I’m currently threading everything I’ve written this year on Twitter and I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed by just how much that actually is. I started 2017 with one major goal: get paid for my writing by the end of the year. I’ve accomplished that goal, which feels amazing, and now it’s time for step two: get an actual, paid writing or editing job.
In 2017, not including blog posts, I wrote over 200 posts for various publications. That includes listicles, link round-ups, reviews, interviews, essays, and introductory pieces to site takeovers I helped coordinate. I wasn’t paid for the majority of those pieces (or I was paid very little) but the fact that I was even able to produce that much feels like an accomplishment.
From 2008-2012, I pursued an undergraduate degree in English/journalism, philosophy, and women’s studies. I graduated summa cum laude into a job market that didn’t want me, rife with reporting skills that I tried my best to utilize… only to slide into survival mode months later, taking a full-time retail job to deal with bills and debt while also navigating the end of an abusive relationship.
In other words, I put writing on hold because I didn’t feel like I could do it.
But in 2017, I finally feel like I am back on track toward the career I’ve always wanted. It’s taken me a long time to come to grips with the fact that 27 really isn’t old. I don’t have to have my entire life in order in my 20s, despite how many people I know seem to have all their ducks in a row. That isn’t the norm. That isn’t mine. And furthermore, what I see of these people is on social media — which I know from firsthand experience is often very carefully cultivated to paint a certain image.
So. I’m 27. I’m finally getting paid for my writing. And in 2018, I hope to leave behind the retail and foodservice world, if not for good, then at least for now.
I’ve learned a lot about myself this year. About my limitations as a writer, my abilities as an editor, and my motivation to push through exhaustion when I’m doing something I really love. I’ve figured out how to (mostly) balance freelancing with a full-time job and a life. I’ve slowly learned not to overextend myself, something I’m still working on (and will probably always have to, knowing who and how I am).
Most importantly, I’ve learned that if you just hurl your desires into the world, eventually, it will hear you. I can’t count how many pitch emails I’ve sent this year. I’ve been shopping around a personal essay for three months, taking every rejection as a suggestion to edit, refine, pull the piece back. Make it better. I submitted that same essay to yet another publication tonight and I don’t know if they’ll take it… but eventually, someone will. Or maybe they won’t. I don’t know.
But where even a year ago, a rejection would have shot me into a horrible downward spiral, now it just pushes me. And that’s how it should be, right? Doesn’t every writer have a hundred stories of rejection preceding their story of success?
2017 has, on a global level, been a total dumpster fire. On a more personal, career-focused one, it’s afforded me opportunities to interview amazing creators, write reflective essays about important parts of my past, and figure out my feelings on subjects like fandom, familiars, and more.
I’m nowhere near done threading my writing from this year — though I did tackle Rogues Portal already, which was the big one — but if you want to follow the thread, check it out below. And if you like my work or want to support me, you can leave me a tip right here. ☕️
Oh, and on a weirder, not-writing-related-but-still-relevant note… me and my personalized Dohring Chuck Taylors were featured in a Buzzfeed listicle in September. Life finds a way…
— Samantha Pearson (@theverbalthing) September 19, 2017