This will be the winter of me

In which I resolve to spend more time during the holiday break doing what I love most (writing) without fear or shame

It’s me! Photo by J Campos.

I haven’t blogged in so long that hitting these keys feels foreign, as if I’ve stepped into someone else’s life and taken over someone else’s job. Gone are the days of the big ol’ blogosphere, when anyone and everyone had a blog. Many bloggers — myself included — turned the other way when faced with a difficult dilemma about blogging: should I keep blogging almost every day when I receive little to no recognition or compensation for my effort, or should I focus instead of my studies and paid work, which yields actual, tangible benefits?

Needless to say, I chose my work and my studies.

I don’t come here bearing regrets, though: I needed to choose paid work and academia. Academia — honing my craft, studying theory and ethics, learning about intersections of identity — taught me discipline and perspective I didn’t know I had. And working for pay — real, cold cash — showed me the value of earning compensation for my work. I learned a twofold lesson: first, that I have skills and the discipline to exercise those skills, and second, that I have a right to advocate for compensation for myself and my work.

So … where does this leave me now? It’s December 2016, and I’m a second-semester junior in college. I have freelance writing experience under my belt. I have almost 75 published clips, between The Oracle and my freelance work, ready to whip out for potential employers to purvey. And, perhaps most importantly, I’m starting to break out of the confines of my comfort zone. I’m learning, slowly but surely, that there are no real barriers to my success as a freelance writer or journalist. The only barriers are the ones I set for myself.

This is me pledging, on a public platform, to write like hell in December and January. This is me pledging to work my ass off to get my work published and to not be afraid to ask for payment for my work. This is me claiming my identity as a freelance writer; acknowledging that I am, in fact, good at what I do; and resolving to shed any lingering fears or insecurities about pitching myself and my work.

I am talented. I am damn good at what I do. And I’ll be damned if I need someone to give me permission to pitch a story or ask for compensation.