Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Down to Brass Tacks... and They're Melting Down, Too

The oddest thing is happening. I've finally proven to myself (and anyone else who's paying attention, but most of them knew it long before I could see it for myself) that I'm a very gifted and competent writer and I feel utterly convinced that writing is my only real gift and destiny. Nothing else interests me, or ever has, as much as writing does.

My clients are tickled pink, I'm getting repeat business as often as not, and yet... and yet... I'm not making enough money to keep my head above water! I don't have enough clients yet, and the ones who are repeat clients come and go. I can't configure a budget around them...

This is probably very understandable in this downtrodden economy, so I've been applying for part time jobs to supplement what I'm making as a writer. But none of the jobs I've applied for (and there have been literally dozens) are falling to me. I don't know if it's because I'm 58, if it's because I'm over-qualified and am trying for jobs that are entry level or slightly above (because I really don't want to get into a big rat race wherever I do go; I want to have enough energy left over at the end of the half day to be able to write for another six or more hours and keep growing my business and clientele).

I don't want to get full-time work because that would wipe me out for sure and leave very little energy for freelancing at Elance (which is where I make the best money hourly and where I find the most enthusiasm and job satisfaction).

Even so, I have applied for full-time positions because let's face it, at some point (very, very soon, if things don't turn around) I am going to have to take whatever is offered me (if anything ever is offered me again in my whole life!) in order to be able to pay my share of the mortgage and utilities.

And I ponder and I ponder... Why should a competent writer have to scramble to make ends meet in this day and age? What am I missing? What am I not doing that I should be doing?

It's hard to understand why God would give me a gift that I simply must use in order to feel truly alive, and yet deny me the income I need to make a go of it. It isn't like I need gazillions. I work from home; don't even need a car unless I do find a part time or full time job elsewhere.

I just need "enough," and to me enough is just what it takes to keep food on the table and my mortgage and health and life insurance paid, plus a few incidentals that don't add up to much at all: cat and guinea pig food, utilities, a phone, the occasional stamp...

I mean, I'm about the easiest person to support that I know! I don't go out, or spend frivolously, I don't drink or smoke or do drugs, so the budget I do have is bare bones -- there isn't much to throw overboard to lighten the load unless I find homes for my pets... and come on, that's something I really am loathe to do! I committed to them for their lifetimes when I adopted them as kittens. They're 13 already. And who's gonna take two geriatric cats, even if I do decide I have to give them up?

I dunno. It doesn't seem fair. But most writers and artists die pretty broke, so I guess I'm in lots of good company. Their talents are often discovered after they're dead, when what they created no longer can serve them financially.

I would really like to avoid that outcome, if I can! Ya know?

So I just keep on bidding on projects... keep on applying for part time jobs... keep on wondering when this test is going to end and God is going to decide I'm not giving up on Him no matter what.

I hope He really does know that. I know what Job knew: God is in control and has my back and my absolute best interests at heart. He knows what's He's doing with me. I just wish I could take a look at HIs calendar and find out what it is! I might be able to plan better..

Then again, maybe it's best that I don't know. (I reckon it is, or I would have been told, or figured it out, by now!)

He's my best friend.

As utterly broke as I am, I am not panicked or frantic. Now, that is the promised "peace that passes all understanding." That is God. Because the human/fleshly being that is Kris Smith would be a freakin' basket case if it were not for her deep-seated faith.

It utterly astounds me how I can be thisclose to financial ruin and still feel as calm and as balanced as I do...

Praise God for that -- because I'm doing absolutely everything I can to make things better, and nothing seems to be pulling me out of the tailspin.

It's a pickle.

"Though He slay me, yet will I believe!"

Please keep me in your prayers. They're obviously helping me cope!


Chrystabel said...


Have you ever considered teaching? You could teach writing at the community college or adult continuing ed. courses. I know they would love your humor and spirit and the fact that you are a published author! If you ever want to give it a whirl, I offer my classroom as a lab.


Carl Rylander said...

It's not fair that writers have to work full-time as well, Kristine.

Just keep going. You might find a highpowered parttime job!

Kristine M Smith said...

Thanks, Carl. Your good wishes and support mean a lot to me!

And Amy...I'd love to hear more about what you know about getting a part-time job at a CC or adult education class...This idea is very intriguing!