If you have the opportunity to do something you want to, but it scares you, do it – especially if it scares you.
This is the kind of advice you frequently find on the internet (and increasingly from annoying Facebook posts/links…). In general I think it’s probably right.
Get out of the house, do something different, try a new sport/activity/food whatever. It’ll be good for you.
It can be some bloody scary magic…
But how does it feel actually doing it?
As you may know if you’ve been here before, a few months back I officially finished (resigned) working at Mega Corp., and decided to live off of the “fat” I’d managed to accumulate in my time there, and began trying to ‘get a foot in the door’ as some kind of freelance science writer. I knew this was never going to be easy – there’s too many good writers already out there for a start.
I didn’t get right into finding stories, writing and pitching after I finished work, largely as there was another fairly life changing event around the same time.
I’ll not go into details too much here, but let’s just say it involves – like all good stories – having met a girl I find amazing (and who seems similarly keen on me: presumably indicative of some kind of hidden mental instability*). One problem though: she’s just moved back home to Canada to start her PhD.
So, I spent nearly a month over there with her, and will be going back again soon for a month or two. In and of itself, this shouldn’t be detrimental to getting some writing done and some articles pitched.
I have managed to get a lead on a few interesting stories, and have made one pitch, which was very graciously knocked back, with a “we liked the idea, though it’s not really for us, but do please keep them coming.”
Don’t worry. I will. And better.
I also got my website/blog built, finalised and live for the actual science writing, once written, which you can find here. Sciencehubb.co.uk – geddit? Not too much there right now, a couple of bits from my uni MSc and one newer one from the other day.
What else have I been up to?
Well, helping to try and organise some kind of science writing course with a group of folks from Oxford Uni and – anxiously – looking at how I can get over to Canada more permanently, which has taken up a fair bit of my time. Time I will gladly spend trying to make it work. But it does eat into some of that “fat” I had ready to keep me fed, housed and clothed, shortening how long it will be there. It’s worth it though.
The good news is that under the current immigration system I score enough points (just) to be admitted. The bad news is they stopped receiving applications in July, pending a revised system. Something tells me this will probably work against me. Fucksocks again.
This shift in priorities worries me. Moving to Canada is a priority, and I wouldn’t have it any other way; but it does conflict with my previous plans if I can’t get ‘permanent residence’ status.
The fact I don’t have a regular desk/lab bench job anymore is awesome as it gives me the flexibility to be able to shoot off Canada for a few months at a time (where I can at least still find stories and write), but, at the same time, I’m not bringing in any money myself yet. And I don’t know when, or how much I will be able to.
This puts an increasing pressure on me to somehow make money from this enterprise of being a science writer. This was never going to be easy, nor offer short-term to financial stability. I am finding this kinda stressful at the moment; when no one even knows my name right now, and with little written material ‘out there’.
So, immediate plans are thus:
- Keep an eye out for new/proposed Canadian immigration rules (game changer)
- Write, write, and write
- Read, read and read
- Find as many places to pitch to as possible
- Get clippings wherever and whenever I can to show to editors
And that is what’s going on right now. If you have any advice, please let me have it, otherwise, just cross your fingers for me…
*Sorry if you’re reading this. I have the utmost confidence you are sane.