The last couple days I’ve been taking stock of this freelance writing journey. It’s been almost four months since I quit my job at the treatment center, said goodbye to the awful commute from Long Beach to Woodland Hills, and committed myself to writing. And I think I’m coming to peace, to a sense of serenity, at this moment. I’m not making a lot of money. In fact, it’s still a struggle, and I just started picking up tutoring. But so far, it’s been worth it.
When I first started trying to get bylines, I was so pumped to have calendar pitches accepted at the LA and OC Weekly — listings for events in the area. I remember I must have spent five hours on 200 words, thinking that someone might see my work and want me to write more. Well, that was my start, and I’m forever grateful for those pieces (which I still write sometimes), but now I’m publishing more, and as Heron pointed out to me last night, I’ve come a long way. I am happy with the progress of my writing.
But I miss many aspects of the full-time job. I miss being able to go dinner. I miss be able to pay parking tickets without it ruining my week. I miss being able to walk down to E.J. Malloys on Broadway and buy a few beers, a cheeseburger and fries, and talk shit about a sport I didn’t care about with a stranger I would never talk to again. I miss being able to bring home flowers to Heron whenever I felt like it. I miss being able to take flights home to see my friends in Massachusetts. I miss seeing my family and buying a steak every once in a while. Though I have come to terms with all that.
I have a dream. I have a goal. I want to make writing my life. And I’m not entirely sure where that’s going to take me yet. I’m not exactly sure when I’ll go back to working full time, because if there is an opportunity out there that I can’t refuse, I’ll probably take it. But one thing is for sure — I will find a way to write.
So this was all running through my mind tonight. And earlier, I was talking to my Uncle in Pennsylvania. He was always a man I admired. Very successful. A guy who could probably do anything in the world and be successful at it. Then he was asking me how I was doing. I was telling him how I was getting hitched in February and that I was a freelance writer. I was telling him there were ups and downs. I was telling him that I was actually being paid to write. I was telling him about living in Long Beach, California all the way from Clinton, Mass.
He was impressed. Then I said to him, but you know, sometimes I wish I chose another path. Sometimes I wish I chose a job that paid better right away. Sometimes I wish that I picked a career with a more definite career track. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to pay my dues without knowing what the dues were going to get me. But then I realized, in the middle of talking to him, that I didn’t have a choice. This way of life, well, it had chosen me. There’s nothing I can do about it.