December 10, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Do you remember my last post, about a big announcement? Well, here it is:
I have a full-time job again!
After years of doing what I did, I’m back on the 9-5 grind, in what can be considered a whole new career. I’m going to be copywriting for Macys.com after having freelanced there the past few months, working on credit card marketing and home items.
I’m stoked about it and so thankful for the opportunity. I can’t help but feeling reflective, too, as so much has happened over the past few years to get to this point. I’ve managed to do things that I’ve literally dreamed about, such as working the U.S. Open as a member of the press and writing for huge media properties, like USA Today and The New York Times.
But there’s a reason this blog is called “The Life and Times of the Anxious Freelancer” as the amount of stress I’ve dealt with over the years has been staggering. Having no money, putting myself out there through pitch letters only to be rejected, trying to rebuild and rebrand myself from being known as a copy editor to becoming a writer in one of the world’s most competitive marketplaces, always worrying about the next assignment…unreal.
It may sound like it was a masochistic pursuit, but I can’t really argue against the end result–or some of the results along the way. If I had to do it all again, though, would I? It’s hard to say. I know I’m extremely lucky to have a wife who supported me, celebrated with me and propped me up over that time, but that was a lot to ask of a person. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her or get to where I am now. And the people who thought of me whenever jobs were out there, or even liked a story when I posted it on Facebook, I’m extremely grateful to them (or you), too.
So what does this all mean for TLATOTAF? Well, I actually plan to keep it going, even though I’m not so anxious or freelancing anymore. I still have other things I’m pursuing: I’ve never even mentioned my book idea! Plus, I just got some confirmation today on a tennis project I’ll be pursuing in the new year. So there are plenty of stories still left to be told.
And I think I’ll even do a bit of revisiting some of my past experiences here, for a further peek inside of what I’d been doing over the years. Maybe some aspiring writer out there will see what “the life” entails–anxiety and all.
November 17, 2012 § Leave a Comment
You might not know it, but I think of this blog all the time: despite the lack of posts lately!
I actually have a big announcement to make concerning me and you and how we interact. I’m not going to make it now because I really want it to be special. Some work will be going into saying what it is, trust me on that!
Anwyay, I’ll keep you posted. I just wanted to basically say “hi” to you, readers–and to my blog here, too. I’ll be in touch, promise!
October 17, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I had to double-check but I’m pretty sure I got all my homonyms correct in the headline there!
Anyway, I’m still in the midst of my full-time freelance copywriting gig, and things are going swell, knock on wood. There’s been a lot less stress in my life as far as working goes (having a steady paycheck will do that for you!). But I’m still trying to figure out how to do the whole writing-on-the-side thing. I recently wrote how I’m kinda done with the freelance hustling, but I still have that urge to send pitches out and maybe put together some commentary/personal essay/feature piece for someone—anyone!
I’m sure once things get completely settled down in my life and my day-to-day becomes more routine, I’ll be able to do exactly that. Right now, though, probably isn’t the best time to be thinking of other pursuits.
But I can’t help it: So much is happening in this great big world of ours! And isn’t that the point of being a writer, to document the zeitgeist?
I guess first I should revise what I wrote a few posts ago about being done with the freelancing thing. Maybe it should be more like I’m done with it—to an extent. I’ll continue it as a side pursuit, when it’s not my bread-and-butter maker.
But while I’m waiting to get to that point, maybe I’ll be able to get out a pitch or two, while I don’t have everything riding on it.
October 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
(From time to time, for one reason or another, I’ll be posting some original content here and flagging it so. Here’s something I mentioned in my last post. I didn’t get a chance to shop it further around, but luckily it found a home here! It’s dated by a week or so, but I thought I’d give it to you raw and uncut, because that’s how I roll!)
Serena Williams Withdrew From the China Open—and That’s OK
By Van Sias
Play has kicked off at the China Open, one of the biggest tournaments outside the Grand Slams on the WTA Tour. Nine of the world’s top 10 are in the draw, led by No. 1 Victoria Azarenka. The only player missing is from the elite is world No. 4 Serena Williams, who withdrew before the start of the tournament with the flu.
And you know what? That’s quite all right. As a matter of fact, if Serena needed to miss the rest of the season, that would be OK, too.
Because if there’s one thing for sure in regard to how things have gone on the WTA Tour this year, she’s definitely earned a break.
