Why I stopped being a freelancer

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The idea of freelancing as a writer is good in theory. You can do writing work and write your novel but the reality for me was quite different.

To make the money required for living, I had to do good quality jobs with clients who were prepared to pay good amounts of money and it seems since anyone can call themselves a writer, there was no lack of those who were willing to be paid 2 cents a word for a piece of writing.

While I specialise in business writing, I always had work but as someone who doesn’t embrace mindfulness very well and who has two children both requiring university and school fees to be paid monthly, the anxiety of monthly scrabbling around for some work began to wear me down and it crushed my time supposedly put aside for writing the book.

Why would I write the book when I have paid work to finish, so I can bill it, so I can get it in before the school fees are due, so I can get it in before the rent is due. It was cycle of pain and worry, and to be honest, I didn’t always think people were getting my best work.

And there is the holidays. Below is an actual image of freelancers trying to hang on through the holidays.

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Finding work takes time as a freelancer. I was very good at it but it was exhausting and relentless. Because I specialised, I was recommended to others by clients but it was sometimes dire and sometimes it was too much and so the anxiety forced me to stop writing my book and then I would become too busy to write my book.

And then there was the “brief creep”. The client starts out asking for a small thing and it ends up being bigger and bigger and you have to make sure you’re reminding them this will cost and keep it all documented in emails and then they balk at the costs.

What about competition? So many people are writing now and it means the quality isn’t always amazing and the costs to clients are lower.

For me, the idea of freelancing was only ever a means to an end but then kept going. Then I realised I wanted my job to support me as a writer not to impact my writing. I can’t do ten jobs in a week and then still expect to write 14,000 words a week for my book.

The freelancing was stressful and hurt my work as an author.

So I found a full time role that met my needs as a person, parent, partner and gave me the peace of mind to be able to devote my writing time to only my own creative work.

It is an odd feeling going from jumping from project to project and now being able to full immerse myself in the companies work and then when I go home, I have a single book to write.

I managed to write 20,000 words last month. I am hoping to write 62,000 words this month and finish my book, which my publisher is patiently waiting for.

I know myself and I know don’t do well with anxiety about the future. Dave reckons I am never happier when the food shopping is done and I have a few meals cooked in the freezer in case the ice age comes and we can’t get to Aldi.

To write I need block of time and for the first time I have this. And it is a godsend. I don’t have to keep going back to what I wrote three weeks ago to see how the story is progressing as I write.

I don’t have to get my head back into that space and I don’t feel guilty when I think I should be writing for paid work. Writing is a pleasure again and that is a true gift.

You have to do what’s right for you, but as my writer friend Jacquie calls them “A set and forget job,’ can be the greatest thing you will ever do for your writing.

My 6th Letter To You

Hello again,

How was the weekend? Are you okay? You know I’m here if you need someone to listen. I might not have the right words but my ears are very able and clear, so anytime you want to unload, I can carry it for a while for you.

I have been doing a lot of introspective work with varying results. The challenge, as you know, is to know ourselves but also allow ourselves to change and grow. The goal for me is to become more responsive and less reactive.

I was thinking that when we aren’t present in our own lives we tend to rely on the mask of personality we have created and rely on it to see us through the moment or the situation. But what if we were present at these times and we paused, (sometimes I am not good at this but I am trying to be better) and responded without ego and instead responded with curiosity and openness?

I know sometimes I never really feel like I’m really grown up. That I’m pretending to go through the day with responsibilities, it’s actually pretty funny when you think about it. Like you’re ten years old and driving the car, and having parent/teacher interviews, and choosing what to have for dinner. Imagine yourself at ten doing those things. It’s difficult to try and let go of the childlike qualities but also be responsible, most of all for yourself and your actions.

But I know you are doing so well and remember that these odd and unwanted feelings don’t have to stay and if you can let them float past like clouds then that’s all they ever were.

Do me a favour today? Please? Stick around. Be present. Don’t go backwards and don’t go forwards. Be here, now.

You matter.


Kate xx


P.S. My rose are in bloom. They are 22 years old. The yellow one from one of my dearest friend. The pink one I bought when my daughter was born. Aren’t they lovely?

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My 4th Letter To You

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Hello there,

How is your week looking? Are you okay? I was feeling what you felt the other day. It was heavy, I know. I want to remind you that you are strong for carrying it and that you are allowed to put it down from time to time.

