Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Lesson #38: Don't bite off more than you can chew

I started a new job last October writing grants for a university that's about an hour's commute from my home. I love the new job and was happy to land it.

But prior to taking the job, I had solicited my local newspaper to see if the editor was interested in letting me write for them, on staff or as a freelancer. I was feeling nostalgic for my days as a newspaper reporter, and my current job as a freelance grant writer was so, well, boring.

The editor pulled me in for an interview, both with him and the staff of the paper. I never heard back from him, despite a thank you letter and confirmation from the business office that they had all my paperwork in order. I figured, no harm done by asking, and chalked it up to good interviewing skills practice.

Two weeks after starting the university position, the editor called me and offered me a gig writing a bi-weekly column on "anything interesting that pertains to Merced County." Of course, I said yes.

I mean, 11-hour days working for a prestigous intellectual community in a high-stress, challenging position wasn't enough for me, right? What I really needed was to tack on a couple more hours a week of research, interviews and composition that would be published in my home town twice a month for 50,000 readers to chew and bitch about.

I've been writing more-than-full-time now -- both grants for the university and a column on raising kids in the county -- for almost three months. I've gotten my first hate mail (after five columns, which isn't a bad record). It's exhausting work.

But it's worth it. I'm finally making decent money (what I'm worth), hanging out with interesting people, and keeping my name in print. I'm a pretty lucky gal after all.

1 comment:

Chhun Sun said...

I said this before and I'll say it once more: I'm glad you're writing for newspapers again. I've always loved your writing. I think newspapers need you, not the other way around.