I am pretty good at tuning things out. I’ve marched to the beat of my own drum on this blog for more than half a decade, disregarding traditional blogging advice in favor of doing what feels right. And what I can fit into my day. The same is pretty much true for the rest of my life as well. I struggle with a lot of things, but imposter syndrome isn’t one of them.
Or it wasn’t.
Until I learned I was nominated for a Plutus Award. Not for my blog which has been rather cob web-y as of late, but for freelancing.
At that exact moment, I became a living, breathing version of the Christine Baranski dramatic faint GIF.
The category was absolutely stacked with my writing idols. (Full disclosure: I’m too shy to even talk to some of them on Twitter. I probably would faint if I was attending the awards in real life this year.) So my initial reaction was to chalk it up to a fluke or an act of charity. “Poor girl can’t maintain a blog, but hey–she writes some things!”
But then I realized that even though I am not in the same league as the other writers, we are, in a way, colleagues. I’m a teacher by trade and a blogger for fun, and maybe, just maybe, I’m also a professional writer.
Part of the time anyway.
It’s Good to Grow
Writing started as a passion project, not a side hustle. I tutored as a side gig before falling into reselling with Poshmark. That was how I made extra dollars when I really needed it and wanted it since I was just getting my teaching career up and running. Writing, though, that was just supposed to be something for me.
That writing started with a semi anonymous blog, which slowly evolved into some ghost writing opportunities. If I’m not looking for a byline on my own site, it makes sense that I wouldn’t need one on someone else’s. Eventually, I got offers from different places to write under my pen name (thanks, Vice!) and my real name (ha! I’m not that bad at being anonymous — no links for you!).
Slowly but most surely, my writing grew from a hobby to something that knocks on the door of full time income. I firmly believe that none of that growth would have taken place had I not learned to lurk and interact with so many blogger buddies and personal finance writers online. See, there is a point to all that time I spend on Twitter!
Community, Not Competition
Speaking of Twitter…
There is never a shortage of people, brands, or businesses who need writers. That’s one of my favorite things about freelancing and ghost writing. Not only are the opportunities always out there, but it means that you don’t have to look at other writers as your competition. Instead, it’s this really talented community of people, and I suspect that’s why I’m so drawn to it.
It feels very reminiscent of my beloved undergrad news room. A whole cast of characters with different talents, approaches, angles, and insights researching and writing about a variety of topics to thread together this tapestry of thought and information.
Or maybe it’s just knowing that so many of us are under such a time crunch all the time and finding solidarity in that. There ain’t no hustle quite like a “shoot, my deadline is in three hours” hustle.
Yeah, Dad, Maybe I Am A Professional
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I love to write. Ever since I was little, my dad would ask when I was going to write a book. “When are you going to write a book so I can retire?” Well, his retirement celebration has come and gone. There’s no book. But there’s a blog and hundreds of articles all over the interwebs–some with and a lot without my name on them.
Perhaps it’s because I don’t write as my full-time gig or perhaps it’s actually because of imposter syndrome, I don’t think of myself as a professional writer.
But I’ve got paychecks and now a Plutus nod that say otherwise. And I’m so incredibly grateful.
So Tell Me…Has imposter syndrome ever surprised you? Has the growth of your side hustle surprised you?