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Writer for Hire


A few days ago, Lorna and I were discussing my blog topics for this week. I mentioned that I would really like to write about finding the time to do personal writing while still fulfilling my professional writing obligations. Her response was an outrageous laugh and “Personal writing? Yeah right!”  

I think that response pretty much sums up this entire topic. 

I’ve never really been all that big on personal writing—you know, things like journals, personal essays, articles that really catch my interest, or the Great American Novel all of us have on hold somewhere in the back of our brains. I’m really just a writer for hire; I’ll write pretty much anything, anytime, anywhere….for a price. Unless there is a price tag attached to it, chances are it will get set aside for the more important issues in my life like dishes, family, and reading. I also work great with deadlines. Unless there is a deadline attached to it, chances are it will get set aside for the more important issues in my life like dishes, family, and reading. You get the idea. 

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to write for myself. On the contrary, I have a number of ideas buzzing around in my head. I have attempted on several occasions in my life to keep a journal. My great book is just waiting to be written. And when I had a graveyard shift job that allowed me the time to pretty much do whatever I wanted, I wrote a number of personal essays of which I am incredibly proud. 

Unfortunately, I don’t have the self-discipline or the energy to devote as much time to my personal writing as I would like to. I have worked as a professional writer in some form or another for the past five years. Asking me to set aside time to write for myself would be like asking a housekeeper to spend several hours cleaning his or her own home after a full day’s work. When you do something for a living, it is incredibly difficult to continue viewing that action as something that is pleasurable and worth even more of your time. I want to spend less time in front of my computer, not more. 

So where should the line be drawn between writing for hire and writing for pleasure? And does there have to be a line at all? Can I keep hoping that someone will recognize my obvious talent and hire me (payment up front, of course) to write a collection of personal essays, or do I have to suck it up and just write them? 

My husband keeps telling me to simply set aside a few minutes every day to do some writing just for me. His great piece of wisdom is to “pretend like you’re getting hired to do it.” I can’t help but feel that this is probably the most useful thing he has said to me in a long time.  

Too bad I’m not that easy to fool.   



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    On October 5th, 2007 at 9:27 am, Sharon Hurley Hall said:

    I have the same problem, Tamara, but I’ve decided that I need to do some of my own stuff to keep my love of writing alive. As I’m actually slightly ahead on my deadlines this week, I have taken a day off to work on one of my pet projects. Most of the time, that’s hard to do.

    On October 5th, 2007 at 10:03 am, Melissa Garrett said:

    As of now, I have one contract position that keeps me fairly busy (I write anywhere from 10-15 articles a week for online content). Somewhere, in the midst of all that, I have to be a wife to my husband and mother to my three kids, one, of whom, is with me 24/7. On top of all that, I have recently applied for two other paid blogging positions that will most likely come to fruition in the next few months, adding another 10-15 hours of work in addition to what I am already doing. With that said, my main goal as a freelancer is to write what I want to write. I try to query one or two new articles a month and so far, I have been able to do that. It helps, I suppose, that I am incredibly anal and stick to a rigid schedule. I am a workaholic, and I have to be careful to balance my work as a writer and my work as a wife/parent. It’s easy for writing to consume me.

    On October 5th, 2007 at 1:17 pm, Tamara Berry said:

    Sharon - Good for you on being ahead of deadlines and also using that extra time just for you. I think that that deserves double applause!

    Melissa - I love that you use your freelancing to write what you want to write. Right now, I am so focused on the almighty dollar that I forget there are topics out there that could give me a job and fulfill my personal goals.

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