Friday, December 23, 2005

Congratulate me

I find it very hard to believe that people will PAY me to write stuff.

“But, I WANT to write articles,” I think to myself. “So clearly, that’s not going to work out for me.”

I don’t claim to know a lot about logic. But I do know that to want something really, really badly is scary. Because rejection and failure hurts, and it hurts more when it’s something that you really, really want.

So I shield myself by imagining the failure in advance. I inoculate myself against the embarrassment by accepting its eventuality—and by broadcasting it to the world. I doubt myself first so I don’t have to feel anybody else’s doubts (forget the fact that other seem to have many fewer doubts about my chances for success. They don’t know how much I want this.)

And I use the world’s best defense against failure: I don’t try. So these past two years, I have avoided writing classes, stopped short of pitching freelance stories, and steeped myself in my boring, unchallenging job. I looked for challenges elsewhere. I made myself at home in this new city, and I traveled to distant ones. I ran a marathon. I applied to the Peace Corps.

But I couldn’t quite forget that what I wanted was journalism. Boring and unchallenging my job may be, but in this office I am surrounded by people living my dream. It is possible, because they do it. And so I decided to try.

That’s the story behind my trip to Senegal. You’ve seen pieces of it unfold in my blog. And today is a big day. Because today I sign the contract on my first writing assignment. It is a story that I thought of, that I researched, and that I pitched. The editor was skeptical when I called, but I persisted, and emailed him a detailed proposal. And, two weeks after I had given up, he emailed me today with an offer and a contract.

It’s just a little article for my alumni magazine. 2,000 words. But it’s a start. It’s a project, and it’s mine.

Y’all. I’m a freelance writer!

7 Comments:

Blogger jeanne said...

(Are we related? Cuz our psychotic neuroses are eerily the same.) Congratulations, this is AWESOME!! You are a journalist!!! And you didn't even spend $20k to get a journalism degree! YOU ROCK!

12:03 PM  
Blogger Rae said...

Yeah, congratulations!! I can't wait until you're on Oprah and I can tell all my blogging friends we knew you when.....

Merry Christmas!

12:29 AM  
Blogger Rae said...

Yeah, congratulations!! I can't wait until you're on Oprah and I can tell all my blogging friends we knew you when.....

Merry Christmas!

12:30 AM  
Blogger susie said...

Hey Congratulations!! Getting a byline is big stuff:)

10:33 AM  
Blogger David said...

Well you know you can get about 100 references from us on the blog that enjoy your writing on a regular basis.
1. Your editor is no fool.
2. It's a no brainer that you can write.
3. You did what you had to do, could always do, and did. You put in the time to win the job.
4. You are on your way!
Congratulations.

10:28 PM  
Blogger a.maria said...

my my, you're on your way up!!! congrats on the freelance, i have no doubt you'll write an amazing piece!

7:31 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

Huge congratulations and kudos for stepping out there.

I love the new design

10:52 PM  

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