Ch-ch-changes

I hate when I go a week without updating, and then I really hate having to apologize for going a week without updating, so maybe I will skip that and get straight to the explanation bit:

January kind of sucked.

It started with a massive ear nose and throat infection and ended with me getting laid off from my biggest freelance writing job. I’ve never liked January much and I thought it had to do with the freezing cold. Now I know it’s something much deeper.

Truthfully, I’ve had a couple of troubling setbacks in the last month or so. First Michelin abruptly dissolved our brand ambassador agreement. Apparently, they didn’t think I was speaking of them glowingly enough in my articles. It seems that my article on how NOT to use a guidebook really rubbed them the wrong way.

When I found out, I was pretty angry, I didn’t think I was being hired to blindly push product, I honestly thought they wanted thoughtful features. I merely wanted to explain the way to get the most out of your guidebook, but apparently I crossed the party line along the way. Apparently Michelin wasn’t looking for honesty, they wanted a corporate shill, which I refuse to be.

Let’s face it, Lonely Planet is better anyways

Honestly though, it was an important lesson on working with brands. Next time I will be much more cautious about who I agree to work with, and make sure that their product and their values align with mine.

The far more devastating setback happened last week, when I received news that Answers.com was terminating my contract early. This one was not my fault, they apparently laid off every single one of their expert authors in one fell swoop.

This was really disappointing and worrying. Not only did I really enjoy writing about US Travel for Answers, it has been one of my primary sources of income for the past 6 months. For the last few months I’ve actually felt pretty steady income-wise, but now I’m not so sure.

I wish I could say I bounced right back, but in reality the setbacks of the last couple months all compounded and left me staring helplessly at my computer screen. One of the things I love about freelancing is one of the same things that makes it really, super hard: the landscape is constantly changing. One day I’m offered a high paying assignment, the next day the company folds. It’s dizzying and frankly, a little exhausting.

Me. Metaphorically.

So the last week or so I haven’t been writing much. I’ve been active, just instead of working I was watching entire tv seasons, cooking elaborate meals and sleeping in. The other day I stared at my computer screen for nearly two straight hours before I quit and decided to go to the beach and read instead. That’s the really hard thing about writing: if the motivation isn’t there, it just isn’t there and no amount of banging on my keyboard will bring it back.

Fortunately, I wasn’t just ignoring work, I was also thinking really hard about what I want to do next, and how I want my career to look going forward. I have a lot of ideas and plans. This is definitely going to be a pivotal year both in my life and the life of this blog.

Which is all a long way to say I’m not quitting, I’m transforming. As I alluded to in the past there are going to be some changes around here and it’s time to start rolling those out over the next couple of months. I hope you guys will stick around, and love the new plans.

More coming soon! For now it’s time to climb back on the writing horse and get back to work.

34 thoughts on “Ch-ch-changes”

  1. Last year was a year of transition and this year is a year of a transition. What you say pretty much sums up the life of a freelancer. Have to be ready to roll with the punches. Good luck with what you have on the horizon. I’m sure your hard work and dedication will make it a success.

  2. Yeah, Michelin called Scott (who handles all my partnerships) back when they were starting the brand ambassador program, and the whole thing reeked so badly of advertorial (not to mention, the paltry pay…), we flat out turned it down. You’re better than that–and better off without them!

  3. I like to see life as a sort of weather system. Seems like your January was full of clouds, but let’s hope for a sunny spring. You’re a great writer. It’ll work out.

  4. I’m a long-time UX contractor and solo traveler who’s just now nudging around on the threshold of professional blogging.

    Your blog is one of my favorites so far. I love your thoughtful layout, the topics you choose, and the integrity and thoughtfulness of your writing. PR people can be nervous twerps with “negative” press, real or imagined, and those who reject feedback miss the purpose of what bloggers bring – credibility.

    It’s not just that they pulled the rug out from you. It’s why it happened. I’m sorry; that sucketh greatly.

    Here’s wishing peace and renewed energy when you reach your decision on your next direction. 🙂

  5. That sucks to hear about your gig with Answers. They actually sent me (and probably a gazillion other bloggers) an e-mail a couple of weeks back looking for “guest contributors”…to write for FREE! I was so annoyed at them and told them to come back to me when they had a budget to pay their writers, but I guess there will always be people out there that are willing to do it for free, and that sucks because it totally devalues writing as a job. End rant. I hope your February is better than last month!

    1. Would you believe they sent me the same email, the same day they cancelled my contract? I was seeing green for a little bit, but I’m mostly over that now.

  6. I’m sorry to hear about your freelance jobs not working out. I’m sure you will come across new opportunities soon and I look forward to seeing what changes you make to the blog. I’ve been following you for a few years now and I was wondering where you were this month! But hey, we all get in a rut from time to time. I’ve been in one for a few months now it seems, haha. It will pass!

    I wouldn’t mind seeing some more Mexican food posts (and recipes!) *wink wink*

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