A Year of Freelancing:
The other night, I was reading through my journal from last year, and I discovered it’s been a year, almost to the day (depending on how you count it), since I took up freelance writing as a profession. Naturally, it’s caused me to reflect on the last of year of writing.
I’ve done far, far better than I ever expected, but to be honest, my expectations were always pretty low. No sense sugar-coating it; I was miserable a year ago.
I’d been writing fiction for several years, but that was going nowhere slowly. I wasn’t making any money, I hadn’t had any artistic growth or progress in quite a long time, and I’d completely lost hope.
Like many young people, I felt very lost and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. But writing was something I’m competent with, even if my fiction has never quite reached the quality I’d hoped for it, and unlike the other professions I’d considered, freelancing didn’t fill me with a horror at the very thought.
So I wasn’t feeling very optimistic, but I was at the end of my rope, so I put together a resume and a portfolio and started looking for jobs.
The first few weeks were difficult at best and soul-crushing at worst. I didn’t get many responses, and most of the ones I did get turned out be scams. I took to applying at “content mills,” the very bottom rung of the freelance ladder, but even those mostly rejected me — a blow to the pride if there ever was one.
Eventually, I did get one site willing to pay for my work, the goofy Weird Worm, which you will be familiar with if you read this blog often. They gave me my first professional publishing credit.
At almost exactly the same time, I started up this here blog as a way to keep in practice and showcase my work.
Then, slowly, I started getting more jobs. Most of them were poorly paying and ended almost as soon as they began, but they added to my portfolio and my experience. To further enhance my resume, I signed up as an unpaid intern at a small magazine, reading fiction submissions both brilliant and terrible — mostly terrible.
My greatest success to date came when I was hired to cover World of Warcraft’s Rage of the Firelands patch for Massive Online Gamer magazine. There’s no greater feeling than being able to use the amount time you spend playing WoW as a job qualification.
This led to my writing several more articles for the magazine, up until its closing.
This past winter, I placed as a finalist in the Blizzard 2011 Global Writing Contest with my short story, “The Future of Lordaeron.” This was the first and so far only time I received significant recognition for my fiction writing. It was very exciting, though probably not terribly meaningful in the greater scheme of my career.
And that pretty much brings us to the present day. I’ve got several regular jobs at the moment, and I have something to write virtually every day. I’m making a modest but steady income. I still need more work, but it’s better than I would have thought possible during the dark early days of last year.
Speaking of current projects, two more of my articles have been published online recently.
My latest article for WhatMMO is MMO Mechanics That Need to Be Reexamined. For such a big genre, MMOs show remarkably little variation or innovation.
The other article, co-authored with environmental lawyer David McRobert, is on the value of conservation and its superiority to the more popular recycling. Somewhat dry reading, I suppose, but it adds some needed diversity to my portfolio, and it is on a topic I care about.
If you’re looking for me to draw a conclusion from the last year, I don’t have one. Things have gone better than I hoped, but I still have a long, long way to go if I’m to become the success I want to be.
And as for the fiction writing that started it all, I still don’t know what to do. I still throw together a short story once in a blue moon and tinker with my novels on occasion, but that’s it. I still want to share my stories with the world, but I don’t trust the shaky state of the publishing industry, and I’m not sure I have the marketing expertise to self-publish successfully. And that’s not even mentioning the concerns of whether my work is actually any good.
Diablo III release date:
I would be remiss if I didn’t include this. Blizzard has announced May 15 as the release date for Diablo 3. I was hoping for April, but oh, well. Gives me more time to get “The Book of Cain” and catch up on the lore.
If you want to smile, check out the official forum. Nerd-joy is a beautiful thing.