Technically, I’m not a very good writer. I think. It’s hard to tell. Is anyone, really, anymore?
If you were to hold a gun to a puppy’s head, threatening to pull the trigger unless I could tell you the difference between the simple present tense and the past progressive tense, I’d feel really badly for that poor puppy because it’s going to die. English, as my bilingual girlfriend likes to tell me, is an extremely complicated language. We have so many different tenses to contextualize every single possible situation it’s a wonder everyone doesn’t speak broken English. Our grammar, punctuation, and spelling rules are inconsistent at best, ludicrous at worst. In short, English is hard.
I don’t ever remember being taught the rules of English in school. We had something called “English class” that I assume was meant to teach those things, but basically I remember just reading and writing a lot in that class. English class in Elementary and High school seem more interested in teaching you how to read, analyze, and think critically than actually how to parse sentences into their constituents.
I write well enough because I have an ear for it. I can recognize when things don’t sound quite right, and I know enough of the rules that I can spot when they’re being broken on a piece of paper. I learned these things through experience; reading, listening, writing, and revising.
Now that things are getting increasingly desperate in my coffers, I’m seriously considering freelance writing. It scares me, for various reasons, but mostly because of my own flaws. Besides the aforementioned lack of technical knowledge, freelancing requires a lot of discipline and patience. I lack both of those things, as evidenced by my writing about how I lack them instead of actively pursuing leads on writing jobs.
When I seriously think about it, after the initial panic of holy shit how would I ever make enough money to support myself, it would be an ideal situation to put myself in. I could make my own schedule, pursue as much or as little work as I want, and strengthen my skills. I’ve always been a good enough bullshitter in my writing that I can probably fool enough people into believing A.) I actually know how to write (ha! What fools!) and B.) I have something to say that isn’t trite or recycled from elsewhere.
At this juncture, though, it’s worth a try. As much as I appreciate the security of a 9-5 with a manager and health benefits and consistent paychecks, I also hate the rigidity of it all. I get antsy after a very short amount of time, and I begin to wonder why I’m allowing people to waste my life when I am perfectly capable of doing that myself.
This might be the smartest decision I make, or another huge blow to my ego and self-belief. On the bright side, however, even if I fail I can always search for another 9-5 and allow complete strangers to suck the life from me 40 hours a week at a time.