Freelance writing

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Metamorphosis

Published May 24, 2015 by megdedwards

meg writing

I wrote poems when I was a child. I remember one that was pretty straight forward. It was about my life plan. I wanted children and then I wanted to write. At least that was the gist.

When I mentioned this at breakfast the other day my husband said, ‘Be careful what you wish for, they say, because you just might get it’, but then he smiled because he must have wished for a sexy wife and a happy home with delightful children.

Then I had an epiphany. I had to stop and think; place my index finger on my lips and frown. All the whirring sounds of breakfast, a child asking where her brush was, a cheap dishwasher taking off like a jet engine, faded away and my mind focused on one point: had I been pursuing this plan all along? Was I living out a lifeline that I had set up when I was ten years old? I had to shake my head. I had to smile.

What really took me by surprise was that I have spent much of my life quietly thinking that I had failed; that I had not lived my dream life. I was critical of myself for not having ‘become a writer”. What I didn’t realize was that I was a writer, and always had been. My own child self had given me plenty of time to find a good man and create beautiful children and write and think all along the way.

I have always been writing, thinking about writing, reading, and writing some more. I wrote for myself, I wrote for academics, I wrote for the free ranging feminist community. I wrote on film, art, theater, computer technology, medical topics and local politics and events. I wrote about everything and anything as a freelance journalist. I wrote cover stories on everything from chocolate to female impersonators.

I have never stopped writing and one of the classic photos my kids took of me is of the back of my head, my hair casually clipped up, typing away at the computer. I had a Mom just like that – typing, frowning, placing her finger in her upper lip while she was thinking. We were trained to wait til she had finished her thought before interrupting.

And like all writers I also wrote poetry and stories. Files, folders and black journals full of emotions and ideas formed into words. It does not matter if anyone noticed. I have been following that plan like a blueprint. I do have the happy home that I imagined. It is becoming more possible to do more writing as they grow older.

Later that same day while I was wandering aimlessly around Facebook I saw the image of a donkey tied to a plastic chair and under it was written, ‘Sometimes the obstacles you imagine are not as big as you thought’. I think I heard a chorus of hallelujah in my brain. Second level to the epiphany!

The next day I stared writing a novel. I jumped in with no plan and no particular structure. I wrote and I wrote and at about 10,000 words (thank you Nanowrimo for getting me going) I re- thought the main character and introduced another character and kept going. At about 30,000 words I knew who I was writing about, why I was writing and how it was going to end.

I have long dreamed of this moment. I am ecstatically happy and not in a temporary way in which you expect that sad drop of disappointment later. I can’t be disappointed about results or expectations because I am entirely happy about recognizing who I am and acting on it. I have acknowledged my childhood plan.

Characters and scenes from short stories that I wrote long ago are queuing up. Some of them want to be in this novel, some of them want their own novel. I am enjoying the big canvas; I am taking my time building characters and scenes. I am having fun doing it and I know someone else will have fun reading it.

I am confident about my created world. It reminds me of the process of my rug hooking, a hobby I began last winter when I was homeschooling my youngest. I enjoy the process; the visual concept, the gathering of the wool, the painting in colors and textures. While I am pulling strips of hand cut wool up through the holes of the burlap my mind relaxes and indulges in day dreaming. I listen to music and I think about things. Halfway through one rug I have an idea for the next one.

And this is how I feel about my stories now. Working in an entirely different medium helped bring about this commitment to the novel. Just as I always finished every rug I began, even when I had thought of an even better idea for the next one, I know I have to finish this story before I begin the next one.

It is incredibly satisfying to recognize that all my earlier writing is not wasted. It had its place in the forming of my characters and visions. I don’t need those dusty files anymore because the characters have burst out of their tight little short story forms and lunged forth into characters who want more space to develop. Poems, images, and dreams are becoming living thoughts in my fictional characters.

When I was a child I wrote because I loved to and that spirit is returning. Writing is my friend. I am writing because I want to. Sometimes it does take discipline to sit down and write but it is work I was meant to do.

Tantramar News

Published June 10, 2012 by megdedwards

Jerome Bear joins the drumming circle celebrating his Swearing in Ceremony in becoming Mayor of Dorchester.

Up until last spring I wrote for The Times and Transcript doing local news and features for the daily paper published out of Moncton. It was a great gig and I enjoyed it.

The job began more than 10 years ago when I made a ‘cold call’ to the paper’s news editor saying that I was looking for work. We had just bought our house in Baie Verte and I knew that I did not want to drive for an hour to get to my call center job.

As an aside, an hour commute for rural people is not the same as an hour within a city. It is not just the cost of gas but the challenge of driving though major snowstorms on highways that may not be cleared.

But back to my employment story, I ended up scoring the Council Reports for three villages outside of Moncton (Hillsborough, Petitcodiac and Salisbury).

I was very happy with that even though I had to get my husband Joe to drive me to the meetings because I had foolishly let my Driver’s Licence lapse!

In later years, I took up three more villages closer to home and added freelance reports from my coastal position that included reports on new businesses and events from Sackville, Dorchester and Port Elgin.

I also began to write feature pieces for Leigh Williams, the editor for the Life section of the Times and Transcript. I really enjoyed those longer pieces but you do not want to know what you are paid for a three interview, 1000 word feature article.

Then the big cut came, a terse and unapologetic email from Brunswick News telling us that freelancers were no longer needed. They were going in a different direction, they were moving to more of a 24 hour on-line presence.

Which was fine. Well, not really, it was a kick in the teeth, but what can you do? And I went back to my Library Studies and finished my Certificate.

But in the meantime I have been asked many times during the last year to write on a subject that someone wants published. I have been asked where my articles are, and when I am returning.

And bit by bit I have begun to recognize that there is a desire for my local writing, and that I can fill that void.

If the Times and Transcript can go on-line, then so can I!

In my writing I covered everything from municipal politics to theater reviews. I enjoy writing about entrepreneurs, artists and business take overs (they happen in small towns).

I have recognized a need and identified a market, and I have already placed myself on the map as someone who can and will write about the local news and events with clarity and enthusiasm.

So I am going to start my own on-line news site called Tantramar News.

By the fall I plan to have my own website and a subscription base, however humble, of my own.

To start the ball rolling, I traveled to Dorchester to cover the swearing in ceremony for the new First Nations Mayor, Jerome Bear.

Check out Tantramar News at:

http://megdedwards.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/first-nations-mayor-of-village-of-dorchester-nb/

Jerome Bear joins the drumming circle celebrating his Swearing in Ceremony as Mayor of Dorchester.

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