We always have a choice.

Over the past four months, I’ve been experimenting with my schedule. I’d be sitting with an unconscious dream, something I wrote off years ago as ‘too hard.’ I even went to university for this, but since got steered in another direction. 

I always wanted to write feature stories. Narratives that are people-centric, with reporting that’s rich, and multi-page spreads that would grant me the space to go deep. 

A few projects popped up here and there, but it was a far cry from a career portfolio peppered with bylines. 

And that was okay for a while. I needed the best part of a decade to mature into my writing career. 

So, why am I telling you all this? Because I believe it’s easy to get stuck. BUT it’s just as easy to get unstuck, once you realise you’re in your own way… especially if you’re a freelancer. 

I’ve often been told to outsource my work and manage a team of writers. That never interested me. I want to write, not manage people. 

I continue freelancing because I love it. With diversity being one of my core values, I’m able to work with a mix of clients and a range of projects, without being bound to one company, industry or location. 

As a freelancer, I’ve sharpened my ability to be adaptable. I’m used to having to think on my feet, make quick decisions, change course, and pivot again and again. I’ve come to learn I actually need this. 

In April, I started to make room in my schedule for journalism work. I blocked out every Monday to dedicate to story ideation, developing editor relationships and pitching cultural pieces across the world. 

In May, I secured my first commission from outreach. Here’s a snippet of the piece. 

Yep, ‘words by Amanda' Smith.’ ;-)

And last month, I pulled apart my schedule yet again to commit every Friday to write my books. I’ve done more in two weeks than I did in the past two months. I now have in my hands, the first full edit of my debut novella, The Inner Fire.

See, my lovely reader, we always have a choice. Us freelancers are faced with ‘fork in the road’ decisions almost every day, so we’re conditioned to always adapt. 

But we all have a choice. To ask ourselves every day, is this what I really want to be doing? 

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