Moving Mountains: Together

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
You think this is hard? I'm passing a gallstone as we speak! *That's* hard!
- Sue Sylvester

There's another reason I keep fairly mum about my freelancing. Usually, when I try to explain how I make my (albeit: supplemental) income, I get one of two reactions.  Reaction 1) Person has no idea what freelance writing is. Acts like you're the cleverest thing since sliced bread. Reaction 2) The doubt niggling at the corners of the person's smile and they proceed to explain how hard it is to make it as a writer.

Neither reaction is really preferable, although it is nice to feel clever for a bit, even if the feeling's fleeting. But I feel particularly uncomfortable when someone tells me I've chosen a difficult way to make a living. Because really, I don't feel like I've chosen a more difficult way than anyone else. With the decaying traditional job market, I'm not sure there is such a thing as a secure job anymore, especially if you're a 20-something.

It can be trying to hear from someone retired or close to retirement tell you how hard your life is. (Know what's hard? Listening to people tell you how hard your life is.) Although we're all in this less than stellar economy together, there seems to be a certain disconnect amongst older Americans about what work possibilities really lie out there for young Americans. The work world they knew, the one that was secure, doesn't exist anymore.

If you're a 20-something out in the world right now, chances are you didn't you just fall into a traditional 9-5 job, you know, the kind that provides health insurance and retirement options, right after college.  Or if you did, words like "layoffs" and "downsizing" are enough to make your stomach turn on a regular basis.

I know I'm anything but alone when it comes to working to make a living in an unconventional manner. There are so many people out there going beyond the 9-5 hustle to make a more satisfying living. People like Ashley who quit her day job and now make her living with her crafts. Or Amanda, who like me, works a full-time job, but has a freelance writing "side hustle." (By the way, if you haven't checked out my guest post over at Amanda's blog, Grad Meets World, you should check it out now!)  Or Carissa, a photographer and jeweler.  

So when someone acts like I'm doing something extraordinary,  a part of me wants to say: You're the one putting the proverbial mountain in here. We 20-something freelancers aren't really out to prove anything, we're just trying to live a comfortable, fulfilling life.

Sure it's hard. But there's one thing that makes it easier: we're all in it together, 

And we're up to the challenge.


  1. i'll be honest-- the main reason why i can't fathom doing what you're doing is because i (through stupid decisions to move here and difficult decisions to stay) i live in one of the most expensive cities in the united states. perhaps the world. i would be ENTIRELY dependent on my fiance to support me if i didn't have this day job. i rely on him to purchase big, fancy things for us; i can live quite comfortably alone on my "regular" salary, but could never even pay rent on a place if i just freelanced. there was a time when the world was open to me and i could have moved some place less expensive and easier to pursue writing... but then i met my fiance 2 weeks before i planned on leaving. stupid fate.

  2. I get what your saying, but freelancing is far from a new idea. Freelancing, copy writing and often a combination of both have been around for roughly as long as modern journalism has.

    It is an unstable economy, that's for sure. But it is far from the most unstable we, as a nation, has seen. There is an ebb and flow that occurs. It sucks. Without a structured work system in place though- as rocky as it may be- there would be no one to buy the crafts, or the copy. it all works together. Bohemians have been finding their own way- outside of government/corporate structure- selling their arts and writings for longer than America has been a country. I know you weren't saying that you guys are the first people to make such bold choices- I just want to point out that although I'm in my 30's- I remember being a small girl whose mom made a living selling knitted goods and making chocolates while her ex-hippy friends found their own ways following their passions.

  3. oh god, what is worse than someone giving unsolicited career/ lifestyle advice? freaking curmudgeons.

  4. I love being a Renaissance Soul with many passions and not ready to just pick one. In my case this does not include writing....;-))))

  5. You just got the Liebster Blog Award! :)

  6. Ahhhhhh... I couldn't agree more. I hate when we people pass judgment on my work path. When I say I work in "social media" I get this weird reaction where people think that my job is something made up like professional candy taster..... The reality is I work insane hours and find it in no way **easy***

  7. Don't worry about what other people pass judgement on. You're a fine writer and if it remains your passion, just keep plugging along. 30 years ago I was told what a risk I was taking in my own profession. Well, 30 years later I'm still doing it and living just fine. If you want it bad enough it will happen. I wish you all the best. JF

  8. I'd love to be able to do both: do something that I'm very passionate about, but only as many hours a week as I feel I can work, and then supplement that with selling some kind of beautiful knitted creation. We're years away from that, but I think that would be amazing.


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