What do I want? Aside from world peace, a self-cleaning house, and children just one notch below "Stepford," I want to do two things:
1. I want to be paid for my writing
2. I want to be paid for my knitting and crocheting
I am forty-five years old. Why have I not yet found a way to make either of these things happen?
1. I have never submitted any of my writing to any market. I don't even own a copy of the current (or any year's) Writer's Market...yet.
2. I have never offered any pieces of my work for sale. I don't even have an Etsy account...yet.
Okay, but WHY haven't I done these things? The reasons behind my procrastination in selling my knitting and crocheting seem more legitimate to me than the reasons behind my procrastination in submitting writing pieces.
Right now, of the three projects I am currently working on in my knitting, two of them are already going to specific people. The other, a "crochet-a-long" afghan will most likely not be for sale as I tend to want to keep afghan's I've made unless they were intended for a specific person. So really, I don't have anything available for sale. I already feel like if I'm not writing, then I'm knitting or crocheting, so I don't feel like I have much extra time to make things to sell until I have these other projects out of the way.
I also have fears. What if I make some things to sell, and then I end up with more orders than I can handle in a timely fashion? I don't want to be thought of as irresponsible or flaky. There are people who design their own patterns, and then only sell the patterns rather than the actual item. Great idea, only, I tend to work from the patterns of others. While I have designed my own knit and crochet projects, I have yet to actually write them down. I tend to design as I go.
For my writing, I have similar fears. What if they ask me to write about something, and I just don't feel I can even manage to do the required research --or worse, say that I can do it, thinking, sure, why not? I can research anything! Only to discover that I cannot, in fact, research everything.
I've been working on my Linkedin.com profile. I can only choose one industry. Arts and Crafts, or Writing and Editing. Which do I choose? I ended up choosing "Arts and Crafts." I feel like it makes me sound like I'm a summer camp counselor. Of the two choices, I thought Arts and Crafts actually covered both areas. There is no question that is covers knitting and crocheting; but it also covers writing. Writing is an art. Writing is a craft. Had I chosen Writing and Editing, I would have felt as though I was misrepresenting myself. I am not offering my services as editor. While, sure I could help with some basic editing, so could pretty much anyone else who has a competent grasp of the English language.
I also tend have this inferiority complex about not having a bachelor's degree. I have this imaginary conversation with imaginary people who are looking at my profile. What if I put Writing and Editing instead of Arts and Crafts? The imaginary conversation goes something like this:
Educated Person: It appears you are offering your services as a writer and an editor. Is this true.
Me: Uh, sure!
EP: What are your qualifications as a writer? Have you published anything?
Me: I haven't sent anything out to publications, but not only do I have a blog, a friend of mine, who also happens to be a published author, lets me guest post twice a month on her blog about living with intensity of Gifted and Twice Exceptional children.
EP: Oh. So you are a blogger. Well, isn't that precious.
Me: Um? (continuing in spite of the veiled insult): In addition to that, for over ten years I have been an active member of an online writing group, where we take turns posting writing prompts every day and then we have the option of writing to these prompts and posting what we write.
EP: Is this a critique group?
Me: Not exactly. It's more of a morale group for writers.
EP: (flatly) Oh, well, good, because there is such a shortage of groups where writers all go and tell each other how great their writing is.
Me: There is? Oh. Well, if you want a serious critique from this group, you can ask for one.
EP: And there is someone in the group who is qualified to seriously critique your writing?
Me: No idea.
EP: Now, what about editing? Are you offering your services as an editor?
Me: I think I have a strong enough grasp of the English language to do some editing work.
EP: Have you ever done any editing?
Me: I edit my own work. I have edited some of my kids' school assignments, and they both managed to graduate high school. I earned and A.S. degree in Paralegal studies, with straight A's....Oh never mind. How would you like a nice hat or a scarf?