with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
I have two things to mention today, and they’re really not related, but you’re going to just go with it because you’re cool that way. First off, let’s start with the illusion—here I’m speaking of that whole illusion of how writing must be so easy that everyone can do it, and/or there’s a “trick” to breaking in, after which, everything is cake.
Someone on a writers’ list I belong to sent along a link to this piece by Paul Boutin on the “easy steps” to coasting to a writing career. Now, Boutin is kidding. I mean, I’m sure he’s kidding. But you need to go read it.
The reason that piece is so brilliant is because it somehow encapsulates both how ridiculous it is for people to assume there’s some magical formula, and some chuckle-worthy tips that are actually true. I especially like these two:
- Setting up a blog is optional. It could be a good place to showcase your talent, or a scary place to document your lack thereof. Think before you post.
- AVOID: Blogger ego. If you do blog, just write and forget about it. Don’t reply to your comments with more than “Good point, h8rboi, thanks.” Don’t troll other bloggers for links, or try to get onto Techmeme by posting about whatever’s already there. NEVER try to win a fight with Dave Winer. People in the real media don’t care what your Technorati rank is, they’ll just Google you to see what you write.
Okay, fine. It’s possible I have the teensiest, weensiest crush on Paul Boutin. You caught me.
Anyway, I think the next time that someone comes to me wanting to know “how I do it” or “how can I get started,” I’m going to just direct them at that piece. Hey, everything you need to know is right there. Heh.
Okay, so the other topic I wanted to touch on was this: Remember back when I said that I was getting ready to visit an accountant and figure out my tax situation? I bet you thought I was never going to come back to that. Surprise! Actually, it was just one of those scheduling things where first one of us had to cancel, then the other, and so on and so forth and finally I went in with my taxes and my receipts and my invoices and we sat down and hashed it out.
For two hours.
And in conclusion, allow me to just say, “OUCH.”
Hey, I knew it was coming. But not having paid my taxes quarterly this year (I’m stupid, I know; no need to remind me) on the assumption that not having owed, last year, meant I wouldn’t incur any penalties, was especially idiotic. There will be penalties. Oh, yes. And when you already owe a big hunk of money, penalties on top of it are not exactly the icing on the cake so much as the bird poop on your shoe that just stepped in something gross. (You’re welcome.)
The reality is that this year I thought I did really great, financially, but as soon as I realized that I was going to be earning a living wage for a change, I should’ve figured out the tax stuff right then. Live and learn. I’ll be making my estimated payments next year, needless to say. (Yet another reason to miss the corporate world: Hey, didn’t someone else used to pay some of that money for me…?)
And when all is said and done, my “really great” year ends up being… not bad. Not great, but still not bad. Looking at the tax stuff still made me want to curl up in the fetal position in the accountant’s office, though. Just another perk of freelancing! It’s a glamorous life, but somebody’s gotta live it!
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