Sometimes, I'm a very spontaneous person. I make snap decisions without really thinking them through. Thankfully, this is becoming rare. I attribute that to wisdom, I suppose, which comes with age (one of the good things).
I recently made one of those snap decisions. In this day and age of instant communication, it's easy to fire off an email without thinking too much, and that's exactly what I did when I decided to inquire about a possible freelance gig.
Here's the thing, though. I don't really have time to do anymore freelance work. But since my husband is graduating from college next month and already has a job lined up (hurrah! Two incomes!), I was playing with the idea of working from home, and wanted to see if I could make a go of it. So, off I went, searching the Internet for freelance gigs in my area of expertise. I came across one with a former contact and immediately shot off an email, despite a little voice telling me, "Don't do it."
I blithely ignored it, of course, and when I got his response that yes, indeed, they could use my help, and that the amount they paid for the service was X amount of dollars (VERY good pay for this work, I might add) I charged ahead. I read through all the documents he sent, further bypassing the little voice (and the growing pit in my stomach) that said, "No, no, no," focused instead on the dollar signs, and sent back an email, saying, "Of course I could do this!"
The next day, he sent me a sample to do to see if my work was up to snuff. By that time, however, a knot had settled in my chest as well as a slight feeling of panic. I had so much to do already. How could I possibly add one more thing to the pile? But then I thought that if this led to me being able to work from home, which is what I really aspire to do someday, it would be worth it, right?
Not so fast.
I'd overlooked two very crucial elements in all of this. First, I've been doing the freelance work I specialize in for more than eight years. I'm burned out. The thought of doing yet more of this type of work wasn't appealing, but the money was. I didn't heed my subconscious' whispers of warning.
Burn out was one thing. But then something else even more alarming roared to the forefront.
When would I have time to work on my novel?
It would get shoved even further behind my other commitments. I've already neglected it far too much. This would seal the deal. My dream of being a published novelist, the one I've held for so long, would be that much further out of reach.
I talked to my mom. I talked to my husband. I talked to my daughter. I emailed a few writing friends and asked for advice.In the end, though, the answer came to me loud and clear.
Just say no.
I sent the email to my contact this morning and apologized profusely for wasting his time.
The lesson learned is multi-faceted. One, money isn't everything. Yes, the pay was fantastic, but at what cost to my emotional (and physical considering all my health issues) health and happiness? At what cost to pursuing my passions? I'm trying to make a conscious effort to focus on those passions, not shove them in the closet. Two, it's best to listen to that small voice inside of us. Three, waiting a few days before sending off an impetuous email won't hurt a thing. In fact, it will help you save face later so you don't have to write an awkward apology email.
The bottom line...
Staying true to yourself is the best route to take. I can't tell you the relief I feel at having made this decision. There's a twinge of regret in there, too, because I keep thinking about that money I'm missing out on, and there's also guilt for having put my contact through the whole rigmarole of explaining their process to me. I hate inconveniencing people.
On the positive side, I am super excited to dive into my manuscript edits without this hanging over me. I have another article for America in WWII magazine that I can't wait to research, and a book under contract to write.
My blessings are absolutely bountiful. I'm so thankful to God for giving me all of these opportunities, and I thank Him for pulling me back when I was about ready to stretch myself too thin.
Wisdom. It is a good thing.
I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance! www.melissamarsh.net
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