As I said in the sticky post, I moved my feeds to The Old Reader and have been weeding through blogs I didn’t read or that hadn’t updated in six months or more, and catching up with blogs that I loved but hadn’t had time to really sit with and read deeply.
I’d like to recommend some blogs of the latter type. They aren’t really about editing (see the sidebar for editing/writing blogs I like), but they share a focus on being your own self rather than projecting an image that you think is more likable or better at everything. Maintaining that image takes a lot of unnecessary work, and while the image can be a protective shell or a useful mask, it can also be uncomfortable and limiting. In the years before I took this leap, I was increasingly frustrated by the need to divide myself into a “work” persona and a “real” persona. I didn’t feel that I could be as feminist, as spiritual, as silly, as simply human, or as wholly myself while at work. So part of my work in building Last Syllable Communications is to set that image aside, take the risk of being my authentic self, and trust that clients who want to work with me – not just a warm body with X, Y, Z skills and Q years of experience, but me in particular – will connect with me and we can begin a working relationship, whether for the length of one project or over the course of years.
These are some of the blogs I read that encourage authenticity, risk, being your own self, and nurturing that sense of self.
- Captain Awkward, an advice column for the nerdy and awkward among us (self included)
- The Freelancery, which I recommend over and over here for freelancing advice and encouragement
- Momastery, a blog full of light and love and brutiful life
- Nurshable, about gentle parenting (you may find this blog less useful if you’re not a parent or have a very different parenting style)
- Beauty Tips for Ministers, advice on dressing fashionably and appropriately at the same time; geared toward clergymembers, but enormously useful to me as I transitioned into my thirties and realized I needed to learn to dress myself again
As of today, Last Syllable Communications is 100% of what I do!
To recap: I used the couple of months before my previous job ended to start my business, take care of paperwork, try out systems for file management and scheduling, talk to prospective clients, and not least of all, complete a few projects. Now I’m starting this phase with a handful of lovely clients and ongoing projects, an understanding of how I work and what my needs are, and a manageable to-do list.
At the moment I’m feeling a little bit at loose ends because I’d normally be getting ready to head into the office. Instead I’m about to settle my daughter down for a nap, and then I’ll review some testing materials and plan dinner (I’ve so missed cooking).
The new routine will take some getting used to, but it’ll be a good change. I’m very excited!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday, readers! My Thanksgiving was lovely. I cooked entirely too much food but we did get to have pie for breakfast and turkey sandwiches for lunch afterward (but not too many days afterward). I spent a little time relaxing and a little time working and it was just what I needed.
I have a million ideas and thoughts and plans.
With this house, nothing is turning out quite like I expected. Like, I had this whole setup in mind for my desk, and then my mother-in-law offered a rolltop desk that she’s not using (yes, please!), so now I’m rethinking how to arrange the furniture in my office and where to put my printer and maybe using a different color paint (no, most of the walls are still not painted). In a couple more months, either those details aren’t going to be particularly important or I’ll be able to change what bugs me, but right now it’s stressing me out.
I had lots of good ideas about scheduling my work time, but the implementation is not going so smoothly. I will more than likely have late nights and early mornings for the next couple of weeks. Sleep is very important to my own particular good health and I’m not happy about losing sleep. I’m counting the days until I won’t have to schedule my work around a different full-time job anymore.
There are classes and webinars I want to take, books and articles to read, things to think about and ponder and attempt and tweak…
But it’s not time for that right now. It’s time to dive in and do all that work. Which frustrates me, but them’s the breaks.
Another set of links that I’ve been reading lately.
What does it say on your tin? I hemmed and hawed about the idea of specialty e-mail addresses, but what really got me was the illustration of three addresses for three different proofreaders with equivalent skills:
There is a four-figure budget for each title with guaranteed repeat work but the clock is ticking. Which of the three do you feel like trying first?
I’m quite fond of my Gmail address but I couldn’t argue with that. This post is the reason my contact e-mail here is now firstname.lastname@example.org. Does what it says on the tin.
The Freelancery: I found this site through a link on the EFA members’ discussion list and spent the better part of my night reading through the archives. I love the encouraging yet willing-to-admit-failure tone Walt Kania has and the nuts-and-bolts processes he discusses. There may be a couple more posts forthcoming where I generally enthuse about this or that post on The Freelancery.
And a couple of literary news items:
“The World Is Not Acquainted With Us” The Emily Dickinson International Society last month showed a daguerreotype that is probably Dickinson with her friend Kate Scott Turner. I’m not a Dickinson expert so I wasn’t aware that there had only been one other image of her. Very exciting to be confirming a second image!
Richard III dig: ‘Strong evidence’ bones are lost king Speaking of exciting news, this BBC article indicates that an archaeological team is close to DNA confirmation that a skeleton found on a dig in Leicester is the actual Richard III. The location of the burial (at Greyfriars, in what’s now a parking lot) is consistent with the historical record, as are some physical characteristics of the skeleton (severe scoliosis and wounds to the skull). This whole thing is just breathtaking.
Yesterday was the big day! Paperwork has been completed and filed and notarized, even. I am officially doing business as Last Syllable Communications, a sole proprietorship in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
I’ve put in an enormous amount of effort to get to this point, long days and working naps and a whole lot of reading studying and learning, and I’ve just gotten to the starting line! There’s lots more work ahead, but I’m excited for it. Going freelance has been tremendously, well, freeing so far. I’m finding my voice, dreaming big, and just bubbling up with joy at all the future possibilities.
As in, I must be doing what I love. I have had so little interest in business for most of my life (including a previous try at freelancing full-time), but in the past month, I have been so caught up in learning all the little details, it just astounds me when I step back for a moment and notice this.
Last night I was propped up in bed with my laptop, drafting my business plan. I was pretty tired so there wasn’t much quality writing happening, but that cover page looks sharp and all the sections have been divided up nicely. But still — 11 p.m. on a Sunday night, and there I am with my business plan.
I’m waiting until Mercury goes direct (it’s currently retrograde) to actually file the paperwork to create the business, and I am on PINS. AND. NEEDLES. I’m using the time between now and then to gather forms and other resources, write lists and remember what I’d forgotten to add to them, read advice columns and how-to books, and generally allow time for things to go wrong and need fixing before the big day. Kind of like packing the hospital bag before my daughter was born.
Next on the schedule: signed up for a “Fundamentals of Starting a Business” class on the 16th, going down to the county clerk to file papers on the 20th.[ This is a change; the stars align a little better on this date.]