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Book of Jobs Part 3

FREELANCE = FREEDOM

by Chris Auman

Since 1993, I have been writing at least something that was published somewhere. I created most of the content for 20 issues of this zine, interviewed and wrote articles for the Illinois Entertainer, rock show reviews for the Chicago Tribune and concert listings and venue reviews for websites (remember CitySearch and Centerstage? They’re still around.).

Since the Internet has killed many once decent-paying writing jobs, I have taken every ridiculous writing gig you could imagine. I’ve been “passionate” about every boring subject conceivable for less than two cents per word. I have written reviews for products I’ve never tried (that’s most product reviews people, skip the 5-star review and go to the 1-stars, those are the only real ones). I’ve written for content farms and writers mills. I’ve cranked out product descriptions, trivia questions, apartment ads and blog posts for roofing contractors, dentists and stamp collectors. I’ve been paid a hundred bucks to write e-books with assigned titles like I’m Never Drinking Again! Reluctant Musings of an Alcoholic College Valedictorian and Strength Training For Fat Loss: Little Known Secrets For Muscle Building and Fat Burning. I churned out press releases for a PR company in L.A. that ended up paying less than McDonald’s when you factor in the time versus pay. I’m past that now, but it has been a struggle. Freelancing is a hustle simple and plain. Now I write about the retail produce and industries and blog about Chevys, Mazdas and Toyotas, even though I’ve never owned a car.

I work from home now. No obnoxious coworkers, no long commute, no soul-sapping drudgery. I set my own hours and two-hour lunch breaks are routine. I am a slave to deadlines, but I’m used to that now. I like deadlines. It’s how shit gets done. I don’t know if I’ll ever work for someone else again. Who knows, I might even be back in the restaurant industry some day. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the huevos? Surely it would.

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Originally published in RW#24, 2014

RW #24

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