A New Season ( & Hi! How’ve you been?)

 

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I haven’t blogged in so long, it’s insane. Where to begin? Summer came, and summer went.

It was good, it was full; it felt exhausting at times, exhilarating at others. Highlights ranged from a whirlwind NoVa July jaunt and a favorite friend’s fun-fun-FUN Denver wedding to a love-soaked reunion under Chicago’s sticky summer skies. August was chock-full of music and weekends spent in tents at campsites near and far (far, as in, at the tippy-top of a mountain goat-dotted glacier). The end of September felt tinged with a bit of magic—the pinnacle being an amazing visit with my parents in the PNW during its finest show-off days and then a near week of togetherness in easy-breezy Oceanside.

For a long stretch there, work felt really steady (and almost too flowing at times), and the Seattle sun consistently blazed down on us as she’s known to do—filling our souls and Vitamin D reserves to the brim. (We have to store up, ya know; that’s just how life here works.) At one point, I felt highly over-traveled, and then grateful to regain my footing during several stationary weeks at home. I’ve gotten so much better at saying “no,” which is a relief, and I’ve seen the empowerment that comes from turning down gigs, trips and invites, simply because that’s the direction my gut tends to lean.

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Recently, a slowing of assignments has me feeling a little nervous, though admittedly not nearly as panicked as I would’ve felt once upon a time. This ain’t my first freelance-work-lull rodeo, after all. And I know for certain that waiting, patience and faith are the biggest challenges of this alternative lifestyle I’ve chosen—and perhaps the most important necessities, too.

This is the reality of my work situation at present: I am sending out a ton of pitches, a lot of emails, a bunch of check-ins—many of which I know will never get a response. I am used to this by now, and I *usually* don’t take it personally, but still—it can grow super old, really fast. The past couple weeks, I have done more “pro bono”-esque work than I’ve done since early CV-building days, but my reasoning is that this keeps things moving, the juices flowing, the pendulum swinging…toward tangible things that will soon “catch”—if I allow the unfolding to happen at a pace beyond my control.

Yes, I am so grateful to receive invites to dinners, receptions and press events galore, and to find super-cool surprise deliveries on my doorstep (apples! Olive leaf-tea! Gourmet pizza pies!). This is all amazing, lucky, spoiled—undoubtedly a very privileged perk to my wacky line of work. But sadly, this isn’t the type of compensation accepted by the collectors of my bills or the cashiers of my stores. (Surely these are the less glamorous glimpses into freelance life that don’t often make the social media rounds.)

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Yet despite the slowing of the season, I am well-aware that life continually presents us with periods filled with “planting” versus “blooming”… and with years (or seasons) that “ask” versus those that “answer.” I take great comfort in complementary thoughts shared by peers like the lovely Meg Fee, in her post rooting for the bamboo farmer in us all.

I am trying to follow the advice of wise gurus I respect who suggest that, at times like these, we keep on keeping on, living, giving, gifting—putting messages out into the Universe that I have enough, I am enough, there is enough.

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I can’t know for sure whether or not it’s working, but today I got a couple small assignments in, heard from an old, old travel friend and found a $5 bill on the ground just minutes after my favorite Turkish restaurateur-chef randomly presented me with a beautiful ring, just because she doesn’t “feel like selling them anymore, and not everyone appreciates their beauty.”

So I’m inclined to trust there is some truth to this approach. We must believe in abundance—of wealth, of health, of love, of whatever we seek—even when, especially when, it is something we currently cannot see.

I’m thinking it’s worth convincing ourselves: There is somehow always enough.

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Rags to Riches, Ramen to Royalty

Sometimes being a freelance writer is a string of sleepless nights fretting about money & bills & an uncertain future. (And oh yeah, 401Ks, what’re those again? Eeps.)

And, other times, it’s a frantic call from a PR friend who’s had a last-minute cancellation on a press trip, so she wants to know if you’d pretty, pretty please come stay in one of your favorite downtown hotels and eat dinner with them and then eat brekkie the next day (among other amazing proposals)? Um, yeah, sure, OK. Twist my arm! It’s a funny world, my friends, I tell ya:)

When I began this journey as a green, naive, little writer-wannabe, I had no clue what I was signing up for. But boy am I glad I keep trekking down this winding trail.

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Thankful November: Day 5

Day 5 * I am thankful for: New cafes + coffee chats with a new writer friend.

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Alfresco Office

Some days, being self-employed comes with major challenges.

Other days, I remember to pause, breathe and notice—to be grateful for perks like this:

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Weaving stories

As the name of this blog might imply, I’m someone who really enjoys hearing others’  stories. I love to learn how people got where they are today, about their struggles, their passions, what makes them tick.

What comprises your day-to-day existence, what’s your routine, who are the “characters” in the plot of your life, what fuels your fire? To me, this is all fascinating.

Recently I’ve been feeling very grateful with the realization that, as a freelance writer, much of my job is to do just this.

To interview. To ask. To listen. To record.

Then I get to process the information, throw in the background research, sprinkle it with anecdotes, shuffle it all around like a jigsaw puzzle– until I feel (and sincerely hope) that I’ve accurately represented someone’s multi-decade life in one succinct Word document.

It can be a challenge, but I also find this a really cool mission.

Over the past five-plus years, I’ve interviewed dozens, maybe hundreds of people. Via email, over the phone, face-to-face. (Admittedly, some go better than others…) There have been some no-names thrown in there as well as some fairly big-names. It’s always refreshing to remember, though, that in the end–people are just people. Really, we are all very much alike.

With my latest project, I’ve been conducting an especially high number of interviews. To name a few, I’ve chatted with a world-renown artist, a foreign ambassador and a woman whose autobiographical book chronicles the journey of caring for her husband (of 40 years) who became a quadruple amputee after a tragic run-in with a Vietnam landmine. Their stories are interesting, humbling, inspiring.

Today I came upon this article  that gives some really good tips on interviewing. Thought you might enjoy too!

Happy weekend, friends. Hope it’s a great one as your life story continues to unfold. 🙂