Every so often I have to stop and ask myself what the heck it is I’m doing.
I see friends going off for vacations, every eight-hour day of which is paid. I hear about stock options, sick days, benefits—benefits!—bonuses, and raises. And I wonder why on earth it is that I keep freelancing.
Part of it is habit, of course. I’ve been doing this for so many years that I probably would function poorly in a corporate environment—even if there were any corporate environments near me, here on the tip of Cape Cod. But that’s not all: I’m used to being able to take a break when I feel like it, used to doing my laundry while I’m working and to writing at 6:30 in the morning when I feel most inspired. Habits take a long time to establish and they’re probably even harder to break.
And part of it is constitutionality. I know people, really talented professionals, who blanch at the thought of freelancing. I’m not sure that I can say I like the risks associated with this life, but I’m aware of them, accustomed to them, and willing to live with them. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea for sure.
But part of it, I’ve come to believe, is just a matter of finding a life that fulfills. For some of us, making our own hours means more than just setting a schedule—it’s making a life. It’s a life we can mold around other events: falling in love, having children, traveling, reading, exploring. It’s a life we can adapt to our evolving needs as we age, or change marital status, or move. It’s a life that can be tailor-made to who we are and who we want to become.
And maybe that’s the core of the question. We write and edit because that’s what we’re good at and maybe even love; but we who do it freelance do so because it allows us to create the life that’s the closest we may be able to get to our ideal life.
And that’s not such a bad thing, after all.