It’s been too long since I’ve written here, but I promise there’s a good reason for that. Yesterday, I got my first paycheck from writing and had my first piece published, and the money wasn’t even for the article that was published! That’s right. In one day I turned in three articles and got paid for the first time and got my first piece published. They’re paying me too, it just hasn’t come through yet. After all my hard work I am finally a real freelance writer! I wanted to share some reflections on my first experiences freelancing, more to process myself than anything else.
About a month ago I pitched a story to XOJane and had it accepted. I wrote the article in one sitting the weekend that it was approved and submitted the story. Then I waited. I checked my email obsessively. I was always looking for something from the editor, some indication that the story was going to be published or some sort of rejection after the fact because my writing wasn’t as good as they’d hoped. Nothing. I basically wrote them off. I figured something wasn’t right and the article would never see the light of day. Then out of the blue yesterday, I received the email that my article was being published, that day! I freaked out. The editor I worked with was amazing and she even checked on another pitch I had and agreed to work with me on that one as well!
A little over 24 hours later the article has received over 350 shares and over 40 comments, almost all of them positive. Of course, being the perfectionist I am I have focused in one the single negative comment. I keep reminding myself that the article has been incredibly well received and that one person’s opinion of my work does not make or break me as a writer. Time to get a thicker skin.
Takeaways from my experience with XOJane: don’t give up if you don’t hear back. The editors you’re working with are incredibly busy. No news may be better than good news. Move on, submit another pitch, and keep trying to get your work out there. And don’t let the haters get to you. It’s impossible to please everyone.
The other articles I submitted yesterday were for a job I found on a writers job board, ghostwriting for a health blog. I was so excited that they wanted me for the job that I agreed before really understanding what they wanted me to write. I thought they wanted me to write about the danger of elimination diets, which I was totally on board with, but what they really wanted was weight loss listicles. I wasn’t comfortable with the assignment, but I’d already agreed to write for them, so I went ahead. It was really difficult. I was completely uncomfortable most of the time I was writing. Because I was so uncomfortable I was slow to finish the articles. What I could have written in a few days took me a week. I found myself reluctant to sit down to write. I knew that I was doing something that was against my values and it didn’t feel good.
I finished the articles and followed up with the editor. I liked her a lot. She was very helpful and easy to work with, so I decided to be completely honest when I turned in the article. I told her that I had really enjoyed working with her as an editor, but that the content had made me really uncomfortable. I told her I would love to work with her again, but that I would not write anything related to diets or weight loss again. I needed to stick to my values. She was incredibly receptive and told me she’d let me know if she needed any other work done for the blog.
Takeaways from my freelance job: Always understand the job before you commit. Don’t just write something for the money. Feel free to turn down jobs that don’t line up with your viewpoints or values. Never compromise yourself.
I’m glad to finally be among the published. I’m psyched that I actually made some money writing. Now on to the next job.