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durham writerA little after 5PM on this day three years ago, I left my then-employer’s building for the last time. I didn’t have to spend the next day saddled up in the corporate cube. I didn’t have to squeeze in interviews with experts for magazine articles on my lunch breaks anymore. I didn’t have to limit my writing abilities for one company, I could help dozens of other businesses grow.

I’ve written about my resignation before and how my writing business has evolved, but with each passing year it feels so far away that it could have been someone else’s life. I remember the pain of feigning interest during unproductive office meetings that could have been streamlined and structured with a purpose. I remember losing my appetite when parking my car before work and the weight of another 9-to-5 hung ahead like a continuously waxing moon, always seeming to grow bigger and I felt stuck in orbit. I remember thinking how logical it would be if I could create my own hours and an income around my writing skills, but not having any idea how it could be possible—or if it was possible.

Now that I’ve been freelancing for three years I have to remind myself of how things used to be. In the words of the Talking Heads: How did I get here? Even though it’s been three years of freelancing, here’s an ultra-brief look back at the last 10 years of my life in writing:

2003 – Graduated high school? Yes, I finished a year at Johnson & Wales University where I completed my freshman and sophomore years of college before graduating high school. Published my first piece in the Providence Journal. Decided to transfer colleges and change majors. Switched from a major in Advertising Communications and minors in Career Writing and Literature, to Cinema and Cultural Studies at Stony Brook University. I was determined to be a screenwriter.

2004 – Wrote film reviews and social commentary for the Stony Brook Press.

2005 – What turned out to be my first foray into freelancing included writing other students’ papers for them. Graduated with a plan to move to Los Angeles and write movies, but accepted a marketing job on Long Island instead.

2006 – Writer’s block! Only wrote ad copy for work.

2007 – Left Long Island and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina where I joined a half dozen writing critique groups. Worked in marketing yet again.

2008 – A mix of writer’s block and personal life obligations prevented me from writing professionally. Crafted a dozen interconnected short stories. Left one marketing job for another marketing job.

2009 – Randomly discovered this book about freelancing that provided the answers to the questions I had about making a life around writing. Published my first paid article. Accepted into the Southampton Writers Conference and spent 11 days in a workshop with author Melissa Bank. Launched my writer website.

2010 – Resigned from my job. Organized Raleigh’s first-ever poetry on demand booth. Self-published my first book. Published a lot of poetry.

2011 – Published a lot of magazine articles. Launched this blog!

2012 – Ghostwrote over 650 blogs for a dozen different organizations.

2013 – Well, here I am.

And here you are, somewhere on your own writing journey. How’s it going?