Posts Tagged ‘freelance’

Most of y’all know I’m a longtime reviewer for Shelf Awareness (best. gig. ever). That usually means I get a delicious stack of print advance copies to try out every month. But due to the pandemic, my last stack of physical ARCs arrived in mid-March. (Shortly after that, the stay-at-home orders came down, and many publicists and editors – including mine – couldn’t get to their offices to distribute books.)

Since we usually read two to three months ahead (those books I got in March all had pub dates for May, though some of them have been pushed back), we had to shift to e-galleys quickly. I was (am) not a fan of this idea: I love physical books, their heft and feel and smell, and I also don’t want one more reason to scroll on a screen. But my sister has lent me her long-disused Kindle Fire, and after several weeks of denial/procrastinating/avoiding reality, I finally have it set up for digital reading. (I’m requesting books through both Netgalley and Edelweiss, and the experience in both places has been mostly fine.)

It’s not as good as a “real” book, and I’m still reading physical books when I can: either rereading old favorites or working through my long-unread stacks. But the e-reader experience is much better than scrolling through files on my laptop, and it means I can still do the freelance work I love.

Like so much of life under quarantine, it’s not what I would have chosen, but here we are. I am (simultaneously) frustrated, trying to make the best of it, and intensely grateful that these are my problems.

Are you reading digitally in these strange times – or do you normally? Any tips?


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Tales from Temp-land

Following in the footsteps of my friends Annie and Juliette, I’ve spent three days this week working in an office as a “Temptress” (Annie’s term, which is so much sassier than plain “temp,” don’t you think?).

Actually, I was supposed to spend the whole week there, and next week too. But after I got through all the projects they had for me, and politely but firmly turned down their offer of a longer-term job (building and editing corporate PowerPoint presentations), I got to call it quits yesterday. So, once again, I am free – no more hour-long commute through highway construction to Waltham; no more blue-and-gray cubicle; no more solitary lunches at my desk, and awkward small talk with people who aren’t really my co-workers.

Of course, this means I am also again broke/out of work/back to sending out resumes. But you know what? I much prefer this reality to that one.

I’m realizing again (as if I didn’t already know) that I was not cut out to work in corporate America. I loved working at ACU because of the people, and also because I believe in the mission of the place. I believe in the power of higher education to broaden people’s horizons and change their lives. I believe in the place that gave me an English degree, my first semester in Oxford, lots of dear friends and so many new ways of thinking. On the other hand, I don’t possess an ounce of passion about supply-chain dynamics and office restructuring and editing 150-page documents (I kid you not) of corporate-speak.

So it’s back to the freelance life, back to running errands in Quincy and taking breaks to wander around Boston (while the weather holds) and sending out resumes for jobs I would actually enjoy. And I feel like a kid set free from school – only instead of “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks,” it’s “No more commuting, no more cubicle, no more sad reheated desk lunches!” (I know that doesn’t rhyme, but does anything rhyme with “cubicle”?)

Don’t mistake me: I’m grateful for the opportunity to make a little money and a few connections, and I hope I land some more assignments through the temp agency I’ve signed up with. But I’m also grateful for a few more free days, and the chance to keep pursuing my writing dreams, exploring my new city and making my “one wild and precious life” just that.

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a swirl of words

My life is a swirl of words. Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about sisterhood, success, country music, ballet flats, relationships, best friends, and most recently, my experience acting in a church Passion Play. I’ve been working on that article for quite a while today. And…(drumroll)…I just clicked on the Radiant magazine Web site and saw that my article “In the Presence of a Hero” is up! You can read it here.

It’s been an encouraging week for me as a writer. Yesterday I was notified that this article was accepted, and I also won a free T-shirt for telling the authors of Consider Lily, my most recent read, why I liked the book. (It’s classy, smart and funny – quite different from most chick lit – and it actually has a moral. And the protagonist was an English major!)

I’ve also written emails, of course, and taken notes for a couple of profiles for ACU Today and a recruiting guidebook. And I’ve journaled and talked to friends and dashed off a few thank-you notes. Words…words…words.

I love words, of course. They don’t always love me – sometimes they’re stubborn or elusive or just plain hard to work with. But I’m learning that the secret is to show up at the page or the computer. Having ideas helps, but even if I don’t, the simple act of writing something opens up my fingers and my mind. As Julia Cameron comments, “As we suit up and show up each day at the page or the camera or the easel, we have an ‘eye’ that becomes the ‘I’ present in all that we do.” And inspiration is much more likely to strike if you’re working faithfully.

All that to say – Please read my new article! And have a wonderful weekend filled with sno cones and baseball games and rolled-down windows and all the delights of summer. Cheers!

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