Friday, March 11, 2011
Musings from the Edge of Freelancia
When Yvonne Perry asked me to join the Writers in the Sky team, I was thrilled. As a freelance writer and editor, anything that leads to more work is, of course, always welcome. But as the days went on, I realized that what I was feeling was not just about ambition; it was about being part of a community, something I hadn’t experienced in some time.
The world was a different place when I decided to leave my job in the summer of 2008. The housing market had not yet imploded, Lehman Brothers was open for business, and no one had heard of Justin Bieber. My world was also different. I had a full-time job at a non-profit, a circle of close friends who I’d known since moving to New York, and I had never been on Facebook. Each day I dragged myself to work, unable to shake the feeling that I was supposed to be doing something else. Each week had two highlights: the new episode of Mad Men, and the novel I was editing “on the side.”
Then, one day, “on the side” was no longer good enough. For years I had flirted with the idea of a full-time writing career, and I decided to seize the moment while I had the courage. I gave my notice at work and set to building my freelance business. This began two of the most transformative years of my life—not only professionally, but personally as well. They have forced me to reevaluate my priorities and my relationships as well.
I am blessed with a wonderful family, so perhaps I took that kind of unconditional support for granted. For when I left my job, some of my friends were anything but supportive. Suddenly I was an irresponsible dreamer, and when was I going to get a “real job,” anyway? It wouldn’t have done me any good to tell them I was working harder than ever, and loving every minute of it. So I stopped trying to explain myself and started seeking out folks who needed no explanation.
Writing is a solitary business, and I am just fine with that. But it’s also good to know that there are others out there too. Doing their thing—alone, yet somehow together.
Dana Micheli is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and journalist. She has written and edited works of fiction and nonfiction, including novels (ghostwritten), news articles, resumes, business plans, and restaurant reviews. She also researched and wrote the legal and housing sections of New York: The Complete Resident’s Guide (Explorer Publishing). Dana has a B.A. in English from Southern Connecticut University and a Juris Doctor from New York Law School. She lives in New York City.