Skiing and Writing: How do they compare?

Finally, I’m getting in some time for a blog post. It’s been a whirlwind of business for me for me since my trip and I’ve been absent from blogging for longer than I would have liked. But paying clients trump personal blogging. So anyway, about my trip – it was wonderful! Seeing my best friend and spending a whole week with her was awesome! We did some really cool things and I got to see a lot of Colorado. By far the best part was skiing in Breckenridge. Having not been a huge skier, I found that I did a lot better than I had hoped I would. And of course the time spent on the ski lift gave me time to draw some parallels between skiing and freelance writing. From my observations there are two types of beginner skiers and approaches:

  • The Jump Right in Approach: Those that hop on the ski lift and head right to the top of the mountain. Once at the top, they fearlessly attempt to fly down the mountain often falling, but when they do fall, they get back up and try to get down the slope again. Like beginner skiers, there are those people who decide they want to try freelance writing and they jump right in. If they make a mistake, they brush it off and move on. There is something to be said for that. Having the courage to keep trying is impressive in this tough career. However, in their haste, sometimes markets aren’t researched and money isn’t saved for slow times. Often they take on one time clients just to get by, but fail to build up long term clients.
  • The Slow and Steady Approach: Those that take a lesson before getting on the lift and when they do get to the top, they take their time and practice control as they go down the mountain. If they fall, they figure out what they did wrong to correct it the next time. In freelance writing there are those beginners that are planners. They research markets, they save up some money to fall back on during slow times and they consistently try to build up a good client base while learning from their mistakes so as not to repeat them.

In my previous ski experiences I have been the type to just dive right in to try to fly down the mountain. This as you can imagine caused me to fall a lot and lead me to believe I was not a good skier. This time however it was different for me. I took the slow and steady approach. I realized that it wasn’t a race to the bottom and that it was more important that I make it to the bottom without any broken bones.

I have taken this same approach in my writing career. I saved up money and worked part time freelancing to experiment with different markets before I quit my full time position. I have also worked hard to find long term private clients and to build a good relationship with them.

Even with all of that planning, money was tight and at the beginning – I was barely scraping by, but just as I approached this career in a steady manner, my income has steadily risen each month. I think if I had just jumped right in without planning I would have been much less successful. I would have gotten frustrated, lost confidence and probably by now would have been looking for full time work again. And just like skiing, I’ve made it this far unscathed.

How about you? What approach do you take and how has it worked for you?

Advertisements

A Plan is Forming

I’m terrified. Sitting in a meeting today I was suddenly flooded with doubt about whether I could really leave my job. How will I survive? How will I pay my mortgage? It’s very scary to be so use to a paycheck and then have it suddenly disappear. What if I don’t get writing jobs?

Tonight, I decided I had to make a plan. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do it, and it helps to want to do it very badly, but every good idea needs a plan. Here is mine: The way I see it, I need to save up enough money to make it through at least six months. After six months if I’m not making ends meet, I will have to find a part time job to help supplement my income. I’m happy to report I am well on my way. Without giving any numbers away, I think I have at least three months banked.

My husband and I went over the plan tonight at dinner. He is more confident than me. He tends to think in more simple terms, and insists that we will be okay. Plus, I have already started writing for a content producing site and been there for almost a month. All that money is going directly to my savings for the big transition. I have also been implementing other save money tactics. I’m not shopping or spending extra money on anything. We have changed our budget and taken out everything that isn’t a necessity. All said we are able to save a lot of money a month. I’m feeling more hopeful about the whole money thing now.

I’m also looking for ways to increase my monthly income while I still have a job. The plan is to look into eHow and other similar sites. If I can build up a portfolio there and make money on a monthly basis with little effort, it’s worth a shot. I know it will take a while, but my goal is to have a strong start before I leave my job.

With all that planning, I still haven’t narrowed down a date to leave my job. Obviously, it would be nice to put in my notice tomorrow, but that isn’t realistic. I have a project I am working on for May and another coming up in August that I have already started working on. It would probably be acceptable to leave in the beginning of June, and better to wait until the beginning of September. It’s not that I owe my company anything, but I don’t want to leave them in a lurch. I want to give them plenty of notice and be sure they can still be successful without me. As I have said before, I don’t dislike them; in fact I truly want to see them do well, with or without me.

And of course, with all of this I am searching daily for additional freelance jobs. Anything that I can take to make extra money, get my name out there and fine tune my writing will help me immensely with this transition.

It’s a start, a work in progress, stay tuned to see how it all works out!