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ASK MERRILY/Job or Freelance?

Merrily Preston
By Merrily Preston
Posted on Jun 16,2010
Filed Under Personal Development , Opinions,

Photo by FLICKR/library_of_congress/4483939447/
Photo by FLICKR/library_of_congress/4483939447/

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Tomorrow I will visit the staff of a newspaper where I have applied to be the editor. I am terrified and in a tizzy over what to do if they make an offer. If I sense that it is wrong, I hope I can find the courage to say no. After leaving my job of 20 years as an editor and columnist, I am now volunteering at a spiritual retreat and writing on weekends, which feels right to the depths of my soul. I love my volunteer work, but earning a paycheck is a necessity too, and this job could land in my lap. I have already completed two chapters of a travel book and part of a novel in addition to working on freelance assignments. The writing just pours out of me. I met a writer here who told me how important it is to be true to myself, to devote time to my writing and consider living on freelance work. She said to think outside the box. Can you help?
Dear Outside-the-Box,
After receiving the offer, tell them you will take a few days to consider it. You don’t have to answer on the spot. Sit with the offer long enough to know whether it’s right for you. Please don’t make a decision based on fear or need of a paycheck.
In thinking outside the box, you will realize that earning a paycheck from a job is only one way to receive income. The paycheck can be generated from your own work. Earnings from your writing can be deposited into an account from which you regularly pay yourself.
Take to heart the words of the writer you met who said, ‘be true to yourself.’ And heed your own words, ‘I am . . . writing, which feels right to the depths of my soul.’

If you intend to earn your keep as an author, isn't it time to commit to this path?
Merrily Preston is an Intentional Life Facilitator, who lives in Woodbridge. Her column is exclusive to Local Kicks in Alexandria, VA. Email questions to, or use online form at

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