Saturday, June 4, 2011

Today's fortune: June 4, 2011

Today's fortune: You will be successful in a business of your own.

In an episode of "The Office" (American version - sorry, purists), Michael Scott loses his job as regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. He decides to start his own business... another paper company. The Michael Scott Paper Company.

So since I work as a widget maker for Acme Co., it would make sense that my new business should be the Matt Kelsey Widget Emporium.

The problem is, I'd like to keep my salary and my benefits, and I don't think Acme would let me run a competing company while on their payroll. So widget making as a business of my own is off the table.

Besides widget making, the only thing I'm really good at - and the only thing at which I have been able to make a living - is writing. I survived on my writing and editing skills as a journalist at a variety of newspapers spanning a 10-year career.

It's weird, though - I loved my time as a journalist, and I think I got pretty good at it, but I don't think I could ever see myself working at a newspaper again. That was a huge part of my life for a decade. But now that phase has passed. Starting up or running my own newspaper is out.

However, my absolute dream job would be to make a living as a writer outside the field of journalism. I want to be my own boss, keep to my own hours, and go to work under my own roof in my pajamas.

Or, hell, even a Snuggie.

I've tried this once or twice before. Every time I find myself unemployed, I call myself a freelance writer. Since I've found myself unemployed several times, I got pretty good at it, and even made some money - but not enough to support myself. I wrote numerous press releases, penned some advertising copy for a local chain of body shops (an easy fifty bucks and, surprisingly, some of the best writing I've ever done), and a couple years ago I even made a little dough writing for political candidates, including the mayor of a major local city. After those gigs I changed my title from "freelance writer" to the much more prestigious-sounding "public relations consultant." Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

To make writing a viable full-time job, though, I'd have to do more than just press releases. I would have to successfully sell fiction. That is, novels and short stories. I have a finished novel in the holster, but I haven't had the time to edit it properly or pitch it to literary agents.

But I need to make a commitment to find time for that. If I were to sell a novel - why, so many doors would open. Life as a freelance writer - ahem, "public relations consultant" - would become much more plausible.

Note: I've been posting melodramatic music on this blog all week, so I decided to post one more to wrap up the week. This selection was inspired by a movie on cable last night. I think this song is beautiful. And yes, that's Clint singing at the beginning: