Freelance + Suffocation

The biggest mistake is to assume that another writer’s successful strategy will work for you, too. Publishers’ marketers – and even freelance publicists who cost mega bucks – tend to do the same basic things for all books. – M.J. Rose (American Author & Book Marketing Executive)

The alarm clock is blaring thunderously into the early morning hours. You turn it off and plant your feet on to the cold floor, yawning like clockwork. The sunrise peeks through the barely cracked blinds in your one bedroom apartment, filling the air with geometric rays, signaling it’s a new day. Except it isn’t a new day. You’ve been here before. The bedrooms atmosphere remains pale and stagnated. Subconsciously, we tactfully purchase overpriced candles you could have made yourself to turn away the stench of stagnation. But you’re here. You’re still planting the same feet on the same cold floor, every morning; a memory of a love lost in time we unknowingly repressed.

Autonomously driven by a culture of consumption, our daily routines define our sense of self all the while repressing its capitalistic undertone. It’s there. It gnaws at the back of our minds, driving our diluted sense of purpose. We think we’re better than we were the previous night, but really, we’re trapped in a cage with no doors and only one proverbial lock. There are no pens, no pieces of paper, and for good measure sake, no computer: only our voice.

And that is what we as freelancers struggle with on a daily basis, isn’t it? It’s about finding the proper tone of said voice. Are we speaking too softly? Or are we speaking too loudly? Are we not speaking loudly enough?

We read and remember certain writers because they offer distinctive voices and perspectives, because they’ve given themselves over completely and passionately to their obsessions while vigorously ignoring everything else. – Chang-Rae Lee (Korean American Author)

Being a freelance writer still learning their voice is like being bestowed the greatest power in the world, but there’s a catch – you can never use said power. Words give meaning to how we feel, how we communicate, and how we navigate existence itself. It’s our ingredients for the supplement of life, but it’s out of reach.

Looking back, as I reached out, no matter how hard I tried, those ingredients for the sustainment of life appeared farther away with every step. It never mattered whether those steps were right or wrong, leaving me to question “will I ever find my voice?” Deeply ingrained in me is the idea you are a person of no importance in this world without first having a voice. And even when you are so close, it’s within your grasp, you can feel it even as the air around you dissipates, feelings of suffocation…it fades away.

Desperately clawing at nothing but air, marking invisible streaks, what are you left to do?

This is where many writers have attempted or have at least committed suicide because this idea succumbed every fiber of their being. Shamefully, I am one who has attempted more than once. It’s as though you once quit a job that supplied that feeling of suffocation to only return later, working the same nine to five but only this time, gossip reaches your department. And even though they see you quite differently than before, it can never amount to your own feelings of shame, ridicule, and guilt.

It’s less than being committed to that job but you at least can positively think and feel you’re all the wiser for returning.

Since I’ve become a freelancer, through no fault of my own i.e. losing a full time job, life has been hell. The number of regular and freelance jobs applied for now range in the hundreds without exaggeration. Bureaucratic process of filing unemployment forms, pouring salt into open wounds, has all but proven itself as a nightmare.

Desperately seeking work feels like a beggar on the side of the freeway. When left with two decisions between work and having food or rotting away in to the cold, dead night, it’s sometimes haunting when rotting away feels like the better decision.

If you wish to follow me on Twitter, that would be lovely: @CoffeeStricken

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