When starting to freelance full-time several years ago, I began hearing what is by now a familiar statement from people:
“I can’t imagine not knowing how much money I was going to make each month. I don’t think I could stand the insecurity of not knowing.”
We are buying a house today. My freelance writer self and independent musician husband have an appointment to close at 10am, after which we will move into our adorable 1938, 4-bedroom Cape Cod with detached two-car garage and a half-acre of land.
When I quit my job, back in 2010, I was working for a board, and therefore had to go around to ten different people, all of them at least 20 years my senior, to tell them I was not only leaving my position as their director, but I was doing so to work for myself, as a writer. They were all very kind and supportive, and, I could also tell, quietly concerned. I was trading a secure, public sector job with great benefits for what appeared to be essentially a non-job – in a terrible economy. They all liked me and wanted me to succeed, but I could see that they couldn’t visualize how “freelance writer” and “success” had any potential to overlap. When my then-fiancé followed suit the next year, leaving his high school teaching job after eight years, we only seemed crazier.
Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite literary characters. I like weirdos in general, but what specifically endeared him to me is John Watson’s incredulous reaction to Sherlock’s lack of knowledge about the solar system. Here’s a passage from A Study In Scarlet: