If you'd told me a year ago that I was going to be making the sharp, terrifying transition into becoming a full-time professional writer as the year drew to a close, I'd have laughed and called you crazy.
I'd have told you it takes much more time to build up a base wide enough to catch you if you fall, and that a year was nowhere near enough time to stumble up this Sisyphean hill we call the world of professional writing. I would have said that I didn't have the skills I needed yet, that I barely had a college degree, that no one would hire a brand new writer for anything more than pennies in my tin.
I look at myself from a year ago and my smile is bittersweet.
I didn't know then that I would spend several months locked in a small house, without leaving it at all, with no direct contact with anyone but my immediate family. I didn't know that, to keep myself from going insane, I would use that time to write, more than I ever had before. I didn't know that I would do some casual research into the world of professional nonfiction writing, and find that I was actually interested in it, and that, having nothing to lose for it, needing desperately not to do nothing, I would try it for myself.
I didn't know that I would find a new talent for this, and that I would actually be hired relatively early on for a contract that ended up becoming long-term, with a solid group of editors I loved talking to. I didn't know that another small contract I won would lead to being hired by a larger site to write about the videogames I was playing with my friends every evening to stay connected. I didn't know that I would suddenly have a full portfolio of work to show to new clients, and that actually, I was qualified for this, and I could do this.
That I am doing this.
And it's still true that I feel like my skills could use significant work and will take a long time to hone properly, and that a year is not enough time to build that stable base, but now I know that a year, especially this lonely, lonely year, is enough time to build a bridge toward that base. I know now that I have exactly what it takes, and though I am far from perfect, I am excited to be imperfect and to learn and grow, and finally, finally be able to really focus in on something that I'm passionate about.
If you've followed me from the start of my adventures, thank you. I hope that this new adventure will be even more exciting and that you are as interested as I am in sharing these experiences together. If you've only just found me, then hello! Welcome to the madness that is the life of a new freelance writer. I'm glad you've decided to stop in, and I hope you decide to stay. We've got a long way to go, and plenty of time to get there.