Where have I been this time?

I explain—or maybe excuse—my recent absence with this explanation:

Over the past two years, four events have caused a distraction in my life: the death of my father, relocating from Orlando back to Raleigh, returning to more-than-full-time work at the state Museum of History, and disappointing a major client. Along the way, I’m afraid I also lost my motivation to write.

The shocking change

My father passed away unexpectedly during the holiday season two years ago. Like most—at least, I think most—fathers and sons, we had a sometimes-rocky relationship. But, my father did always support my freelance endeavors: first, Freelance Library Services; then, the evolution of that business into the-freelance-editor. His first gesture of support: buying me a hard-sided briefcase with gold latches and a lock, because the stack of folders and drafts that I carried to meetings was “not very professional looking”—yes, that was back in the days when writers and editors still carried around pounds and pounds of binder-clipped paperwork and accordion files instead of computers and flash drives; but, I digress (with a smile).

Years after I moved to Orlando, he decided to start wintering near Frostproof, about an hour away, and we visited frequently. Among other topics, he always asked about my business, and we bonded over discussions of writing, family history, the general business climate, and technology. More than he ever realized (and more than I realized at the time), he was an inspiration for many of my career dreams, as well as a motivation for my efforts. When he passed away, I missed that support more than I ever expected I would.


Moving on . . . my relocation in early 2013, was a pleasant experience but I still gave the change license to block my writing.

During my first experience at the museum, in the 1990s, I fell in love with the process of writing, researching, rewriting, and refining words and concepts—and with working in teams of subject specialists and experts, educators, readers and reviewers, and designers to create and package a product to be the best possible. While that passion was one of the many attractions that encouraged my return, over the years of my absence, budget cuts, staff losses, and poor management had come to impede that process. The remaining staff continues to turn out the best product it can, but the intensity of long hours and multiple frustrations and roadblocks along the way took its toll—and affected my after-hours creativity and drive.


Which leads directly into my final reason for disappearing. For the first time in my professional career, I failed a client. I entered the project with all the right intentions and I persisted with the project because of a passion that the author and I shared . . . but, then, I stayed with the project far longer than I should have because I didn’t want to renege on promises made and established, on the author’s dreams, and on my own expectations. In the end, I had to back out of the project because I came to realize I could not have met the project’s deadline—and I disappointed my client because I left him with few options and too little time to make alternate arrangements.

That was the final blow to my motivation and I’ve done nothing with my business since.


Now, however, I’m edging back to a revival—probably not a return to working with clients with large projects, yet (I’m still way too skittish for that), but at least a return to some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of running a business in this century. At least I’m getting to the point where I want to start again. And, that’s a good first step, I think . . .

Thanks for your support and, I hope, your understanding.

Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
e-mail: editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
text: 832-233-0041

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