A High School Reunion and Big Accomplishments

My 10 year high school reunion is on Saturday and I have been looking through my senior yearbook. It’s funny, I’m quoted in there as saying I wanted to be a writer when I “grew up”. Hah, guess I did know myself a little bit back then. I wonder if I’m one of the only ones who actually knew what I wanted to do with my life and who is actually doing it.

I’m feeling very indifferent about the reunion. Actually, my first thought was “Am I old enough to have a 10 year reunion?”  Followed closely by “Great, I’ll get to explain to a whole bunch of people what I do and they won’t get it.”

I have a few very good friends from high school that I have kept in touch with, but other than that, I really don’t talk to or think about anyone from those days. So much has happened in life and high school just wasn’t that important to me.

However, to celebrate how far I have evolved in life over the last 10 years and to give myself a little pat on the back, I want to highlight my 10 biggest accomplishments since high school. Here we go:

  1. I earned a college degree – yes in journalism, just like I predicted.
  2. I got married to a wonderful and kind man.
  3. We bought a house together.
  4. I had a successful career in marketing that gave me the foundations I needed to go into business for myself.
  5. I had a successful career in event planning where I gained valuable contacts that have helped me go into business for myself.
  6. I remembered/realized that writing was my true passion in life.
  7. I found the courage to leave a secure job to pursue my dreams of being a freelance writer.
  8. I got my first private client, and then another one, and then another one – well, you get the idea.
  9. I helped my mom battle breast cancer and we won!
  10. I have learned who I am, what I want out of life and most importantly, I have learned that I still have a lot to learn!

Wow, I can’t believe I‘ve done so much in the last 10 years. I have to say, looking at that list I’m very excited to see what the next 10 years will bring.

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Do you get Enough Exercise?

exerciseAs a freelance writer, I find myself sitting behind my computer most of the day getting very little exercise. Don’t get me wrong, when I had a full time job outside of the home, I also sat behind a computer most of the day, but it was different. For starters, I had to park in the parking lot and walk in and out of work, sometimes several times a day as opposed to walking from my bedroom to my office which are side by side. Whenever I printed something, I had to walk across the building to retrieve my print outs rather than reach right next to me and if I had to use the restroom, I had to walk further than ten feet.

I remember thinking when I was getting ready to make the transition from working outside of my home to working at home that I would finally have time to go to the gym. What I didn’t take into consideration was that I would have to go to the gym to prevent myself from gaining weight. I pride myself on sticking to a healthy diet, but my consistency with the gym and exercise in general has always been poor to nonexistent until now. Working from home I have found it’s all to easy to just not get any form of exercise in my day at all.

As a solution, I have begun a strict routine of going to the gym first thing in the morning three days a week. I don’t spend a whole lot of time at the gym, but long enough to get in 30 minutes of pretty intense aerobic exercise. I have discovered that for me the trick to going to the gym is that it has to be the first thing I do in the morning. If I tell myself I’ll just check my email and then go, then noon rolls around and I still haven’t gone. By then, my chances of going are slim to none.

The other thing I have started doing is keeping free weights in my office. Now when I need a break I do a quick weight routine which leaves me feeling energized and more focused, plus it allows me to think through a project for a few minutes.

I have also become better about walking the dogs. Before, if I couldn’t fit it in, I would think oh well, but now I make it a habit of walking them every night after dinner. Between these three exercise strategies, I think I am staying pretty active, fit and energized throughout the day.

How do you make sure you get enough exercise?

Dreams

Dreams

We all have dreams. As freelancers, we are attempting to live out our dreams daily. But, have you thought about all of your dreams lately? Sounds silly, but while you have your head down typing away trying to survive as a freelance writer, have you really looked at your dreams and made sure you were on the right track?

For me I have always dreamed of being a writer. In grade school it was poetry, in high school it was fiction and in college it was as a journalist. While my writing dreams have taken on many forms, I got sidetracked early in my career, abandoning writing altogether for a 401k and a salary. But recently I have found my way back to writing and all of my dreams seem possible.

I love being a freelance writer. I love that I am home all day, I love that I can pick and choose who I work for and what topics I write about. Primarily I do business writing because that’s where my experience is, there are more jobs available and it pays on a regular basis. I truly love what I do, I love my clients and I love writing no matter what kind of writing it is. And I realized this week that I have other dreams for my writing career too.

