Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing

I’m Hiring Myself

youre hired

Today, I got a new freelance job. For myself. It’s on a trial basis, for nine weeks. At the end of July, I’ll have a performance evaluation and see if I was up to par.

No. I haven’t gone crazy. (Although some days I wonder.)

I’m posting about this experimental hiring of myself for accountability. I’ll update occasionally throughout this testing period.

My checkbook prompted this new regimen. Or, should I say the diminishing numbers in the checkbook. I’ve been a full time freelancer for a little over a year now. I’ve made it through this far. Barely. But, between royalty checks being far less than I’d like, and a few assignments falling through, it seems that each month gets just a bit further behind. I didn’t have the money for a new tire last month. I’ve realized that it’s been a year since I made a trip to see my grandkids that are growing up far too quickly. And, I’m looking ahead and wondering how I’ll get to California in November for my mom’s eightieth birthday.

Looking at the financial aspects jockeying for attention, I decided to apply at local libraries for a part time summer position. I applied for four positions. All were from fourteen to nineteen hours a week. It would cut into my writing time, but the supplemental paychecks would add a few (very few) figures on my bank balance.

Except…the positions begin next week…and no one has even called me for an interview.

I should have been perfect for them. I’ve worked in a library before. I’m a mother and grandmother – I know about dealing with children. And…I’m a writer.

Evidently they didn’t think I was as good of a fit as I thought I was.

When I stopped into the dollar store last week for some laundry soap, I noticed a ‘Help Wanted’ poster in the window. I debated about filling out an application, hoping for a ten to twelve hours a week job. At home I pulled up their website and was checking out the employee benefits page before I got a reality check.

For a rough guesstimate, ten hours a week at nine dollars an hour is three hundred and ninety dollars a month. Minus gas. Minus taxes. That brings me down to about three hundred dollars a month.

If I add in a half hour drive each way, probably twice a week, now I’m looking at twelve hours invested to get three hundred dollars. Surely, I thought, if I productively queried for twelve hours a week I could generate at least that much, if not far more.

I’m talking working for that whole time. Not blogging. Not connecting on social media. Not researching. Not adding to a novel that’s still far from complete. Not outlining a new book that tempts me from the netherlands.

Twelve hours a week of queries. Or, writing on said anticipated assignments.

I decided to run a trial period. Nine weeks. The period the library jobs would have run. I made myself a time card. I’m going to log in and out. I’m going to track my time. I’m committing to an aggressive twelve hours a week.

I looked back at the past four months. Three queries one month. Nine another. Four another. No wonder the acceptances aren’t rolling in. Three and four queries a month is pitiful. Did the 30 Days/30 Queries class I took from Mridu Khullar Relph last year not sink in? Did I learn nothing?

If I’m going to thrive in this career and make some good money, not muddling through at just over broke, then I’d better buckle down and treat it with the same respect and hard work that I’d give any other employer.

So I’m hiring myself and will track my progress, much as I’d have to prove to a boss that I’d accomplished the tasks they set forth for me.

Now I’m motivated. There’s nothing like a little challenge to bring out the contestant qualities lurking under my skin. I’ve got something to prove. I’m out to prove that investing the time in myself and my own career will be better financially than any other punch-the-timeclock job.

I’ll keep you posted!

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Comments on: "I’m Hiring Myself" (8)

  1. What a FANTASTIC post!! You know, I am in a very similar position and last night, I decided to take a real hold of my own destiny! What a coincidence! There is something in the stars, I think 🙂 What made me shake myself was a quote from a book I’ve been reading which stated that rather than give oneself dates as targets – after all if we give ourselves a date, then more than likely we will finish it on that date rather than work harder to accomplish the task beforehand – write URGENT next to the work needed to be done. And you know what? It is so true. How often have we worked our butts off to fulfil a deadline for others ahead of schedule so that we can prove our worth? I know I used to work 18 hour days, 7 days a week in order to stay ahead of the game and earn a good reputation. So why – oh why am I not doing that for myself? Reading your post has empowered me even more and reminded me that I do have the stamina, I do have the skills, I can do this for ME!! I really look forward to reading of your progress and don’t hesitate to pop by my blog if you need a boost – drop me a line. Wishing you lots of positive progress!!!!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Nicola! It’s true, we do tend to find the words, inspiration, lessons, teachers etc that we need on our path in life.
      I like this idea of marking something URGENT! I agree with what you say about the dates. Another thing I’ve noticed in myself is that I set certain dates for myself, then when I see that its impossible to make my own deadline, instead of working harder or staying up all night to do it, I just mentally throw my hands in the air and say – Eh! There’s no way I can make this and I move to something else. (On my own internal deadlines. Deadlines for a paying editor is another story, those I try to submit a few days BEFORE the deadline. Which I guess just goes to prove how right you are!)

  2. Inspiring, thank you so much! Now, to get my butt off the sofa and to the computer to continue editing WIP .. but not now, it’s late here in SA – bed calls.

  3. I love the idea of this. I’m doing the hideous day job thing, myself, and I keep thinking about quitting and going on an endless road trip, which would be something that a mobile income would help me to do. I think you’ll do well.

    • Writing would be great to be able to do from the road. Some internet connections here and there and you’re in business. And from what I see on your blog – you’re great. Go for it!
      I only wish I would have had a larger safety fund. I had what I thought was enough and would have a last check that would get me through about 3 more months. But my employer didn’t pay out the personal hours I’d accumulated over 6 years, so that started me off a little further behind that I’d hoped for.
      Have a great weekend!

  4. Enjoyed this post – not least because I’m doing a similar thing myself. If I don’t write, then I’d have to give myself the sack and that’d be a really awkward situation. Let’s neither of us risk anything like that.

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