This past week, I had a moment–a joyous, Oh-Mah-Gawd moment–that I’ve never experienced before. Someone actually handed me money for a writing project I had done for them. I wanted to cry. I may have cried, just a little. A couple of years ago, I did some resume and letter work for someone. It was for a friend, and I wasn’t going to charge her. She needed a job. We worked on it a few times over several weeks because she was applying for several different jobs. On her last visit, she presented me with this:
That was cool. Unexpected, even. And very, very cool. In 2008, I had inadvertently won an undergrad literature essay contest which put a small amount of money in my bank account. That was cool, too. A plaque, an award ceremony interrupted by a tornado warning, and evacuation. Inadvertently because, at the last minute, I submitted an essay that I had written the previous semester for a Shakespeare seminar class. I didn’t even proofread it. Just plugged in the good ol’ USB and poof. After having submitted it, I actually read it, and found it horribly full of typos, grammatical errors, and phrases that would make any grammarian rip her hair out. I didn’t think I stood a chance. But I did. And it won. That was cool, too, especially since the tornado warning killed the meet-and-greet with alumni, and I was off the hook for mixing and mingling, and quite possibly discussing a paper I remembered very little about. I always thought if I won some contest, I’d be handed a big dummy check, like they do for lucky casino winners. Even though it wouldn’t be “real” money, I’d have something tangible given to me. But this, this is something different. An actual discussion: “I’ll pay you X money to write Y project.” “Okay.”
And not like the time I had done some work for someone several years ago who had found me through the Writing Center when I was tutoring there. We had the discussion, too. “How much would you charge me to write Y for me?” (Y, NOT being a paper, although it was a common question there.) “Does X amount sound okay?” “Yes!” Many hours and versions and corrections later, the work had been emailed, but I never received another phone call or email from him. I contacted him three times, attempting to get some sort of payment before giving up. A year after that, he tried to add me on Facebook and LinkedIn. You’ve GOT to be kidding me.
But this, this new thing. We had the conversation, and, after the work was done, I received the Y. I offered free revisions, so it may not be done, done, but I have the money.
And as soon as the cash was in my hand, something inside me said, “Yessssssss!” While it wasn’t about the amount of money, it was in fact, about the money. In that moment, something changed, as a new possibility–a field of possibilities–existed. I’m still plodding on the book, despite having taken off about a week and a half for the Y job. I want to finish it; I want to publish it. I just never really considered making money from it, or from various other projects I’ve been considering.
The “What If” box has been opened. It seems like anything is possible.