What Happened When I Freelanced

cat2 When I first set out in the glamourous, unknown world of freelancing, I was fully committed to staying at home and saving money on $10 lunches or the lure of morning coffee. I figured that if I was going to already be paid relatively lowly — you seriously just got to love it and have supplemental income when you do it — that this would be a way for me to save on Metro card rides and the occasional cupcake purchase that always seems to happen when I step out of the house. Seriously, I don’t know how those baked goods end up in my bag.

What I realized about freelancing later on was that you will slowly go crazy if you spend all day in the apartment. You don’t think that would be the case, actually. You think, “Oh. I am fully committed to my apartment. I love writing there! I love my flowery curtains and the easy access to the bathroom! I don’t need to work well with others anymore! I don’t need to wash my hair everyday!” No. I will tell you that you are wrong, because spending your working hours in your house and then your fun hours in your house will give you cabin fever faster than a cabin with a cold sneezing on your naked face.

You will get work done in the house, no doubt about that, but only because those brief Gchat check-ins from your editor will keep you from doubting your existence. A few coping mechanisms you will implement: Continue reading

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Writing Commandments

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As with most New Year blog posts this one will be filled with self-reflection, promise to be better, and a gif or two using fireworks. Not to get too self-congratulatory, but I felt like I worked harder this year writing-wise. It’s slightly odd to think that I started off 2014 as an intern blogger and worked my way through several websites and into freelancing. Of course, I realized that blogging was best done (for me anyway) as something I loved, rather than a profession. So I turned back to writing fiction. This resulted in submitting a piece to an online journal, writing a fanfic for a Christmas gift, and even returning to a forgotten story idea. Someone last night asked me what my resolution for this year would be, and I replied (slightly rudely, I think) that I wasn’t going to make any. Possibly because I never keep them.

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The guy I was talking to seemed surprised. I guess because I give off the excited vibes of someone who would, but I pointed out that that my self right now wasn’t going to be the same person by the end of year. I didn’t want to put responsibilities or expectations on her, but I was more than willing to see what she would get up to.

My writing professor always told us this in the same way, “You’re never the same writer you were yesterday. You’re usually better.” I nodded along, even saying the phrase to myself when I went to re-write stories. I felt it most strongly when I undertook a hard editing job this year on a story two years in the making. It felt like my younger self and my current self were working to make this story successful.

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You’re always going to covet someone’s story or style or a line that they wrote, but reading that or even analyzing a line or a book you love are the building blocks of getting you to be a better writer. Every day you keep at it makes you a better writer, whether you know it or not. So rather than a resolution this year, here’s a commandment: thou shall write whatever.

And if you need more advice, good ol’ Henry Miller’s got your back.

Guest Post: Five Ways To Cope With Being Dumped Before Christmas

We at Poor Writers commiserate with you in all things be it poor, writing, relationships, stubbed toe, and we’re always happy to have people to complain along with us — along with brown papered packages tied up with string, it’s on the top of our favorite things. So, without further ado, I bring you a guest post from Abi, a fellow poor writer and all around savvy minx.

broken heart

So you’ve been dumped before the holidays. The bright, shiny, pine-scented togetherness you were looking forward to has been buried beneath the slush of an unambiguous rejection. Your heart has been shrunk three sizes too small. How do you indulge your Grinchiness short of ruining everyone else’s good cheer? Here are some suggestions: Continue reading

I’m Going to Embarrass Devin

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Dear blog reader, if you don’t already know, this blog is brought to you by three very different women — though, when pressed, we’ve heard that we’re very much alike — pursuing a dream of writing, unabashedly. I’m very scared to share my stories or to even talk about my opinions, especially since I’ve been in New York where people are very blunt and dot like my Southern hugs, and in meeting Devin and Imani, they’ve made me realize many things about myself. Continue reading

Gifts for the Writer and Reader on Your List

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So you have a reader or writer friend, relative, significant other, possibly coworker, maybe neighbor, or that guy you see sometimes and thought it would be nice to spread some holiday cheer towards. Well, lucky for you, dear blog reader, I have some excellent suggestions that will show your <insert relationship> feel like you think about him or her enough to get <insert name> a proper present. Or at least show that you know where cool kids shop.

