I’m not a hunter, and I don’t like the idea of killing animals. Still, I have to imagine that standing over their “prize” is a hugely satisfying moment for hunters. They’ve likely gone to great lengths to bag their kill — often getting up before dawn, dressing in camouflage, preparing their weapon of choice, and waiting in silence for exactly the right moment to pounce.
Freelance writers are always on the hunt. It’s simply the nature of the business. We can’t be complacent about last month’s or yesterday’s accomplishments because there’s no guarantee that our prey will continue to line up in front of us. I once made that mistake — which is to say, I stopped marketing myself when my coffers were full. I could barely keep up with my existing clients’ steady work and told myself I didn’t have time to look for more. But that mistake left me right in the bullseye.
Then, in a month-long span, all my clients were gone. Poof. The economy played a role, sure, but I hadn’t cleaned my weapon in awhile, and my cupboard was bare. It was a vital lesson, one I won’t soon forget: Don’t stop hunting, no matter how full your belly gets.
Today is an especially delicious day because I just bagged a new writing credit — US News & World Report. Seeing my work there feels something like finishing a big piece of pie a la mode after an enormous Thanksgiving dinner. I’m stuffed, and the lingering taste is sweet.
For almost any writer, I think seeing our work in a well-known publication — where it will surely be read — is one of the best perks of the job. We want to be paid (and paid well), but we want to know that someone is actually reading what we’ve written. We want to have an impact. We want our work to mean something.
So I’m enjoying my full plate these days, and particularly this piece of pie. But after I read my article and posted it on Facebook and Twitter, I emailed another new editor to see if she’s interested in my writing. If so, well, I’ll just figure out a way to jam it in — there’s always room for a little bit more, right?
I may be standing over my fresh kill, but no way am I letting my gun get cold again.