As a follow-up to my last post on freelance writing tips, here's a guest post from a young mom who IS making it happen as a freelance writer. Her name is Krishann Briscoe of His Mrs. Her Mr. (you may remember her as Formerly Single Mom Finds Happiness), and since submitting this guest post, she's now an editor for Black and Married With Kids on top of her other gigs. Take it away, you dream chaser, you....
I am a dreamer and always have been, but the thing with dreams is that you don’t have to act on them. You can write them and long for them all you want, but if you do nothing they will be what they always have been — dreams. I also happen to like the predictable. I like to know what is coming so I can prepare, or brace myself for whatever blow might come my way. Being a mother at 20 and feeling like my life was so out of control, I took comfort in whatever seemed certain. In time I learned that not much in life is ever really certain, and predictability and parenting don’t quite mix.
My first born taught me to dream big; she was the catalyst that helped make some of them, like finishing college and getting a Master’s degree, a reality. And my second child's birth is inspiring me in new ways. I discovered my passion before I had her — writing — but it wasn’t until after her arrival that a door I had been knocking on opened.
For me, my maternity leave has been a time of rekindling my passion. A chance for me to fall back in love with the things that made me happy and feel good. After being sick throughout my pregnancy, my writing was often put aside. It was a love that was neglected. But with the birth of my littlest came a new me, ready to reach for opportunities that presented themselves with more fervor than ever before.
I remember reaching out to Michelle, as I have always been so inspired by her, and sharing how I sometimes felt discouraged when it came to my quest for a writing job. I felt like I kept putting myself out there, hoping and wishing that something would happen, and that someone would see something in me and my words. That someone would give me a chance despite my stats, which consisted of small blog page views or twitter followers. Michelle validated my feelings, gave me some advice, encouraged me, and wrote some very profound words: “just keep at it.”
And I did.
My first real writing job was with Heidi at The Conscious Perspective. She saw something in me and she gave me a chance. I will forever be grateful to her. Then came The Conversation, and while it was not an actual “job,” writing for them has and continues to be a beautiful experience. I have also done several guest posts at various places, all blogs I adore. These were opportunities for me to make connections and grow as a person and a writer. The women behind these blogs gave me valuable feedback and much like Heidi, they gave me a chance. They also gave me a variety of pieces to pull from when I have applied for writing positions.
This October I landed a position with Babble.com. I had been trying to get a job as a blog contributor for about a year, but it seemed fate was never on my side. It's been two months since this new journey first began and I am still pinching myself. I have days where I worry. Am I good enough? What if no one reads what I wrote? Will they keep me? After all, I pour my heart into everything I do allowing me to feel good each time I click “publish.” I am giving this my all.
Here’s the thing: I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that this experience has and is shaping me unlike anything else. And it reminded me that I have the ability to make my dreams become a reality just as I did several years ago, as a single young mother walking across the stage, earning my degree, as my baby girl sat in the stands cheering for me.
Much like my first, my second child is teaching me something too. She is teaching me that it is OK to take risks and that even if I take them and things don’t go as hoped, we will still be OK. I get it, as an early mama, taking risks can be scary. We mothers don’t want our children to have to pay the price for our mistakes. And then there is a world that seems like it doesn’t always believe in our abilities and fails to see the potential that lies within each of us. A world that requires us to prove that we are just as worthy of a chance as the next mom no matter how old we were when we started making babies.
I wish I knew earlier that I could be a mother and still take risks. That I could be someone’s mommy and not stick to safe calculated choices for fear of what could be. Instead, I could step out on faith and give something my all, trusting that in the end my child and I would be OK.
I now realize that I can, thanks to my littlest one. These days I am blessed to have my husband to lean on, but I also have been blessed with family and friends who believe in me even when I struggle to believe in myself. And in the eyes of my children, I find the courage to pursue my passion and be the best mommy I can be.
Not too long ago, Michelle referred to me as a “freelancer” and I must admit my heart skipped a beat. I never would have thought. I’m a Social Worker. I went to school to be a Social Worker and when my maternity leave ends I will return to the office to do Social Work. But I am no longer limiting myself. I am taking more risks because I want that heart-skipping-a-beat feeling I get from the idea of a life lived doing what I love. I want to spend more time kissing, cuddling and loving on my children. I don’t want mornings filled with goodbyes as I hand my baby off, get in my car and head for the office. Or feeling like our evenings at home only consist of homework, dinner and a bedtime story because I get home so late. Pretty soon my baby girl will start school and my big girl won’t think I am the coolest person ever. So I’ve got to make the most of now.
I want more — not just for my children or my husband, but for me too. I want more. Will I have more? Who knows. Time will tell. But what I do know is that I no longer fear the uncertainty that comes with risk taking. I see now that I risk loosing more by not trying, by simply dreaming rather than dreaming and doing. When I learned about the job opening at Babble, I questioned whether or not I was capable. I had always wanted to write for them but I never pictured covering the topic they were seeking a writer for. But I took a chance anyway and I sent an email and two months later I am one of their contributing bloggers and am being challenged and stretched in ways I hadn’t imagined and yet I love it. I am living my dream freelancing and being a mom.
For those of you who are dreaming big dreams, keep dreaming but don’t be afraid to take chances. Put yourself out there and trust that someone will see that something inside of you. And when you do take that chance and don’t get the response you were looking for, remember that the greatness you harness within is not lost. It is still there. A very wise Early Mama told me to “just keep at it” and I will. You do the same too. It may not be easy but in the end it will have been worth it.