P.S. I don’t know where cool kids shop. I just keep saying that I do to convince myself.

P.P.S. A good way to achieve your goal is to lie to yourself until it is real.

P.P.P.S. Results may very with that advice.

P.P.P.P.S. Yes that is a gif from Jingle All the Way Continue reading

Finding Metaphors in Everything

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Once, mere minutes before a boyfriend broke up with me, I sat outside a subway stop in the rain, waiting for him to meet me at the designated break-up time. OK, I didn’t know it was going to be a designated break-up time. I thought we were meeting for a date, possibly a riveting Scrabble game. But I remember I was running late, and lucky for me, I grabbed an express train at a crowded transfer station. When Dude finally got there, he apologized for his lateness, he said he had to take local because the stations were so crowded and the lines were apparently caught in train traffic. We realized that we were actually on the same local train at one point, but whereas I risked the swap, he decided to stay on. Later that night, when I was walking past Lincoln Center with plastic Duane Reade bags of all of my stuff — Scrabble game included — I laughed at that fateful metaphor glaring right at me. I also cried but that was about the break-up, rather than seeing the metaphor. Continue reading

The Writing on a Bus Writing Exercise

I was a commuter college student. I spent the dark hours of the morning on a bus headed into Atlanta, watching the sun rise right as my fellow passengers and I started to exit off the highway. And man did I love it. Naps, study time, reading time, and, yes, writing time. That hour was my favorite time of day, yes even if I had to study. It was the most productive time I ever spent.

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A Fascination with Literary Groups

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Writing isn’t as much of a hermit hobby as I thought. Sure, when I was younger and well into my teens, I hid any type of writing I did in a document on our family computer under my initials and a number. I probably thought I was being sneaky about how I would come into the living room and add to my story — a riff off of Little Women about a girl and boy’s school post Civil War where we grow up with the characters and watch them try to make it in the changed world — but my sister finally looked over my shoulder at the Word doc on my screen and read the chapter’s title aloud to me. “What’s Joe’s boat?” she asked without emotion, though my 13 year old heart grew embarrassed at her blatant disregard for my privacy. Continue reading

Is it calling it quits?

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I’ve been working for a little over a year now, trying to get into the blogging industry and semi-succeeding with the internships and freelancing opportunities I’ve had, but I realized the other day that I’m not happy. I thought that the feeling I had when I would tell people what I did was me being happy, but even though I could tell people I was writing, that I was living in New York, and that I liked the companies I worked for, I wasn’t happy or getting anywhere really.

To an extent, I can proudly say that I’ve learned a lot about an industry that I wanted to be a part of. I got clips. I got experience. I met some really cool people and filled out a resume. But when I realized that this uphill battle was getting steeper rather than leveling out, I knew that I needed to reevaluate what I was doing.

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An Open Letter to Ian Frazier

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Dear Ian Frazier,

I still cite you as my favorite writer. Well, you and Jane Austen, of course, but you two reside in my literary heart, probably playing cards and somehow discussing why I decided to decorate my literary heart as a 1960’s bachelor pad. It might take some getting used to, because when you snap your fingers a bed or a record player comes out of the nooks and crannies of the room. But I’m sure you and Jane Austen would some use it as a bonding experience.

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing, Ian Frazier, and the answer is, frankly, I miss you. That seems a bit forward actually, I should clarify that I “missed” you, rather than “miss” you, as the latter implies a past relationship and the former implies I was targeting you with a misdirected thrown tomato. I mean the former.

Now seeing as you are (one of) my favorite writers, Ian Frazier, I was stoked to see that you were heading a panel at The New Yorker Festival this past weekend. The place was near a shop I work part-time at too, so I started to have these delusions of running into you nearby, somehow intriguing you to ask how I was and then I would —

That’s it. I wouldn’t do anything. I would probably say fine and scuttle off, Gone to New York securely in my bag for that perfect moment I entertained that morning wasted on me and my nerves.

That’s really what would’ve happened because I frankly have had a hard week, Ian Frazier. Continue reading