You don’t need me to tell you that 2020 has been—the word of the year—unprecedented.
People have lost their jobs, their homes, and their sanity.
People have turned inward, self-reflected, and worked on personal/spiritual growth.
People have created, deconstructed, and re-imagined.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve wandered between the B2B world, the tech world, the self-employed world, maybe even the freelancing-for-websites-that-no-longer-exist-and-took-your-articles-with-them world (that is likely just me, and that’s OK. It’s super weird, but so is 2020.)
With all the turbulance and inconsistency; jobs applications for roles that I and 215 other individuals are pining for (do we even all really want these jobs?); doubt and negative self talk . . . you get tired. Worn out. Beat up. Defeated.
But . . . when you collect all of the experiences, the minor victories followed by daunting defeats, and the conversations you’ve had over the last ~nine months . . . you have something that can accumulate into understanding.
For me, that understanding came in recognizing the path I’ve been fighting to be on might not actually be that path I want to be on. The path I want to work my hardest on. A path I want to be the most dedicated version of my writing self on. This path isn’t an easy one. It’s not a shoe-in, easy to attain or describe one. It might be later, but right now, it’s a very inconsistent one.
The main difference?
It’s one that I actually WANT to travel down. Commit to. Face any storm on. It’s the path I’ve seen myself taking since I was 12 years old, combing through a Rolling Stone magazine, romanticizing the life I wanted to live as a writer for the greatest publication my 6th grade self had ever delved into. After all, I went to school and got my degree in journalism. This to me is the purest, most heart and soul-baring form of story-telling. A way to connect with those you didn’t know you had any actual connection with. A way to show the world there are universal themes that tie us all together, regardless of background, gender orientation and location.
A few years ago, I started freelancing for a digital publication called Wide Open Eats. I was able to pitch and write as many stories as my little heart desired. Obviously, these had to be vetted and scanned through by my editor (what’s up, Shannon!?), but I had the power and freedom to write the things I wanted to write. To claim stories the editorial team had suggested. I was able to enter a creative space I very much so took for granted at the time, as I now find myself pining for an outlet like that again.
They went on to grow and expand, hiring several full-time in house writers shortly after I took a full-time, salary gig at a B2B tech company as a content manager. I’m grateful for the years I spent with that tech company. Yet, retrospectively, I wonder what could’ve been had I stuck with the freelancing. Would I have been asked to join as a full-time in-house writer if I hadn’t left? Who’s to say, and who’s to care. People make choices, and you live and let live from them.
In all of this isolation, I’ve realized I want to go back to this type of writing. To lifestyle articles. To interviews with locals about interesting endeavors they’re taking on in tiny living, or scoping out local secrets bars and restaurants with ever-changing entrance codes to keep secrecy high and accessibility low. I miss telling these stories. I miss connecting with readers over a wide variety of topics that interest different niches.
With that, I am setting my intentions and diving into the backend work it takes to scope out publications I’m interested in, figure out the asks from the editors to be considered as a contributing writer, and pitch with clarity and unique intellect. I’m setting the bar high so that I can get out of complacency and societal norms and into the place I want to be.
Here’s to 2020 and all of its chaos.
I hope you’ve found something to strive for.
A light in the darkness that’s holding your hand and pushing you forward.
I hope that you’ve found another little piece of yourself.