Getting my bearings


Somehow we’re already a whole month into 2015. Someone want to tell me how the hell that happened while I wasn’t looking?

The obvious answer to that question is that I’ve been a little busy trying to adapt to my new “job”–scraping together a living from tutoring and freelance writing. All things considered, I’m fortunate to be off to a good start: I have two significant ‘writing’ gigs (one large contract to write a set amount of content in the next three months, one job for a few hours a week that pays hourly) and a handful of regular students. Additionally, I have some smaller paid writing jobs and I’m doing some unpaid grant writing and science blogging for a non-profit that I’m really excited to be involved with. Those smaller gigs are not amazing for me from a financial perspective, but I’m betting that they’ll pay off in terms of experience and connections.

I know that I should be fine, financially, for the next two months or so. Not amazing, but I’ll be covering my expenses at least. And I really don’t have a lot of time left to take on more work at the moment–I’d like to add just a few more students, ideally, but I really won’t have the brain space left for any more creative projects until I complete my large contract, even if I wanted to try to cram more work hours into my week.

So my job, at the moment, is really to put my head down and do the work sitting in front of me: be a kickass tutor, write great stuff for my all my assignments, and use whatever time/creative energy I have to spare working on fleshing out my private tutoring website or writing stuff here. Not so hard, all I need to do is focus.

The problem I’m having is that switching over to “focusing on getting shit done” from “focusing on finding work” is not as easy as I’d hoped. I’m basically afraid that if I take my eyes away from looking for gigs, I’ll look up sometime in March and realize “my big contract is about to be up and I have nothing else on the horizon”. Or maybe I will miss out on applying for/pitching/etc THE PERFECT THING that I need to do next.

These worries are entirely irrational. For starters, there is no way in hell I’m going to “forget” to be looking out for new work. As for “missing out”… the projects I’m working on now are going to help me be ready to get even BETTER and MORE EXCITING work in the future. Booking myself up for the next year right now wouldn’t be helpful, it would be silly.


Basically, things are going really well–or they would be, if I’d just let them. It’s honestly just so hard for me to believe that, after so much time where nothing seemed to be getting me anywhere, career-wise, things are starting to work. It just seems unreal, so I’m getting hung up on all the “evidence” that this was all a huge mistake: my empty bank account (I’ve only just started my big writing project! Next month will be way better!), my unproductive days (I had a nasty cold this past week and had to tutor on two days without much of a voice, which was miserable. On those days, I didn’t even come close to meeting my writing goals.), and my lack of private students (I had to make a choice to focus my energy on tutoring through agencies instead of finding more students on my own, because I need the income now. It’s not ideal, but this isn’t forever–switching over to private students gradually is a totally legitimate way to start out.).

Things will be good, if I will simply let them be good. Hell, if I really buckle down, and maybe get a little lucky, things could be really great. So of COURSE my jerkbrain is in overdrive.

But somehow, I’m going to deal with it. I’ve risked a lot to make this move towards a more fulfilling work life. What a waste it would be if I let the nasty, negative part of my brain sabotage me before I’ve even really given it a good shot.

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