I was working all night on a press release. I’m still managing, somehow, to pick up work that I could do online. This was a press release for a big brand and back in 2007 to 2010, I would churn these kinds of articles out by the dozens in a month. As a freelance writer, it’s producing these write-ups in large quantities that pays the bills. Because the pay sucks. But it’s what I wanted to do.
For four years, I was like a machine. Twenty to thirty articles a month on new gadgets, beauty products, fashion pieces, profiles, what-have-yous, anything to pay the bills and a lot over for the extracurriculars.
I’ve stepped out of that world in 2010 and tried my hand at think pieces for the lifestyle sections of magazines and newspapers and the work was much less but I had other means of supporting myself by this time. Also, from the later half of 2010 to 2012, I was back with my parents, recovering from my second bout with meningitis.
Now, I’m back to doing these stories and working on brands and trying to find a lifestyle narrative to, what is essentially, selling a product. Yes, there is the aspect of finding the humanizing aspect of the brand or the product. There’s a skill to it. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Making it look and sound and read like a personal story and trying to be discreet about the marketing side of the work is very challenging.
I don’t know if I was really good at it or if I was just reliable. I always submitted on time and I was easy to work with.
Fast forward to 2016 and I’m working on one story for this brand — just one, mind you — and I spent a whole day on it just getting it right. I did the research. I had pegs of previous releases from my employer. This should have been easy.
I almost pulled my hair out.
It’s not the kind of writing I want to do now. In my head, I paid my dues. I’ve done my time. I’ve worked my ass off and I could, in my mind, afford to just focus on writing personal things.
But that’s not where I find myself now. Circumstances have lead me here and I have to change, adapt, revisit my work history if I want to still earn and be productive. The scripts are with the directors and they are pitching them. Deadlines are coming closer. I need to work on things and make money while I’m waiting for the seeds to grow and bloom and bear fruit.
One whole day on a press story.
I’m rusty. You don’t just come back to these things. You outgrow them and lose those skills after time. It’s a muscle that you haven’t used and you have to work on it again. Maybe this a different kind of exercise of my writing skills.
Whatever the case may be, this is where I am and I better shape up soon. It’s going to be a long while before I can get back on my feet.