, I polished my portfolio with samples catered specifically to the clients I was trying to impress. This involved hours of unpaid work and paid caffeine, countless how-to blogs and a commitment to marketing podcasts. Maybe a few tears.

Blind optimism.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “The basis of optimism is sheer terror.” When you want something badly enough, you feel it in the pit of your stomach. This drive to create professionally pulled me forward, all the while whispering, “Close your eyes...”

The right questions.

Before I asked the experts, I sat down with myself and listed my strengths and interests. I’d done social media and content marketing for a major institution (University at Buffalo) and regional organization (Lake Shore Behavioral Health). Because of this, I started to focus my job search on small companies looking to establish a social brand.

I also wrote content for an academic blog, studied health and psychology and had a genuine love for learning. Technical content writing, specifically in the fields of contracting (the focus of my current in-house job) and chiropractic care, seemed like a good fit for now.

Finally, I asked myself where I’d like to go in the future what steps were necessary to get there.

The Future

As I continue to expand my client base, I am working to develop a freelancing focus. I’ve always appreciated case studies and know that my social media storytelling experience, in combination with the marketing insight I’ve developed over time, will fuel fire of case study brilliance. I’ve created this entire project, graphs and existentialism and all, to prove my passion to you, oh sweet, potential client of mine.