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The Freelance Life
The Origin of the Freelance Author
By Larry Ray Palmer copyright 08/13/2009
The modern freelancer has origins that go back to a time before the concept of writing ever existed. Before the first paid jobs ever came to mind, the caveman scratching his artwork on the walls of his subterranean abode was paving the way for freelancers of all kinds that were to follow. One such freelance descendant is the modern writer.
Just as our cave dwelling ancestors etched out their artwork, not for a promise of pay but rather, for the simple reason that the ideas must come out, must be passed down, the modern freelance writer creates their own art in the form of words, skillfully molded into works that can touch a heart, entertain a child or stir a revolt. The modern writer may earn a fair wage from the products of their mind but, by and large, most would agree that the money is not their main focus. They write for many reasons but the main reason they write is because they must. It is what they do and who they are. When they cease to write, they cease to be writers.
It was once said that true writers don't write when it is easy or enjoyable, they just write. We pick up the pen or peck at the keys and let the words flow from our heads and out onto the page. Sometimes the words are unfocused and forced. They collapse in on themselves and lose the original meaning. Other times, everything falls right into place and then the true meaning of the art is formed. Words that can stir emotion and call to peoples souls are evoked. These words weave a spell that is stronger than any enchantress spell. These words, in times of pure inspiration, are the words that make writers do what they do.
It is not easy to write the words. They require thought. They leave you exhausted. Sometimes they tear at your soul and take a piece of it with them. It's not easy but it is what we do. It is the sacrifice we make for our art form. If you were to ask Michelangelo if it was an easy thing to spend two years of his life extracting the form of David from marble, he would undoubtedly acknowledge the level of difficulty. A freelancer of his own time, Michelangelo laboriously chiseled the huge stone and created a piece of art that has been handed down through time as a masterpiece. That is the goal of every freelancer; to create something bigger than themselves, bigger than life. They strive for excellence in their art form so that it may be passed down through the test of time and still find a place of respect. They write because that is how the world will know them.
To say that the freelance writer just writes however would be a grave mistake. This could be comparable to saying that Michelangelo just chiseled on stone or Van Gogh was just a painter. These men were artists, pure geniuses and blessed by their muses. They reached into their deepest resources and found things of beauty that the world might have otherwise missed.
The modern writer is charged with a similar duty; The modern freelance writer must find the words that evoke the powerful images and sensations produced by the masters that went before us. We sculpt our paragraphs, paint pictures with our words and develop our stories because that is what our art requires of us. We present the stories that will become legends, in our own words. We are the bards and scribes of our society. What we write today may well become the quotes of the future.