Book Writing and Freelancing: A New Work Life


More than a month has passed since I announced to the Internet that I was writing a book about the Georgia oyster industry. In that span I've felt busier than ever before, happy for sure and scattered everywhere. I've not devoted a moment to this blog. In writing this post, I realized how much I need this personalized outlet, even as I'm producing my own cooking zine and nonfiction book.

This fall has been one of huge shifts in my life. I left a secure full-time job to work as a freelancer and write a book. Part of that change has meant spending an increased amount of time with my young daughter, something for which I am more than grateful. Before I sit down to the computer each day, I make eggs and toast and apples and such for her. We ship off to Montessori school, and then, around 9 a.m. or so, I brew some coffee and begin writing. I continue as furiously as possible until 2:30 p.m., stoping only to eat a small lunch,  which is when I leave to pick her up and serve as a monitor during the extended day portion, keeping an eye on all the kids who can't be picked up until 5:30 p.m. I'm able to work off her tuition and learn plenty about the inner-workings and social strata of the 2-6 year old set.

I've also learned to mix cocktails to shore up the bank account during this time of transition, working one night a week behind the bar of the Old Pal in Athens' wonderful Normaltown neighborhood. I've become increasingly accustomed to producing freelance work quickly to make up for unpaid work like that of Crop Stories, the food and farm zine that I edit. I made one four-day reporting trip in early October down to the Georgia coast, roaming from St. Marys near the Florida-Georgia border up to Skidaway Island and back down to Brunswick (with excursions into the marsh fit somewhere in there).

I also launched this crowdfunding campaign to help pay for all the traveling necessary to write this book. It's been live for about a week and a half at the point of this writing, and already it's at 81 percent of its minimum goal. I say minimum because $2000 is a number that I feel allows me to get this book done on a tight budget. More support gives me the ability to travel more, replace broken photo and audio equipment, and devote a little extra time to drafting the text over the next year.

Throughout all of this I've been nervous as hell. Who the fuck am I to think I can write a book? What the fuck am I thinking asking friends and family to help fund the damn thing? I'm not entirely sure I want to answer those questions, but if anything, I've learned to work past the tenured critics in my psyche and just get the damn thing done. 

It's been a busy month and it's about to get busier. Crop Stories: Winter Squash, the second edition of the zine, comes out in three weeks. I head down for an extended reporting trip on Nov. 10. I'm planning a IRL fundraiser with some talented friends and chefs on Nov. 16. And I am penning a longform feature based on my book reporting for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

I've got this.