Work of One’s Own

creative commons photo by blumpy
creative commons photo by blumpy

In the year-plus since I lost my job working on the Italy site (and was unsuccessful in buying the site), I’ve moved on to freelancing – something I never thought I’d tolerate very well, but that has turned out to be interesting and often fun. I’ve had Italy projects in the back of my mind throughout the past year, knowing I didn’t really have the ideal outlet for them any longer, and almost always defaulting to client work instead of rolling up my sleeves and digging into creating something of my own. It’s easier to spend hours on work, I reasoned, when you can bill someone else for that time.

Last month, however, I was reminded on two separate occasions that my Italy know-how is still valuable. At TBEX in Dublin, I was told by an experienced traveler that whenever he looks up information about Italy he still sees my old site first – and the information he finds there is still the best. And then out of the blue I received a message from a complete stranger via Facebook:

Hi Jessica,

While we don’t know each other, we have many Italy expat friends in common and I always enjoyed listening to your views via the Eye on Italy podcast. I have lived in Italy since 1996.

I miss your presence on the web, if that makes sense because we don’t even know each other! But you used to give great information and I liked your spot-on articles, which I often linked for friends. I am pretty sure that you no longer work for [that site].

I currently have friends in town from California and we were talking the other day. As they are expecting guests later this week who will be arriving via cruise ship, she was asking me some questions. Then she tells me that she found the best site, the best information…and it was yours!

So I just wanted to say hello and let you know that I hope things are going well for you in your life. I do follow you here on facebook and check your blog, but I have sensed your absence in the online world in recent months.

Warm regards,

I was so touched by Jill’s message, knowing that not only has she missed seeing my Italy articles but that her friend also mentioned my work. That message, combined with the comment from my fellow travel blogger at TBEX, have me thinking again about working on something that’s entirely my own. It’s a scary proposition, and I don’t really know where the time necessary is going to come from, but perhaps by saying it out loud here I’ll be more inclined to hold myself to it.

If you have suggestions on how to force yourself to carve out time to work on your own projects, I’d love to hear them.

Also, you may recall that I got a message from a reader not long after I lost my job last year. I just re-read it, and am now thinking about pasting both Cindy’s and Jill’s messages to my office wall as reminders to get to work.

2 comments on “Work of One’s Own

  1. Long time follower, possible first time commenter.

    Carving out time for My Own Stuff as a freelancer is, oh, I’ll just say it, really freakin’ hard. Thing is, bills to pay and all that. So it’s not so much that it’s easier to focus on paying work, it’s that it’s REQUIRED. No paychecks, no dough.

    That said, the times I’ve been most prolific on my own projects are when I set aside one hour first thing in the morning to work on them before I do anything else. Id you find your time that’s best for you to do that, then I betcha you move ahead. You treat it like a workout, almost, get it out of the way, and pretty soon, it’s part of your routine and not such a struggle.

    But like a workout, if you fall off schedule (and I do, repeatedly) you gotta get back in shape again and that sucks.

    1. 1. Your first sentence cracked me up. Well played.
      2. It amuses me that you wrote this on Christmas Day. Because, Jews.
      3. Agreed on the workout analogy. I’ve been off the schedule for so long now, the “getting back on track” task seems more daunting than it probably is.

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