For someone who calls himself a freelance writer, I do precious little freelance writing these days. My other work and life in general gets in the way. I don’t feel too bad about that in terms of not being a jobbing freelance writer any more, because I’m still earning a wage, but I do sometimes struggle with the loss of my author status. Not that there has been a mass book-burning that has rid the world of my published works (they weren’t that bad), but there’s now just such a chunk of time separating me from the glory-basking of my former years.
I reconcile myself on that score pretty easily, though, most of the time. I consider whether there might be anyone out there who might be calling up their local bookstore or searching Amazon every week for a new novel from me. I have to conclude that’s probably not happening. Although I had good reviews for my novels and some of those who bought them may well have been looking forward to a third one, it should have become pretty obvious many years ago that I have, so to speak, shot my load. If anyone is still eagerly awaiting a third novel from me, then I never want to meet that fan because they are clearly a psychotic stalking fruitcake. (Actually, I have had a third novel completed for years now and may one day publish it online, if anyone is remotely interested.)
I also consider if my return to authorship would, 1) bring me in more money per hour spent than I’m earning now, and, 2), even if it did, be worth the many extra hours locked away in my office not seeing my family. Probably not and definitely not.
There is a mystique that surrounds the freelance writer that is often wholly unjustified. We are not some bohemian bunch who sit on our verandas scribbling away as the sun goes down with a G&T for company and a whimsical smile on our face. It can be a tough career choice. Wanting to be a freelance writer and actually being a freelance writer can be worlds apart. It’s like the difference between playing Black Ops and genuinely being a Navy Seal. While the latter may appear terribly exciting, it does have certain drawbacks. Most never make it through training, and those that do are then going to encounter people who will try to kill them or at least blow off a limb or two.
As you start off your New Year all full of vim and vigour, try not to beat yourself up about any shortfall you feel exists in your freelance writing career. Seriously, folks, life’s too short.