Journey to the Mountain — How My First Year in Freelancing Went

Michael Ruiz
Dec 17, 2017 · 7 min read
Hurricane Ridge, WA

It was a long journey getting there.

I started 2017 in a rather miserable state of affairs. I felt aimless. I was working to complete a film I knew would never generate a dime. I had spent the past several months stressing over problems that did not exist and trying to help people I couldn’t reach. Most of my days were spent cooking chicken for minimum wage and my nights spent working towards my degree.

So, I quit.

As amazing as it feels to quit your job to follow your dreams, the reality was, I was taking on little personal risk. I was working part time and could not legally earn any less than I was already earning. I parted on amicable terms with the company and knew of three places I could be hired or rehired at if I ever needed the extra income. But most importantly, I had a strong support system and my living expenses were covered through other means.

Not pictured — the incredible smell.
  • But you won’t always succeed in the short term. The short term is filled with stress and financial worries and missed opportunities. And success might not look like what you’ve imagined. To this day, I haven’t made a dime off of my own screenwriting. The same isn’t true for freelancing.
  • Success is self-defined, and if you define it with dollar signs, you’ll be sorely disappointed. So many of my favorite things were born from traditional failure. I’ve been more fulfilled with free work for friends than paid work from others.

Live well and live broadly. You are alive and living now. Now is the envy of all of the dead.

I’ve already talked about how I’ve mentally began 2018 in December. And I’ve done this because I don’t want to wait another month to get started on something new and exciting. To have to wait to find new clientele and new projects to get my hands on. That’s probably why this retrospective of 2017 comes several weeks early. Because I don’t have 2018.

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Michael Ruiz

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Lifestyle and culture writer from Atlanta. I make music, produce films, and travel when I can. The business side of me lives on

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