National Writing Day will mean scribbling something new, funny, interesting or reflective for some. I’m sure diaries will be started. For me, it’s just another day putting words together for work and pleasure. I’m feeling very fortunate…
Nearly two years ago, on a sunny July afternoon not dissimilar to the current barmy temperatures, I quit the day job. I launched myself wholeheartedly into freelance writing for a living.
There were a few reasons why I ditched a regular salary and a range of perks.
First and foremost, I wanted to write. It’s what I enjoy, and have done for over twenty years. Across those two decades the writing became more regular. From football fanzines in the mid-1990s, to magazine articles, newspaper columns and a few books – I dabbled across the written spectrum.
It was a cracking way to earn an additional income.
Back in PAYE land, I’d also fallen out of love with the corporate world. Earning a crust by shuffling papers, tapping keys and sitting in pointless meetings had lost its appeal. I’d long jumped off that mythical career ladder.
There were good people there, and I miss them. But the move was right for me.
Writing, however, never disappoints me. It frustrates, as any author, journalist or copywriter will attest. But getting a block of text just so, words sitting perfectly together, well, it’s a magical feeling.
And then there are some wonderful benefits being able to wrap life around bouts of creativity.
Take today’s itinerary:
An hour’s inspiration in the cool of early morning and a client’s blog piece was completed by 7:30am.
A leisurely breakfast out in the early morning sunshine was perfect; me, the lovely lady, two dogs and an aloof cat.
Some social media updates.
Research for a client, followed by a phone call to run over a few points – sat in the garden with a coffee, naturally!
Lunch, again enjoying this glorious sunshine that looks set to continue.
A trip to the DIY store while others are in offices or factories. No queues at 2pm.
Half an hour making notes for the new book, a story set in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Some planning for client articles in early July.
Article/interview for a client which meant a phone call, quick typing, then an hour’s editing later.
A walk to the local shops, bit of a stretch, and another opportunity to clear the mind with warm rays beating down on my back.
A personal blog. This piece.
Then a walk with the dogs as the temperature dipped in the mid-evening.
A read of my latest page-turner. Never stop reading!
To me, that’s a half-decent work-life balance – and then some. Varied, flexible, productive and rewarding. I’ll do the same tomorrow, perhaps shuffling the order of things depending on the weather and any personal chores I fancy completing.
Sure there can be frustrations, like unpaid invoices and being offered exciting ‘potential’ projects that just never seem to materialise.
But hey. Over two years I have built up a varied client base, enjoyed one, two and sometimes more one-off commissions each month. Crucially, I have time to pursue creating writing projects of my own.
I have no complaints. I love writing. It’s just me and a laptop, anywhere in the world.
Happy National Writing Day to you all…