Freelancing is a Walk of Faith
First in a series
November 2, 1987, fell on a Monday. The reason I remember that particular detail so well is it marked the first day after the loss of the last remaining retainer of my public relations business.
As if the stock market crash a couple of weeks earlier weren’t bad enough, just before the nosedive my client had exercised their right to end our agreement with a 30-day written notice. My partner and I hadn’t done much during October to earn our final check, but at least it was there to help pay rent and utilities.
When I came into my office on that historic Monday, I wasn’t sure what to do. Nor how I would survive. That fall more than one company that owed me anywhere from $900 to more than $4,000 had gone belly up—or let me know they didn’t have any money to pay their invoice.
Fortunately, I had eked out some modest extra income doing some freelance writing for several publications.
One connection happened quite unexpectedly. I had shown an associate in a Christian business organization a couple stories I had drafted in hopes of turning a collection into a book. On a trip, he had passed them on to the group’s publications editor, who expressed interest in using them.
I spent the first couple hours that Monday doing “busy work.” Things like cleaning out folders, rearranging the filing cabinet, and calling a couple friends to chat. Staring at the wall. Wondering when the butterflies would stop dancing through my stomach.
Suddenly, the phone rang. The assistant editor of the magazine that had purchased those two stories wanted to talk about a sudden change of direction dictated by the board of directors.
Since the organization’s annual convention that year was in Toronto, they had decided all the stories in their publication the month of the meeting should feature men who lived in Canada.
This sudden shift meant the editorial staff had to scramble to produce five new stories in about 10 days. They had covered a couple, but the editor who called wanted to know if I could write three of them.
She had some background on two men that she said could overnight to me (no email then), but it was likely I would have to interview all three. Plus, I would need to get them done in one week.
“Well,” I said, with a smile on my face, “I’m not doing anything else right now.”
Normally, that kind of intense deadline would have bothered me. But not in this instance. I spent the whole week calling those men, collecting details on their experiences, and then ghostwriting their stories.
I felt very little pressure. Instead, I enjoyed being able to write about things I was interested in, and earn some desperately needed money to boot.
That also sparked an ongoing connection with this publication. I wound up writing for them for about nine years before the organization fell on hard times and stopped sending assignments.
However, as I look back over the past 35 years, I marvel at how the Lord has provided work and income in what I can only describe as a walk of faith.
It takes faith to be a freelancer when one has no cash reserves, no line of credit, and no idea where the work will come from.
Second Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” It’s not easy wondering how things will turn out. But, inevitably despite some gut-wrenching moments along the way, they always do.