It’s a good thing that life offers rest stops every so often.
Some of us would never slow down and take stock if we were not forced to do so. Work, kids, home, outside interests and hobbies, emergencies and basic interruptions take up whatever time there is between one sleep cycle and the next. I cannot remember the last time anyone spoke of “down time.” Even the daily work commute is spoken for; taken by audio books, texting and cell phone conversation (not that I am endorsing any activity which deflects attention from driving. I am simply stating that they happen.)
I’ve been blogging and freelancing over a year now, and I’ve had the good fortune to learn a few good but miserable truths about this alternate life:
- I’m not superhuman, even though you’d think so by my schedule. I do practice my craft daily, for fun and/or money, daily. But I’ve learned that in order to do that, so things must go by the wayside completely, wait until later, or be done by the husband. I’ve opted for a combination of all three.
- My friend Donna Freedman, who freelances for her living, warned me about just throwing my freelance writing out there and hoping it would stick to someone. She encouraged me to target my work and write specific pieces for specific requests. And ask for good money, because if you’re that good, you’re not cheap, and quality readership will find quality work. She’s right about that.
- I’ve learned to write tight. I’ve learned to be ruthless when it comes to editing. I believe that all my words are wonderful and priceless, but I’ve heard differently from my editors: many people do just fine with fewer of them. (41 words in this paragraph now; 65 in its original draft. Case closed).
- I’ve expanded my horizons. I originally wanted to write only about food, but I found out I could also write passionately about other things: swimming, personal finance, volunteerism, travel, health and beauty, style. Some of the results have paid off quite well; the Next Life fund looks healthy.
I’ll have some “down time” (sort of) coming up, in the form of an upcoming trip. Time on the road without the rigors of the real-life 9-5 job, and the ability to pick up new material for my columns, freelance stories and blog. Hey, I did say “sort of” downtime, didn’t I? You didn’t expect me to just relax, did you?