The Truth About Writing Mobility

You guys are probably wondering where the Hell I’ve been the last few months, or, hey, maybe you’re just wondering who the Hell I am since you’ve seen thousands of pieces of Internet content since the last time I published.  Either way, I’m back and that’s sort of what this is about.  Since I became a freelance writer, I was told that one of the biggest perks is the mobility of our particular career field.

I know you’ve seen the advertisements for “writing institutes” and “training programs” that claim you can work from the beach.  I’m here to tell you, after moving about 500 miles from Missouri to Texas, that it’s a lot more complicated than all of that.  Unless you’re a penniless lech, that is.  I guess penniless leches can just sort of toss their laptop in a bag and be off.  But I’m a full fledged adult with bills and property and shit.

From Middle West to Old West

We knew we would be moving to Texas ASAP from the moment my husband took the job in Fort Worth.  He left home on November 13, 2016 and I stayed behind to pack and clean and sell and organize.  As it turns out, even a 1,500 square foot house can be really packed full of shit.  I literally was down to the wire, even though I had three months to do this task and worked on it almost daily.  The problem, it would seem, is that I still had clients and work due and deadlines and all of that razzmatazz.

I was over-extended, even though I had severely shrunk my client base.  I used to keep about 10 on board at any given time, by the time I was packing I was at two and an occasional small gig.  It should have been easy, but as it turns out, not sleeping is really hard on your entire life.  I’ll get back around to that in a separate blog.

Tips for Moving Your Writing to the Beach

That whole working from the beach thing, though; after this move, it’s laughable in a big way.  I mean, I always thought it was bullshit, but now…  Juggling your client load with packing and all of that, it’s an incredible job.  An incredible, scary, awful job.  IF you survive it, it still won’t be the paradise you’ve imagined right away.

Obviously you can be a freelancer and relocate to the beach or the hills or the grasslands or the lakeside or whatever floats your fucking boat, but it’s not easy peasy.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  But if you want to give it a go, I have these magnificent tips based on my recent experience.

#1. Recruit help.  You’re going to need help.  Don’t try to do this alone.  Make friends where you’re going, make friends where you are.  Let them help you find housing, let them help you get rid of junk, let them throw things in boxes.  In short, get help often and don’t turn down any offers.  If you’re in the predicament I was in, where my dogs aren’t really fond of visitors, find another way to let people help.  They want to, they really do, so let them support you while you’re falling apart.  You’ll find yourself rocking back and forth in a corner weeping at some point.

#2. Be honest with your clients.  Tell them that you need to cut back projects until your move is completed.  Be honest and realistic with delivery dates.  Give yourself a wide berth, expect that everything you write will take twice as long as normal.  You’re about to become the worst version of your professional self because of the whole pulling yourself apart thing.  I focused my efforts on two clients that I’ve had for years and I let the rest go.  I figured I could rebuild again later.

#3. Prepare to suck a lot for a while.  The thing about moving long distance that most people don’t realize is that it really does fuck with your reality.  It pulls you apart emotionally and starts to chip away at your sanity.  Even if you’re excited about moving, it still means leaving something behind and we as humans just aren’t that great at letting go of the familiar.  You’re going to lose a lot of sleep, which in turn is going to make you write like shit.  Take your time, edit carefully, try to make yourself presentable as you go.  Don’t take on too much, you suck right now…

#4. Find the words again.  How long it takes to recover from the shock of moving and so much new stuff varies from person to person, but I’m about five weeks out from my moving day as of the writing of this blog and I’m JUST NOW sleeping properly.  I’ve been unable to sleep since November.  But now that I am sleeping, the words are starting to come again.  I’m getting better at seeing through the fog.  I’m getting my organizational systems back in place.  Things are finally clicking again.

It’s not impossible to relocate your writing business, but please don’t let those damn shyster bastards trick you into thinking it’s an easy process.  It’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do, short of shooting a watermelon out of your nostril without an epidural.

Set your jaw.  Grit your teeth.  Get organized.  Don’t expect too much.

Now off with you, fucker.  There’s work to do!