The first blog I ever read regularly is authored by a NYC based writer whose prose touches me to the core. Her blog, called Seven Hundred Fifty Words was a vehicle in which she challenged herself to write daily for a year. Loving her style, I gobbled it up, a bit late in the game comprehending that a 750 word essay is about the standard size for a one page magazine article. I’m self taught here, so let me know if I’m off on that, but I think I’ve got it. Over the last few years, I’ve had a few pieces published, but the first (and only) article appearing with my byline in a somewhat (how’s that for hedging--maybe “almost” is the right word here) major publication, approximated 750 words. The next time I targeted a piece for for a magazine, I kept it to 750 words and within 24 hours, the editor emailed me to tell me they wanted to print it. Hmmm, I sense consistency here.
Last February, when the paying job went away, I dove into this blog. Though I required nothing of myself other than regular writing, if we average the posts over the last eight months, I’m guessing that most will come in somewhere in a ballpark between 500-750 words. That’s five days a week (not counting Saturday summaries) 500-750 or so words each day. I haven’t sought publication for any of these words in any other media--none have appeared in traditional print--and sometimes--OK a lot of times, I've wondered what in heaven’s name I've been doing. Regardless, something down deep compelled me to keep going--regular practice I figured, at a minimum would improve my writing. Still, a thought niggled that Middle Passages has been leading me somewhere, and though I couldn’t tell you where, for the last several months I’ve listened to my inner voice whispering “This will pay off somehow” and kept on plugging.
I spent the spring hemming and hawing about how to transition my employment life to incorporate writing, until last June, when as a result of networking phone calls to incredibly kind people (Thanks Gary, Maureen, Robyn, and later Rosemary) I began to understand that I could start my own freelance writing business. As is my practice with all new things, I took it slowly, like a puppy running up to the sea and then high-tailing it away as soon as a big wave arrived. I started saying the words to myself: “I think I might…no I am going to open my own business,” then practiced saying them out loud. When that overwhelmed me, I retreated--enjoying a first ever summer with my daughter, time with my visiting sister and writing for this blog.
Finally, September rolled around and it was time. Targeting a deadline, this past Monday, I sent an email to 67 people informing them of my new venture and almost immediately learned that yes-in-deedy, Middle Passages has prepared me for something.
Yesterday at 4:00 p.m. I spoke to an interior designer who needed an article written for a local publication in less than 24 hours. Her normal copywriter was swamped and referred her to me (Thanks again Robyn!). Could I write the article? Hallelujah yes. Did I interview the interior designer last night, two of her contacts this morning and write a 748-word article which I submitted before 2:00 today? Yup, I did, because even though my stomach churned, heck, I’ve been writing something like a 750-word essay five days a week for the last eight months. In the spirit of entrepreneurial-ship, what’s one more? Oh, and yes, an invoice was involved and remuneration for my effort will be forthcoming.
Now though, I’m really over the moon—because the interior designer just called me. She received the article that I emailed to her this afternoon. Guess what? She loved it.
Hey folks! Light up the firecrackers. It appears I’ve become a freelance writer.