On Being Self-Employed

99% of the time, I love my freedom.  The flexibility that comes from being able to start work immediately upon awakening while still in my jammies, or after a morning yoga session, or even from my own desk at 7 o'clock at night is a gift I'm well aware most people desire.  Still, I have my moments (today being one of them) where I just think, "I'd rather go into an office, have someone tell me what they want me to do, do it, then come home and not have to think about work any more until I go in tomorrow."

I feel a lot of pressure--pressure I put on myself--to constantly be producing something.  And so often, I feel I have little to show for my efforts.  Today, for example.  It's now almost 3pm and I've been at my desk since 9 this morning.  This morning I answered e-mails which included replying to students  about possible places for them to publish, giving my opinion to a friend on a tagline for her business, following up on trying to find a webmaster for my writers group, and a few other tasks.  All things that needed to be done, but nothing income producing.

I also spent 30 minutes composing an e-mail to the director of the new UNC-G Creative Writing Center.  My local writers group is very excited about the Center with whom we hope to partner and offer joint classes to the community.  My e-mail was an introduction to myself, our group, and proposed projects for the year.  Again, very worthwhile, but not making me any money.

This afternoon I did switch into writing gear and researched and composed 2 queries which will go out to approximately 6 different magazines.  Still, the research for facts to make the queries interesting took the better part of the afternoon, and I still have to get feedback from writer friends before I send them out, so while the queries will eventually be sent out in the hopes of getting me work...nothing is going out today. (BTW, a "query" is a pitch letter sent to a magazine where you sell them the idea you'd like to write about. Sort of like a resume for magazine articles).

Part of my frustration stems from the unknowingness of my work.  So okay, I put together two really good queries today.  That doesn't mean they'll sell.  They might, but they just as easily might get lost on an editors desk for 6 months, or they already have a similar project in the works, or they don't like the idea, or whatever.  If that's the case, then this is an afternoon wasted.

I know, cry me a river.  What a hard life I lead, having to sit here at home and fret about all this. But I'm having...not really even a down day, but more of a "Am I just wasting time? What is the point of all this?" day.  There is so much I need to accomplish: marketing for my book (which is such a beast in and of itself, I don't even know where to start), thinking about professional speaking and the marketing and positioning that goes along with that, writing my Millicent book, writing my public speaking book, keeping up with article assignments, finding new assignments, speeches for Toastmaster, volunteer work, household chores, keeping up with friends and family so they don't despair of my ever calling them again and give up on me, and so on.

Everything just eats time.  I can spend an afternoon on marketing and not make a dent.  Or, for example, yesterday afternoon I spent making calls, researching, and sending e-mails to line up interviews for the auto columns I write for the News & Record.  That's an entire afternoon spent on something I didn't enjoy and that isn't really a part of my career path.  So should I not write the column and work on "career path" items like the books? The column is at least sure money...the books are long term projects that may or may not ever yield a dime.

Just feeling frustrated today.  Nothing marching my butt into an office and having me sit there for the next 8 hours wouldn't snap me out of... :)