November 30th, 2009


Reflections on being a Contract Writer

In June of this year I started my own side business, a freelance writing company called SJF Writing. So if you want me to proofread your papers, I can totally do that for you :-)

I've taken on several big projects since then, but the one I'm focused on right now is editing a lady's manuscript about the memoirs of her life with her toy poodle.

Hey, a paycheck is a paycheck. Actually, it's a really cute story. I'm a cat person, but this dog was pretty special. She knew some weird tricks, and was a humorous, sympathetic soul, and guided the lady I'm contracting for through some of the tribulations in her life. I regret that I could not meet 'Angel.'

The memoir was formed out of love, and pain. In a house of fast-moving men and boys, this wife and mother missed her only, steady companion so much that she had to let out the memories in the only way she found possible: through writing. This woman was not a Writer the way I use the word, but she used writing to recreate her life with her beloved pet. I respect her efforts, and the power of the story she wants to tell. She wrote her memoir hoping it would be an example to others who have lost or will soon lose their pets. I read the ending when she lost Angel, and it made me cry (not an easy task). Her story has such a wide appeal, even though you wouldn't think of 'pet memoir' as having the power to go mainstream.

I have a cat companion I will be devastated to lose when she goes. I'm sure all of you out there have an animal friend who will affect your heart equally when it's time to say goodbye. I try to keep her future audience in mind as I go through and edit this book. I don't know where the path for it will lead; if we'll self-publish or if I'll try and help her get a literary agent, but as the project moves forward I realized the real reason I am taking it on (for, honestly, a severely reduced fee):

I want to give this gift to the woman who hired me. I have a talent, and I want to use it to clean up this woman's memories and give them back to her as beautifully as possible. That's what my writing for hire business is about... using my gifts to gift others.