Writing from Home
Why I’m freelancing.
I started freelance writing about four years ago while I was working full-time as a teacher. I started really slowly, writing or editing a few things here and there mostly for a friend who sent some small assignments my way. If you know anything about teaching, especially teaching high school English, you know time is a commodity. The hours required outside of the school day for planning and grading - oh, the grading - feel infinite. Taking on additional work when it wasn’t financially-motivated, or necessary to be honest, sounds like a form of self-punishment. But I had my reasons.
Practice my craft. I spent my days trying to help high school students become better writers. I reworked their sentences, reorganized their thoughts, and corrected their grammar. I was supposed to be the expert on writing; however, I wasn’t working on my own. I would tell them, The more you write and revise your writing, the better writer you will be. In order to be a better teacher, I felt I should practice what I was preaching.
Give myself a creative outlet. As mindfulness became a trending topic, a common suggestion for taking a break and living in the present was to “create something.” Not only can it boost your mood, but it’s also linked to overall improved health and mental functioning. I wasn’t blessed with an artist’s hand. Or vision for that matter. I’m not a particularly talented chef or gifted interior designer. But I love words. It (surprisingly) took me a while to realize that crafting words counts as being creative. I was excited to tap into that side of myself - and find a healthy outlet.
Share my voice. I am an observer. A people watcher. Above all, a peacekeeper. I tend not to heavily contribute my opinions in conversations, and I wonder if people think I don’t have any. That's certainly not the case. Writing has just always been an easier way for me to express my thoughts, so even within the constraints of a particular topic or audience, it felt like a chance for people to hear my voice.
[Re]define my future. When I was young, my family joked that I was going to start the next Hallmark company because I loved making homemade cards with “beautifully-written, heartfelt messages” (my mom's description). I even created a pen name for myself - Adnama Neslo (see what I did there?) – for when I became a famous author. I haven’t pursued that dream. Yet. While teaching is a humbling, rewarding career, I never felt it would be my final one. Gaining experience and building a small portfolio was a conscious decision toward a future writing career.
And now, here I am. Over the last four years, I’ve made more connections and produced a decent collection of writing samples. This year, I’m on child-rearing leave from teaching, which has allowed me to take on more work. I write from home when my kids are in someone else’s care, or when they’re napping, or when I’m sitting on the couch in the evenings after they’re in bed.
I don’t plan to stop writing anytime soon.