Williams’ most recent tournament was the U.S. Open. The result? Victory, as she steamrolled through the field, until having to rally from the brink in the finals against Azarenka. That win, her 15th Grand Slam singles title, essentially capped the “Summer of Serena,” which really kicked off at Wimbledon, where she won her first Major in two years by beating Agnieszka Radwanska in the finals.
From there, Williams went on to capture her first Olympics Gold medal in singles, demolishing Maria Sharapova in the title match. In other words, the All-England Club, where the tournament for the Summer Games was held, might as well have been Williams’ practice court the way she racked up huge tournament victories there.
And post-Olympics, pre-U.S. Open, she captured a hard-court warm-up title in Carlsbad, Calif., for good measure.
In other words, Serena Williams has been playing at a level of intensity rarely seen in the sport—even by her standards.
To think, it all started with a shock first-round defeat at the French Open, the only Grand Slam that she’s won once. Prior to that, it looked like her summer run was going to kick off early as she went undefeated on the clay leading up to the tournament.
But losing to Virginie Razzano lit a fire under Williams and it’s safe to say her focus never strayed as she blitzed her way through the rest of the biggest tournaments of the year, becoming the first player to win Wimbledon, the Olympics and the U.S. Open since her big sister Venus did it in 2000.
Serena’s put in a lot of court time in 2012, even taking into account ties she played in Fed Cup, the international team competition, and doubles—she and Venus won Wimbledon and Olympics.
Overall, Williams leads the tour in singles titles this year with six. Despite that stat, though, it’s highly unlikely she would be able to get to No. 1 this year. It looks like what’s been the priority has been to take home the game’s biggest prizes, something she was unable to do for two years as she worked her way back from injuries and life-threatening illness.
That being said, it looks like Williams is all the way back as the year has shown. Tennis fans just won’t get to see it at the China Open, which is fine.
Rest easy, Serena: You’ve earned it.
October 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Well, the Monday-to-Friday deal has wrapped up for the week (it is Friday, after all). And there was some interesting goings-on at my current freelance gig, which I hope to feel you in on later.
But first, let me tell you about a couple of other things that came about starting last Saturday.
It was a lovely fall morning, and I had been feeling particularly inspired up to that point. I made plans to go to the writer’s space (or as I like to refer to it in my head, “the laboratory”). Got there for a bit and cranked out a story to send along to this pretty huge website that for the sake of anonymity, I’m going to refer to as “The Post.” (A clue to it’s real name is in the alias I just wrote, and if you need another hint, the name that goes before “Post” rhymes with “Ruffington.”)
I’d written to the sports editor a few months ago about possibly contributing and he said sure, we’ll get you all set up. I wrote something up then right away and never heard back, but decided to give it a go again. I’d been working full-time, could relax and get a tennis story to a big property with too little fuss.
So I sent it along, then waited to hear from the sports editor. And waited.
And as of this writing here, I still hadn’t heard anything. So my story is pretty much dead on the vine. I will give it new life, though, either here (which would contribute to that Original Content quota I mentioned ages ago) or on the tennis blog that started it all for me, Tennis Talk, Anyone?.
But it wasn’t all bad for me and the “Post” this week. There was a bit of some funny business as well.
A friend of mine this week emailed me, saying she saw one of my stories on the Post’s new home industry site. I actually used to write for an earlier incarnation of the site, so it was kind of intriguing to me to see what story she was referring to.
I looked at the link and it was indeed something I’d written–nearly three years ago! It was posed as something that had just happened, when in actuality, the story was old as the hills. I asked my friend if I should email them to say that they posted an old story and she said yes. I thought about it and then decided not to. They’re a big company, they could figure it out.
And I guess a good thing is that I did get on the “Post” after all!
But wait, hadn’t I been there before?
September 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Now that, my friends, is an odd headline for the first post here in a little bit. But I promise you, there’s a reason for it.
As I mentioned a few moons ago, I’ve been pretty busy freelancing the past few months, which, for a freelancer who tends to be on the anxious side, is as good as it gets. That being said, it’s brought me to a revelation of sorts.
I don’t want to freelance full-time anymore.
You see, I’m really liking the type of work I’m doing—copywriting—and I’m hoping to get a full-time job doing it. Of course, when my current gig is up and in case I don’t have something lined up full-time, then the freelancing I will do. But if I had my druthers, I’d be back on the 9-to-5 grind.
