This post is part of the #reverb10 project.
Forcing a writer to choose only one word is mean. That’s why I became one in the first place–because I like many words. But, if I had to choose just one word to encapsulate 2010 (which I do), that word would be transformative.
There have been other years that were more eventful, probably–in 2004, I moved 3,000 miles, from the only state I had ever lived in to New York City, and started grad school; in 2005, I got married to my best pal, traveled through Europe with the flu and started the job that I would have for the next five years. But in 2004 and 2005, I was in my mid-20s and carried along by the exhilaration of endless possibilities.
In 2009, I was at the end of my 20s and suffocated by my own inertia. The years had begun to blend together; every day was the same.
I was very aware that most people do not love their jobs, but continue to go to them every day for the sake of stability and because they don’t see a way out. But I didn’t want to be one of those people. Also, the universe had provided a way out for me.
I was lucky to have a couple of friends who saw more potential in me than I saw in myself.
They recommended me to other people who had written books, ones that needed editing. By this time last year, I had edited five of ‘em. I got paid for most; some I did for free. I loved it.
In January, in the middle of a friend’s wedding, I decided to set out on my own. This decision was highly out of character for me because
- I like knowing what to expect.
- When I was growing up, (lack of) money was a huge source of stress in my family. I hated that.
- I have always thought of myself as a person who flourishes under the threat of deadlines that have been imposed by other people.
- I am lazy.
Nevertheless, I said a grateful farewell to dozens of wonderful co-workers on June 11 and I haven’t looked back.
The biggest surprise (truly shocking to me, still) has been that most of the work that I do is writing, rather than editing. I didn’t even know people could make money freelance writing these days! (It turns out the key is refreshing this page over and over and over.) Writers are a dime a dozen; editing is more of a skill, one that requires a long attention span and a hardcore neurotic streak. I love doing both, but if given the opportunity to create rather than nitpick … well, it’s a pretty obvious choice.
Now, I write a blog on autism spectrum disorders, movie reviews and text for a couple of exciting in-progress web applications. I still get to edit academic treatises on development economics and, just now, I got off the phone with a freaked-out undergrad who needs help with her thesis, the one that’s due next week.
A year ago, I was feeling pretty bummed out. Now, I feel engaged, overwhelmed, creative, stressed-out and pretty happy.
Next year’s word? Oregon.