The past week has been none-too-shabby in terms of progress. Three of my articles have gone to print or screen, for E, The Environmental Magazine, International Living, and Elephant Journal. I garnered the interest of a British environmental mag in an article I’m writing about deforestation in the Southern Philippine Islands, so that should go to print soon…just as soon as it’s approved by the editor. And I snagged my first English student! So I’ve got an actual real-life class to teach on Wednesday.
This is all excellent news – don’t get me wrong. But I am faced with a very real challenge now: if I’ve proven to myself that I can do this, there’s no excuses for not...doing it. OK, to be fair, one class with one student doesn’t mean that I can be an EFL teacher. And getting three teensy front-of-book articles published doesn’t mean I’m headed straight for The New Yorker (dream!) but it’s most definitely a start.
I’m so used to being thrown into the thick of things professionally that this experience has been and continues to be profoundly trying on my already-thin patience. How can I find my rhythm when the DJ only plays slow jams? And then what happens when the beat does pick up? Will I remember how to boogie? When will this metaphor end? Criminey. That fear most definitely ranks in my top three. Can I keep up? Not that it’s actually a problem as yet, but no harm in worrying way in advance, right? Still, it’s a very confusing place to be:
1. Things are going quite well, but not quickly enough.
2. Things are going quite well, but I may have forgotten how to function under duress.
3. Ergo, obvious reasons for freaking out include the following:
a. the likelihood that things will continue to progress at their current snail’s pace;
b. the possibility that things will pick up and I’ll be unable to make it work.
As you can see, no matter what happens, I can always find ample reason to freak out. Freelancing is seriously so much about personal responsibility. We have to be responsible for our time – i.e., when we’ll work and when we won’t. We have to be responsible for our space – i.e., where we’ll work. We have to handle the finances and the losses from sick time and any changes in the laws or bureaucracy that might in some minute way affect our bottom line. But we also have to manage the highs and lows, the failures and successes, the promises and the threats, all on our lonesome.
Because if I go down, I’m taking this whole ship with me.
Yikes. One more thing to worry about.