The Twelfth and Thirteenth

While writing for a local business today, it struck me that the life of a freelance writer is akin to a vagabond in search for continuous work. It’s a measure of tenacity, commitment and pure dumb luck. Where the feet fall, work shall follow.

I usually stumble on projects by accident but it isn’t always easy to find work. In fact, sometimes it’s incredibly hard, especially in the beginning when fresh out of college and no one knows that you’re brilliant and witty and full of more adjectives than a Thesaurus. C’mon, I have a degree to show for it, loans that will last into my child’s adulthood, and a lovely set of paper plates with the name of my alma mater in burgundy and gold.

When I first stepped into free-lance writing, I had great ambition with a whole lot of hot wind in my sail. I was forward bound and not even a nor-easterly would knock me down. But oh, I was definitely knocked down by the greatest minds of my fair city. Rejected on doorsteps of publishing companies, turned away empty-handed from advertising firms…I was this close to packing a knap-sack, tying it to a stick, and walking away.

But then something extraordinary happened.

I learned to write for free.

There is no shame in giving your talent when talent ought to be shared. Slowly, after several places agreed to take on my green-eared pen, I earned tiny sums of respect that were reverently placed in the vaults of compassionate memories. The wind slowly picked up again, gentle and prodding like an autumn breeze trying to dance with a single, independent, golden-specked maple leaf.

And then the gale began. Hired by an advertising firm, working on private projects on the side, author of a biography for a local family. My time had come and the free work had paid off.

I look at The Gardener in the same light. No one is paying me to write books. No one gives a damn if I write the alphabet a 100 times a day and call it good writing. Absolutely no one is looking over my shoulder to make sure I have a certain quota by the end of the quarter. I’m on my own and I write books for free.

But someday. Someday.

The wind will start out as a tiny swirl, barely noticeable, and as my dream turns into reality, I will find a storm worthy of all this time.

An artist has to believe, has to have passion, has to have a blind resolve that challenges everything sane in a paycheck world. And by doing so, an artist lives on bread and water but thrives on the very essence of being alive.

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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