Career tweaking

Today is the first day since December that I haven’t had paid work to do. I have looked forward to this week for a long time. I’ve run a few errands this morning, started some laundry, and now my brain is cranking uselessly, trying to figure out what I will do next. Maybe the cranking isn’t useless. Boredom boosts creativity, apparently.

I feel like a hodge-podge copywriter/editor/journalist. I attended a networking event a few weeks ago and said to another journalist there “I’m a journalist, too. Sometimes.” Way to sell it!

I’ve increasingly been calling myself a writer when what I want is to be a journalist. I feel as though I’m not supposed to want that because the field is shrinking and so many of my friends have left for different careers. I prattled on to Greg the other day about how I wish I were writing for magazines, about how jealous I am when friends land a good journalism gig, about how I was thinking of seeking out a mentor to guide me on this freelance path. When I quieted myself after 10 minutes of chatter, he said nothing.

“Aren’t you going to say anything about all of this?” I asked.

“I already know all of this,” he said.

He does. Because this is what I do. I get mad at journalism and leave it. And then I return to it.

When I become too sad about the state of journalism, I read Longreads. People are still writing great stories. Is a freelance journalism career impossible? Or is it impossible only because I have told myself so? I can change my label from “freelance writer” to “freelance journalist” and hope that my subtle request is somehow answered.

I spend most of my time bumping about a quiet, suburban house. I am severely lacking in groundbreaking ideas. My lifestyle is much better suited to writing a PTA newsletter than a piece for Discover or National Geographic. I would much prefer to do the latter.