Entries in freelance (4)


What happens when your plans change?

A couple have friends have commented to me recently that they've been missing this blog.

I admitted to them that I do, too.

But here's the truth: a few things have happened over the past year that have speedbumped me, in a way. And I've been bashful about bringing it here.

Last spring, I moved to Paris for three months with an idea to come back to States refreshed and reinvigorated about living in New York City. I hoped that a set of guidelines I created--dubbed "The Paris Plan"--would put me on the right path toward appreciating my own city again.

That plan didn't pan out as I'd hoped.

Instead, those 15 rules of mine--which included a 9th about "not forgetting the men"--managed to send me back to Paris again. And again. Also again. And will do again this summer. Because I played by my rules, and didn't ignore the guy thing, I met one. A French one, in fact. And now I am finding myself in Paris part-time.

It's weird and awesome. I am smiling a lot. And I don't want to go into the details, since it's a private/personal thing. (I knooooow. But you get it.) Yet I also don't want to avoid writing here, because if you follow me elsewhere--on Instagram, for instance--it's clear, but probably confusing, that I am not in New York all the time.

So I had to say something. Moving forward, I want to say even more--specifically about the challenges and opportunities I am finding shuttling between two countries. I've learned so much about myself and how to conduct my freelance business in the last year. I've become a better traveler. I am paring down the things I own to make space for flexibility. I beginning to learn French. I am learning to cook in a foreign kitchen. I'm just--learning. Open to things. Realizing there's more. In a great place. Or places, that is.

My goal is to be here on a more regular basis and to share a bit of what's up. So you start dropping by a bit more often, too, okay? And let me know if you're ever in NYC or Paris. We can grab a bite or a beverage--I've now got a few decent coffee shops and restaurants we can scope out in the City of Light, and I'll always know where to go in the City That Never Sleeps. Plus, if there's cocktails involved, maybe I'll even give you the dish on my dude. ;)


Monday on the Menu Board

In this life, a day is a day is a day. Almost missed this one!


Balancing Acts

One thing I considered when deciding to go freelance was that I would get additional chances to take off during a workday and hit events and exhibits that need coverage on one of the (now many) blogs I work for. I saw it as a way to do more of the things I love: take in a museum or different part of the city, fill my brain with some new knowledge, shoot a few pics here and there. And now I'm doing it. But it's never quite as glamorous as it seems like it should be. [I only use "glamorous" because that's the adjective I keep hearing from people when I tell them what I do now. I do not know the correct descriptor yet, but I do know that "glamorous" is not the first one that springs to mind.] There's a lot of planning ahead, especially when it comes to making sure that the projects needing immediate attention are taken care of (always the case when you've got daily blog deadlines). And like anything in life, sometimes you plan something, then another thing comes along last minute, and you simply have to readjust. It's nothing different than I've done before, really; but, it's still a constant challenge to make sure everything is balanced just so. I am trying to learn, now more than ever, to just give myself a break. This business of mine is so new; there's no way I can know how to do everything just right just yet. I'm giving it time. And, if you happen to know me personally, you know that this is a much-needed exercise for me.

My latest outing, though, went off without much of a hitch: a trek to the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City. I went to cover it for Herman Miller (see that post here). And if you don't think you know the artist Isamu Noguchi, I am willing to bet that you actually do: his coffee table from the 1940s is pretty iconic. (Check it here.) (Right? You totally know it.) (Bonus: he's also the namesake of one of my favorite Tumblrs.) His museum is about a 15-minute walk from the subway, and it's one of those that you enter and then suddenly feel like you're no longer in NYC. It's very quiet, not too packed, not too busy. (Noguchi, who helped design the interior, didn't even want signage on the walls; he felt like you needed to experience his work on its own instead of just reading about it.) Noguchi was a sculptor, among other things, and the smartly designed space showcases a lot of his stonework. It's raw and imposing at times, but also remarkably approachable. After a little while, I felt this overwhelming urge to touch the sculptures, to throw my arms around them. (I mean, I didn't. But I really, really wanted to.)

In the back courtyard of this museum, there also happens to be a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden, and it is the type that I, of course, described in my Herman Miller post as "an oasis." Because it is -- a place, in fact, that you could melt into. It was welcoming and calming...one in which somebody has surely led a meditation class or held a downward-facing-dog pose or played one of those Native American flutes or debated whether or not to hang a wind chime. The seating is low and comfy. The landscaping is wild but not too wild. The cafe inside probably serves green tea. And there's that whole running-water sound going on. It was a space that I really needed right then. The whole of my being, my tired, still-recovering-from-the-mental-and emotional-exhaustion-of-this-freelance-decision self craved it like candy. I just needed to sit down and be there and breathe it all in.

But I didn't.

Maybe it's because I felt like I was there to work; maybe it was because I was there alone. Mostly I think it was because there were words to write and emails to respond to and meeting invites to accept and this nagging, overarching fear that, if I wasn't home to do them all immediately and perfectly and in a manner that seemed not stressed at all, I would lose every client, and every means to pay my bills.

This is not the case, of course. But I am still a student here, and I am trying to allow myself the space and time to really learn it. Wish me luck. And also, eventually, the awareness to sit down and enjoy the garden every once in a while. (Though minus, like, a Native American flute playing. I could seriously always do without that.)


Since the Last Time We Spoke, or Views from My New Office

When I look back on the life of this blog -- an almost three-year endeavor, started in October 2009, officially because I "wanted to have a blog," unofficially because I needed a creative outlet to mourn some personal changes I had just been through -- I am amazed at where it's taken me and what it's all meant. More than anything, it's been my little engine that could: my space, my place without an editor, my inspiration for digging back into photography, my neck of the woods. 

I've recently gone through some personal changes again, but this time it's more of the happy sort. I've been holding back on sharing it here for some reason, like it's been my secret to savor -- or perhaps because, when I post this, it makes it all officially official. But it is official. And here's the deal: About a month ago, I left my job at Real Simple in order to become a freelance writer.

(Freelance! Don't you dig that word in every way?)

Now, to actually go freelance, you have to work to build a client base for a while -- and since the start of the year, I've been working around 80 hours a week to make sure I could comfortably make this shift. (Which should explain why my blog has been so quiet.) (Also: I'm exhausted, y'all.) I've been spending time saving and asking questions and consulting friends and family, and around mid-July, I announced my plans to my co-workers. They took the news with such grace, generously giving me love and enthusiasm for my decision -- a big one for me, especially since I had been at the mag for five years. I could not be more grateful for those friends and that amazing team. Their support meant the world to me.

I credit much of this new step to the work I've done on this little blog. It's the place where Cerentha Harris, then-editor of the Lifework blog at Herman Miller, posted a comment saying she wanted to do a tour of my studio. I started writing as contributor for her after that, and today, now that Cerentha left to launch Mom.me, I am the editor of that blog. And who replaced me as contributor? The amazing Jamie Latendresse, whom I met on this blog after I featured his "4 Seats on the 1" print in October 2010. (The print got a particularly awesome reception when I mentioned it in an Apartment Therapy tour of my digs -- another result of M-Dashing.) It's been connection after connection, blessing after blessing. All because I wanted a blog, and needed to deal with my life. And now here we go.

I'll continue to fill you in as this adventure unfolds -- there's much to share (like, much much), but I am, admittedly, still slightly overwhelmed with the possibilities and the flexibility and the opportunities that come with being my own small business. There.is.so.much.to.learn. And change finally feels so good.