Life has been quite challenging the last couple of months. There are other things going on in our lives, but what keeps me up at night a bit is work and finding more work.
You see, I lost a regular client after they hired a full time staff that can write the articles they usually send to freelance writers like me. That’s a lot of money gone. Like a lot.
That would have been okay had I not received a confidence-crushing email from the new editor they hired, telling me about my shitty work.
First off, let me give you my initial thoughts the first time I read his email. Everything else became blurry. What came into focus was that my writing was shitty and not worth the money I’m charging them.
I auto replied (meaning, I automatically replied without giving myself time to think and be calm) and sent out what I thought was a pretty sarcastic snappy reply to the editor. (It turns out he found it quite balanced – hahaha, I don’t even know how to be sarcastic!).
When my blood finally stopped boiling and I’ve hugged my daughter 5,000 times to calm me down, I read his email again together with the comments he placed on my latest article.
And it hit me. He was right. He was abso-freaking-lutely right.
After re-reading the email, I realised he was telling me this: he’s not a fan of my writing yet but he could be if I worked harder at it. The initial thoughts I mentioned above weren’t even written there on the email. It was my angry ego reading between the lines.
His notes were spot on and it rubbed me raw because my laziness seeped through my work. I was lazy when I wrote that article, and to be honest, probably the last two or three articles before that.
I was letting myself go, I think mainly because no one was challenging me about my work.
After that calmness sunk in, I wrote him another email – honest and true. He replied the next day saying he appreciated both my emails and that I had every right to be mad. He also said that now that the hard stuff is out of the way, we could work on the stuff that I write from now on (well, whatever else they give me anyway given I don’t have much work from them anymore).
I could have gone through a self-pity phase. I could have given up on my career (and at one point I did ask hubby if he’d be okay if I just change careers altogether – maybe start cooking or baking or sewing or something). But instead, I dusted myself off, tucked in my protruding ego and enrolled myself to a refresher course at the Australian Writers’ Centre – something that I wanted to do last year but kept putting it off.
After that, I mass emailed every single magazine I knew until I got a couple of replies that will hopefully fill in the hole that the previous publications have left gaping wide open.
Honestly, that editor could have said his piece better but I think he was trying to keep it in until he couldn’t anymore. I did tell him he should have said something earlier on before it came to a point where my articles “shortened his lifespan” (yep, I emailed that to him – pretty smart eh?).
I don’t know if I’ll hear from him again given that I don’t write for them that often anymore. But in a way, I am grateful for his email. It was the kick in the butt that I needed to zing my mojo again. I think I’m on the right track now (I’m still considering doing the cooking sideline job though).
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