After weeks of trying to bid on several different contracts, ranging from writing blog posts to editing academic work to simply entering data into an Excel spreadsheet, I managed to net my first contract via Freelancer.com yesterday. The pay is insignificant. The material I’m writing about has been vastly out of my interests and comfort zone. It is the definition of a job that would not support a human life. And yet, I am enjoying it so far.
Despite all of my bidding on Freelancer, the contracts I was interested in were always being given to other freelancers – those with online reputation, a portfolio expanding years, and several hundred reviews on their profile from jobs that they had completed in the past. Strangely enough, my first contract came not from something that I had bid on, but simply from someone looking at my profile, liking what they saw, and contacting me directly.
I am now a member of the freelance writing caste. I am currently at the bottom rung, below even people who write obituaries in the newspaper. I am unsure where I rank compared to several hundred monkeys chained to typewriters. But I am here, and I am proud that I have my first paying gig. I may have written three articles and still only effectively paid for a meal at McDonald’s, but I can only go upward from this point. Some day I might write for a big audience at a major-name publishing house or firm or brand or whatever. Today I wrote about the dangers of low-cost moving, lean manufacturing principles before ending my productive day with a content pushing email designed for doctors. I may not have written literary masterworks, but I wrote something and got paid money for it.
Well, I will, when I have completed 10 articles. The current model for my payment is that I complete ten articles before my wonderful German employer will pay me. That may give you an idea as to how insignificant the money that I am earning my pecking frantically at my keyboard, trying to dig out the words that I need to get out into the digital world. I am genuinely worried that I will produce 10 articles, the employer will not pay me, and then I will promptly curse loudly into the night, before trying once more to find a job. However, the employer does have a well-reviewed profile on Freelancer, so this is hopefully unlikely. There is still fear lurking in the back of my mind though, like a cat scratching at the crack of a cupboard it wants to get into and ransack.
All of this writing was made possible by the glorious fact that today is a public holiday in Korea: Hangul Day. I find it quite fitting that I spend the day that Korea spends celebrating inventing its own form of writing putting my own digital pen to digital paper, honing my craft and hopefully getting paid at some point in the near future. I even had some extra time on the side to write some more, both for GosuGamers and this post. While I wouldn’t say I’m gaining writing momentum, it’s certainly getting easier to sit down in front of a screen most commonly used for delving into imaginary worlds of light, sound, and sensation and simply type away.
The rest of the coming weekend is filled with activities away from our humble home, so I am glad that today I managed to produce what I have. I have learned things about industries I had not cared to think much about before today. I am sure that I will learn a whole lot more in the coming months. And I can’t wait for every less-than-minimum-wage moment of it.