I just read a really great book, the type of book that makes me actually sad that it is over, and afterwards I sat there thinking – I would love to try to write a book. Something that would make readers feel the way I felt while I was reading that book. Now back when I was in the corporate world, I would have laughed at myself for that thought and forgotten about it as quickly as the thought had occurred to me. But now, it seems like a lot more than a childish day dream, it actually seems possible. Why not? It has suddenly occurred to me that there are other forms of writing that I have always wanted to pursue too. I love reading so much and I have always secretly wanted to be a book critic. I would love to be the first person to read a new book and give my opinions on it in a review. I have also always wanted to write for magazines.

So while I am happy with my current work and I wouldn’t change it for the world, I am going to keep my other dreams on the table too. I am going to start brainstorming book ideas, magazine ideas and I am going to follow all of my dreams, not just one version of them.

What about you? What are your other dreams? What kind of writing do you really want to do and how do you pursue it?

Doing My Happy Dance!

Due to my persistence in applying for jobs, networking and being creative in my job search, I landed two jobs last Friday. I did my happy dance and celebrated a little over the weekend. As 2inspired wrote last week, in her post Practice Your Happy Dance, the little things need to be celebrated too. Now this week I have gotten down to the business of working for my new clients.

You can see where I have been looking for work on my post from last week called Job Hunting. One new client I got was from Deb’s list over at Freelance Writing Jobs. The other client I got was actually someone I used to work with. When I contacted them to tell them what I am doing now, they ended up having a long term project that they hired me for.

I am totally pumped that my efforts are showing and that I am actually able to get somewhere with all of this. I remember when I first started freelancing, my goal was to get just one private client, and then when that happened my goal was to land a private client that didn’t actually know me. Now I have achieved both of those goals and I am hoping that things continue to go up from here.

For the first time since going full time as a freelance writer, I actually feel busy. And let me tell you, feeling busy as a freelance writer has a whole different meaning than feeling busy in a dead end corporate job. I feel like everything I do has a purpose, I will literally see my results and being busy will directly pay off to me. Unlike the corporate world where a lot of times I felt busy, or more like overwhelmed, I also felt like I was running really fast in place. This is such a great feeling. I know that I can always keep myself busy, but to not have to rely on content sites so much, in itself is an accomplishment.

But while I’m busy doing my happy dance, I’m also keeping my eyes on the horizon. I am learning that this job is a slippery slope and I need to stay focused. Even though I feel busy now, I have to make myself continue to apply for jobs every day for when things do slow down again. It’s a fact, in this career, things will slow down again and it’s best to be prepared for those times.

As freelancers, it is the good times that help us through the bad times. I’ll keep doing my happy dance, but I’ll also remember this good feeling the next time things slow down and I get discouraged.

Job Hunting

In my first month of freelance writing full time, I met my earning goals easily. I knew I would due to the fact that I had a few private clients that paid well. So I was feeling pretty good about things, however this month is starting out to be a different story.

Last month it was so easy because my private clients were people who knew me from my previous job, knew my work ethic and knew that they would be happy with my work. There was some buzz when I left and some people in my network had projects that they hired me to do. Currently, I have finished all of those projects, and there is nothing on the horizon. Of course, they all said they would let me know when they have a project, but so far this month, I am sitting here asking myself: Now what?

I pretty much knew this would happen sooner rather than later and I am trying not to panic. I have tried to be proactive about it and have been routinely searching job boards and applying for jobs, many jobs. But the thing is, it is so much harder to find clients that aren’t familiar with you or your work and it’s also hard to know the best places to look for new clients. Today I decided to create a list of all the places I have  looked for jobs – kind of like a checklist that I have to make myself go through every day. I’m hoping that with persistence, this will turn into a few clients to help me through this month and to line up next month. Here is my job hunting list:

Job lists that are put out by other people. And I am very grateful!

Job Boards:

  • Craig’s List
  • CareerBuilder.com
  • Monster.com
  • Indeed Jobs
  • Hot Jobs
  • The Write Jobs
  • Online Writing Jobs.com
  • Freelance Job Openings.com
  • oDesk – Haven’t completely figured this one out yet

Out of the Box Promotional Stuff to Gain Clients:

  • Twitter
  • My address book – that’s right, everyone I know be ready, if you haven’t gotten an email from me yet, you will.
  • The phone book – I have started going through the phone book and sending people my information including my services.

I know that this list is just the beginning and there are endless places to look. I will keep you posted and try to update this list as I find success and other great resources.

Where do you look for work? Have you had any luck?