After five weeks of either not working or very low impact working, last week saw a confluence of events that meant that, not only did I have enough freelance gigs to keep me busy all week, but the deadlines for them were all such that I was left with a week that would have been busy even before I lost all my regular gigs, and got out of practice of, you know, actually sitting down and writing.
The upshot of this was that I spent the week thinking about my job a lot more than usual; not just what I was writing and what I was trying to say, but also the when and the how and the why of it all — as well as the just how much am I managing to make from this, and the will I be able to make a living doing this moving forward, for real? (Spoilers: those last two were the more stressful of the subjects to consider for the entire week, and I still don’t really have answers to either, yet.)
During all of this, I realized two things. Firstly, that my job is weird. The thing that I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life or so doing, day in and day out, is a very strange way of earning a living, and I’m very fortunate to have been able to succeed doing it for as long as I have. Secondly, that it’s also a particularly exhausting job, which I’m not sure that I’d ever actually realized before, or had the time and/or opportunity to do so.
I don’t just mean the fact that it can be physically tiring, although I had forgotten the back ache that comes with sitting there all day for a week; constantly having to “generate content,” as the kids say, is an endurance race I’d never really stopped to consider. The brain space required to have to write multiple extended argumentative or informative pieces per day isn’t nothing, especially when you add in the pitch process which means you’re coming up with three ideas for every one you manage to get accepted.
This is my new normal, and I’m sure that I’ll get back up to speed sooner rather than later, but right now…? I’m just left thinking that I’ve been doing more than I thought for a long time, and perhaps that was harder than I really knew.