Happy Anniversary, LL Word

Well, today is the exact one-year anniversary of this blog; I began it on November 3, 2008. At that time, I was only a few days into my life as a full-time freelancer, full of questions and fear and enthusiasm. That first month, I definitely bit off a little more than I could chew — working far more than 40 hrs a week for my two main clients at the time, participating in NaNoWriMo (a year later, I’m still untangling the messiest first draft I’ve ever written!), updating this blog daily, and running around to conferences and election events. My life has definitely balanced out quite a bit since then. I’m always busy, but my life no longer has that “working-all-the-time” feeling. This is a very, very good thing.

I started freelancing last year with two clients: my previous employer, New Moon Girl Media, and a self-publisher. On my first day as a freelancer, the self-publisher I worked with dropped the rates they paid their freelancers by 25%. Yikes! It sent me into a minor panic, which also motivated me to find more reliable clients (in true worry-wart fashion, I’d worked for the self-publisher for four months at decent rates before I made the decision to transition to a full-time freelance lifestyle, only to have that security shaken within the first day “on the job”!)

The lowered rates, along with an increasingly unreliable payment schedule, urged me to drop that client as soon as I had more reliable work, although I enjoyed the work very, very much (in case you’re wondering, I’m not naming them because for the most part, I feel like, if you can’t say something nice on the Internet, be vague — or privacy protect your entries). In January, I started working for Scribendi, which I’ve loved. The work is varied and steady, the pay schedule is regular and reliable, and overall, they maintain their business with the utmost professionalism.  I also wrote a handful of articles for Demand Studios when things with my other cients slowed down and pursued my  publication goals, which resulted in . . .

I also received a few rejections, but surprisingly, fewer than my acceptances. They still sting. But I’ve learned a lot about the value of submitting something a market wants, when they want it. A lot of my acceptances came from writing something new specific to the call for submissions, rather than digging through my repertoire for something that might fit. I’m still pursuing “my own things” with hopes that the markets will come later, but this has been an invaluable way to actually build up my list of publishing credits.

Although frightened by the “insecurity” of full-time freelancing, I resolved when I began not to jump ship too quickly, to try to give it at least a year before pursuing more “traditional” employment in any concerted manner. I did apply to one full-time position during that year because the opportunity was too good to pass up; I made it into the “final round” but didn’t get an interview. Last night, on the eve of my one-year anniversary, I was offered more “traditional” employment once more, and I accepted. My orientation starts tomorrow for a part-time teen librarian position.

I’m excited about a lot of things — the chance to work in a library!, another source of steady income, enough time and flexibility to continue doing freelance work. I’m nervous about a few things, like not being able to work in my jammies, having to drive in Minnesota winters again, and finding a way to balance it all. The position is temporary, through January, so I’m going to keep everything on my plate until then, and reasses as necessary when January rolls around.

I’ve also reflected a bit on what role I want LL Word to play in my future. I started this blog as something of an experiment, to see whether I could find enough to say about writing-related topics to update it three times a week (preferably every weekday, however), to keep me accountable to my goals, to chronicle this scary adventure I was undertaking, and to give me a home on the web to refer potential clients to. I’ve very much enjoyed the conversations with my regular readers, and have been pleasantly surprised by the occasional lurker who comes out of the woodwork.

As for LL Word’s future: I plan to continue blogging here, although I expect to be a little less “hardcore” about it in its second year. I love blogging, but at least in these next few months as I adjust to my new job, something may have to give. I don’t want that to be my other clients or my novel — or my relationships. So, please keep your bookmarks active, as I’ll continue to be around. I’m just not going to let myself wallow in guilt if it goes unupdated for a stretch here and there (a note about me: my work personality type is “finisher,” which means I hold myself pretty tyranically to self-set goals, even without any “outside” motivating factor like money or publication. Usually, this pays off. Sometimes, it just wears me out).

Speaking of unupdated stretches, you can expect things to be pretty quiet around here during my upcoming European adventure (November 9 – 25), but I invite you to check out my friend Jenn’s chronicle of her NaNoWriMo-ing adeventures over at CoveredInInk. Bonus: her posts sometimes include pictures of her kitty!