Well, we’re down to the last couple of days of 2016. It’s time to take a few minutes to look back on the events that shaped the year.
What happened since last January 1st, 2016?
A lot! Some of it was good. Some of it was bad. Lots of it was awesome. And a little bit of it was ugly.
Many of you will look back on the year and think of all the great artists we lost. That list is quite long, unfortunately. But that’s life.
For many others, 2016 will always be known as the year which brought us Donald Trump, the President. Yeah, I can’t get over that one, either.
As for me, I will always think of 2016 as the first year of the rest of my life.
Quite the change
On August 1st, 2016, I began a new chapter in my life. I had been dreaming about this change for a long time. After more than a year of planning and putting all the parts together, I finally did it: I quit my full-time job and set out to become a freelance writer and translator. (To find out more about this, read My Story, published in October.)
When the day finally came, I didn’t know what to do! What was I supposed to do with all this time? I played Daddy Daycamp with my two kids for the first part of August. In between bike rides and swimming sessions, I tried to get some leads on new customers, worked on my websites, and got some work done for my 2 or 3 existing customers.
Then the entire family left for a two-week trip around Eastern Canada. I brought my laptop along, which allowed me to see a message from a friend of mine. She had forwarded me a job posting: an agency was looking for a translator. I promptly answered and forgot all about it soon after.
When we returned, it was back to school time. That was the real first test for my new lifestyle. How would it feel to be home alone all day, with nobody to talk to, just the computer and me?
The first thing I noticed was how fast the days would go by! I would sit at the computer around 8 a.m., after getting the kids off to school and get started on whatever work was to be done that day. I would look up after a while and realize it was 3 p.m. and the kids were about to return. Which meant my workday was pretty much done unless I continued after they went to bed.
It took a few weeks to establish a routine. The days still flew by, but at least now I had an idea of what I was doing. I had structure.
In mid-September, an old customer came around again and gave me steady translation work for about a month. Add that to the recurring work I was getting from a couple of other customers, and I was doing fine.
Then came the unexpected. The company I had applied to while on vacation contacted me in late October. It took a few days to get everything sorted out, but I got my first assignment a few days before Halloween. Then another, and another and another.
The month of November flew by. I translated nearly 40,000 words for them. It was great to be working so much, but it also meant that I had less time for my other projects. No time to chase down new leads. No time to work on my blogs. No time to edit the short story I had written over the summer.
Never mind my other customers.
But such is the life of a freelancer. You take what you can get when you can get it. Sleep becomes a luxury. Forget about driving to the library or the bookstore and wasting an hour or two going up and down the alleys. There’s work to be done!
It’s been almost six months now since I began this new adventure.
I haven’t regretted it for more than five minutes. This is easily the best decision I’ve ever taken. I took a chance, bet on myself and it’s paid off so far.
Speaking of paying off, my total revenue from freelance writing is just shy of $15,000 CAN for the year. A large chunk of it (around $12k) came after August 1st. I haven’t skipped any payments and I’ve accumulated no debt. Some of that revenue went into purchasing new equipment and I also signed up for Gina Horkey‘s freelance writing course.
In 2017, I will take more steps to make sure I never have to spend another minute in a cubicle ever again.
I will chase new customers. I will pitch my fiction to publishers. I will grow my network.
I won’t take no for an answer.
I will help my fellow freelancers.
I will publish 2 books. Midnight Shadow Dance, a collection of short fiction, will be the first. The second will be a non-fiction book, in French, on preparing yourself to become self-employed.
I will write more often on this blog. I will grow my following.
I won’t pay too much attention to the fact that I will be turning 40.
But, best of all….