Sometimes the uncertainty of what is to come can make us anxious. When I am in high anxiety mode, I tend to miss the signs around me that things are in motion to take care of themselves, so I try and control the will of the world.

It never works out.

Learning to bend with the wind and not break is a type of emotional tai-chi I am still mastering.

My weekend was interesting. I spent Saturday morning crying and then spent Sunday morning laughing. The dualistic nature of the world in action, I suppose. It was good to feel it all though and even better to know that tears can soon be replaced by laughter.

I was meaning to ask you if you have looked into Ennegrams at all? Someone told me about them, I cannot remember who, but I thank them anyway. It has been enlightening for me and the people I have been speaking to about them. I feel understood and I feel like I have been shaken until the silt has washed away and left in its place is my true nature, my true authentic self, flaws and all. I read a quote that said that, “The Enneagram doesn’t put you in a box. It shows you the box you’re already in and how to get out of it.”

I highly suggest you try this if you’re feeling a little misunderstood, or as though you can’t put your finger on what it is that troubles your heart. It’s a concentrated understanding of motivation and cause with ways to move forward to help you understand your motivation in life.

Find out what number you are and then you can read about them here, of just google the number. Amazingly accurate for me. So, so helpful to see I am not crazy, just have some personality traits I rely on that are unhelpful when I am stressed or anxiety, or tired et al.

The older I get the more I value self-awareness and self-discovery. We must try to get to know ourselves in this life and see how much we are expecting others to fix us, or see how much we are trying to fix others. We must do the work ourselves. Knowing yourself is a gift, which reminds me of the poem by lovely Mary Oliver who died last week.

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I wish you peace in your heart and head, even if the world is swirling around you. I wish you joy in the small and large things in life. I hope you see a happy baby in its pram, or a cat sunning itself on a wall. I hope you see roses and new shoots on plants and eat something delicious, and hear a wonderful turn of phrase and sleep in on a day when you need it most.

I am here if you need to share anything.

I love you.

Kate

xx

Drawing On Creative Inspiration

There is a time of the day when I am filled with creative possibility.  It's usually at night, after dinner, having the last cup of tea for the day. I have so many ideas and worry I am running out of time and I am low on talent to create them all. But inspiration is a wonderful thing and I love mooching about the internet finding new things that people have created.

Of course, I wish to do things that are beyond my skill set, such a create notebooks like José Naranja, whose work is exquisite.

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Or I wish to draw like Lily Mae Martin, who can pretty much draw anything. Her work is both pensive and optimistic, as though she sees the world as it really is but pushes on anyway.

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Or create a home filled with the scent of coffee and copal, fairy lights, plants and magic, where you can borrow books and take a spell for something that's troubling you.

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Perhaps I could create collages like this one by Rocio Montonya.

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Maybe write a poem like Mary Oliver.

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Amidst the pain and sorrow in the world, there is also so much brilliance in the world. While I doubt I will ever draw or create like Lily Mae Martin or Jose Naranja, or write poetry as well as Mary Oliver, I can appreciate their talent and in the meantime, I can create a beautiful home, a magical garden and write a novel, so that's a good thing. We all have something beautifil to share inside us.

Happy weekend to all the creative bugs out there. xx

 

 

When She Comes

When luck comes your way

You must not waste her company.

You must serve her tea and butterfly cakes,

Sprinkle her with bon mots, and sing the songs of her childhood.

You must take care but carry on as you always did. 

An honest day of being you.

 

Do not fritter it away like a frittery frit, for fritters are for quitters.

Never presume luck is your wife now, beholden and obeying.

Wives and luck don’t play those games.

But she will not stay for long

And she will not wait for you to be ready.

 

So scoop up the sky trails of spots and place in them in the fishpond for safekeeping.

Bury the coins under the carrots in the garden, where they will keep for leaner days.

Capture the whisper of her wings in the old scent bottle, in case you ever need to fly away.

Once she’s been, she won’t be back this way for a while 

But don’t imagine you are more worthy than others to have her magic.

 

You are no more blessed than the man who lives under the bridge.

Why him and not you?

The bridge is not particular who crosses it and who lives under it

Lucky him to have a bridge at all.

Lucky you, to have this day.