Freelancing, Failure and Forward Momentum

For about as long as I’ve had this blog (and maybe a bit longer), I’ve wanted to branch out into freelancing. I’ve done some freelance writing in the past, but primarily producing copy for things like advertisements rather than writing actual blog articles.

What I wanted to do this time round was write articles. There are a few reasons for this: it’s good advertising for this blog. It brings in more money. And honestly? I just want more people to see my writing. I like my writing being appreciated and even more than that, I love my writing helping people.

But I’ve been – surprising no one – really anxious about stepping into this world.

This weekend, I managed to! Then…I got rejected within 48 hours.

It was a lovely rejection, with a really good reason and an obviously personally written email. They’ve run similar posts before, basically – and honestly this is a great sign, because it means I picked something that they would publish, even if this particular freelancing opportunity didn’t work out.

But rejections suck. You get used to them, I think – I’m definitely getting more used to them than I was – but the thing is that getting used to something doesn’t mean it stops having an impact on you. Sure, it’s normal for me to have rejections come in now. And each time they do they hurt a tiny, tiny bit less.

They still hurt, though.

This whole freelancing process is a bit like I’m running forward, I have to keep running, but also people are throwing things at me. I’ve got to pick myself back up after each ball or piece of fruit or whatever it is has hit me and made me stumble, and then I’ve got to keep running.

Honestly, I think that’s a pretty good metaphor for life itself – at least certainly life when you’re also trying to recover from mental illness.

So how do you keep forward momentum when you fail with freelancing?

Good question. If you find an answer, let me know it?

Seriously.

I’d love to be able to tell you oh, I just do this, and then it’s okay! But the truth is that sometimes I manage to keep going and sometimes I don’t. This past month has been super hard, and part of that hardness was losing that momentum. Trying repeatedly to pick it up again.

I talk a lot about being internally ready to recover and not being able to see that internal readiness, and this is really the sort of thing I mean. Sometimes I can immediately get back up and start running again. Sometimes something, like a rejection, that would’ve been totally fine yesterday utterly obliterates me.

I think you have to really want the thing. Sure, I often find myself thinking – meh, maybe freelancing isn’t for me. But that thought doesn’t change that I do really want to succeed at this. That it’s the sort of person I want to be.

Which means the only solution is to care for yourself when you fail, and keep trying when you can.

What a sucky, adult solution, right? Ugh. I hate this sort of thing. Can’t I just follow 10 steps to freelancing as a writer and be done with it?

Well…I am. It’s just that one of those steps is ‘start making submissions to places’ and it turns out that one step is hard work and involves redoing the same step a lot of times.

I think the worst thing about adulthood is learning that everything has a bad side. Everything. Even the things you love doing. There are times where even the things you adore just suck. Whether that’s your loved ones sometimes being annoying or hard work, or your hobbies having some tedious parts, or your dream job turning out to involve doing your own accounts.

It’s very easy – especially when depression’s involved – to think of this as meaning everything’s awful. To see that bad side and have it eclipse all other sides. So maybe when that happens, the point is to take a second. Don’t immediately start running up that hill again. Breathe, and remember why you’re here.

Then run – and maybe start learning to dodge a hit or two.

If you found this post inspiring, that’s brilliant and I’m so very glad! It would be awesome if you would share this post, or other posts of mine from Twitter or Facebook, so that as many people can see them as possible. PS: You’re awesome <3