The most important thing is that I want to be able to help out around the house more on the financial side. Freelancing and money don’t always go hand in hand. I’m fortunate that they have gone together the past few months, but for me, at least, that hasn’t always been the case.
And helping in the house more aside, it felt good to by my wife a nice pair of earrings recently.
Another thing, I miss the camaraderie that comes from being part of a team. I want to joke around with co-workers, go grab a drink after a long day, that kind of thing. For a person who likes to laugh and joke around, the freelancing world can be a lonely place.
Back to that headline, though: I want to relearn how to play the guitar. Not that I was ever a whiz, mind you, but it’d be nice to come home after work and sit down and bust out some Wilco on the nice new six-string I got last year. I’ve often felt that every free moment needs to be spent finding work or working on work that I do have, which has put guitar-playing on the back burner.
But I guess guitar-playing is actually a metaphor for reducing stress and anxiety: It could be tennis or crocheting even. Cooking, maybe? The things I’ve managed to do have been amazing. I guess I’m just tired of that particular grind.
All that said, though, I do plan on still blogging here: I’m a freelancer, it’s what I do (for now at least). But I have to tell you, that guitar/those knitting needles are really beckoning me …
August 16, 2012 § 2 Comments
Yeah, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted something on ye olde blog of mine, but I’ve been doing the one thing every freelancer wants to do:
Week before last, I finished a six-week stint doing copywriting, something I’d never done before, but actually really loved. I spent last week working between two magazines, and this week, kicks off a three-month copywriting gig for me.
If this first week is any indication of what’s ahead, I have my work cut out for me. I’m handling it, but the workload is insane! I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on it–and at my last copywriting gig, too. Maybe it’s the thing for me? Who knows for sure. I know one thing: It feels good to have a few bucks in my pocket–something else every freelancer wants!
This work thing doesn’t mean the end of this blog. And as I get used to the schedule, I’ll probably spend more time on it, now that I don’t have to spend all my free computer time looking for work, if that makes sense. I still have many a tale to tell–even a recent one or two that encapsulates what my life has been like over the past few years.
You know what? Since I’m here, I might as well share one of them. That’s what this blog is here for, right?
So remember the last post I wrote about how I had all these writing assignments? I did have a lot of them.
Or so I thought. (dum dum dum DUMMM! That’s supposed to be hummed in a suspenseful tone, FYI)
A couple of months ago, I pitched an idea to this editor at a newspaper I had dealt with in the past about my favorite subject, tennis. The story was timed to coincide with Wimbledon and when I ran it by said editor, I got this reply:
Now, I actually wasn’t sure how to proceed: Was that “Sounds interesting, but I’ll pass” or “Sounds interesting, let’s run with it”?
I decided to go with the “run with it” idea and replied, “Great, I’m on it! I’ll get it to you soon.” And got no reply to that, so I figured I was good.
As I was doing the story, though, I ran into a little snag. I did some interviewing and found out I was a little behind in my info, so I had to change the direction of my story. I did slightly, and I thought I wrote a pretty solid piece. I turned it in with the note that it was taking a different angle, but it was still filler material at least. (I didn’t mention the “filler” part!)
So anyway, I waited for the story to run.
Then waited some more, until it was barely able to be salvaged timing-wise. When I finally reached out to the editor, I asked him if I could revise it, and he asked me a question about the story. I answered, then never heard back from him. And I still haven’t.
Now admittedly, I should have dragged the answer out of him to go forward with the story or not. And admittedly, I did have to take the story in a different direction, but I tried to explain it and write with what I was given. The tiniest feedback wouldn’t have been too bad to dole out, like “Sorry Van, this doesn’t work.”
I kinda feel like I can’t even reach back out to this guy, which sucks somewhat because I actually get asked a lot if I’m doing anymore writing for this venue. More than that, though, it really sucks because it was one of my biggest places to write about tennis for.
Oh well, I guess. I can only really say “Oh well” because thankfully, I’ve been so busy. If I hadn’t been, I would’ve been smack dab in midtown NYC at my therapist’s office. I’m getting over it on my own and like they always say, things get easier as time goes on.
Anyway, that’s my story for the day. I may be busy now, but I’m still anxious!