Vitae, revisited

I wrote a few days ago that I’ve been exploring a freelancer-website, a place to look for contract work and connect with employers.  The fact is that I’ve been doing a good bit of hectic thinking about it, not enough actual exploration, and a terrible amount of being afraid.

Freelance work is an entirely new world to me, the idea of being an independent contractor is foreign, but appealing.  I like the idea of being able to do work in my own way and my own space and be responsible primarily for results, rather than appearances.  I think it would help me circumvent the worst parts of working in a scheduled job and in a typical office environment, something which I may rant about another day (not write, rant).  But there are whole new things to learn and manage, very strange waters to navigate.  One of which is the need to market myself.  I have never in my life done this before, and until this year, I think any attempt would have been laughable.

I’ve always had a hard time giving myself credit for my own skills and accomplishments, a very hard time.  If I am able to do something, it seems like it must not be that big a deal, and I’m not one who has looked for new challenges willingly or often.  I’ve mostly avoided needing to stretch myself, which means I’ve not gained much confidence in my ability to stretch and achieve new things.  Only practical experience teaches that, experience which I mostly lacked.

And yet, all of my various employers over time have been very complimentary about my work, my ability to learn, my communication skills, my ability to work with other people and get things done.  It never really stuck, but I’ve heard those things many times.  I had to learn how to believe in myself, before I could learn to believe them.  I think I’ve made great strides in doing that since the beginning of the year.

Further, I find that, in a new and strange way to me, I want to be stretched now.  I don’t want to look for an easy way out anymore.  I want to take on challenges and learn and achieve new things, better things.  I have been very scared at times over the last few months about how my life is going to go next, but underneath the fear has grown strength, an eagerness to stand up taller, to live more fully, to expand my range of experience and find new success.  I want that.  I want it.

And on the other hand, I don’t.  Scared still tries to hold me back.  Some days, it wins.

Not today.

This morning I remembered an exercise I undertook back in January, when I needed to rewrite my resume.  I hadn’t had a proper resume in years and so was effectively starting from scratch, needing to account for several years of work and personal history.  I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t know how to begin.  But I took an unexpected gift of time and decided to just start, with a notebook and pen, writing down things I’ve done and claiming credit for them.  It worked; it got me started.  With some more time and polish and the advice of really good friends and colleagues, I ended up with a document I was very pleased with.

Needing to market my skills as a potential freelance writer feels like a whole other magnitude of needing to claim my skills and learn how to market them.  I was stuck for a long time, not able to get started, knowing I needed to, squashed in the pressure-space in between.  But this morning I picked up another pen and my current notebook, and started writing about what I’ve done.  Every big project I remember tackling in my old job, every significant responsibility, everything I enjoyed, everything I was complimented on and given credit for.  Everything I did in volunteer capacities outside of work, what I liked, what I was good at.  I broke those things down into skills, I played with grouping similar ideas, I took note of anything that came up multiple times for future exploration (especially, the idea of teaching and training).  I started playing with language, casting the basic ideas in a business-y, market-y kind of way.

At some point, I found myself actually giggling, having found a sense of play and fun in the exercise that I would never have expected.  I finally composed three solid draft paragraphs of advertising for Cris Cramer, Writer and Document Specialist, and laughed out loud with joy over finally breaking through.

My name is Cris Cramer, and I am a writer and document design specialist.  I can help you write your message, or create documents that convey it beautifully.

I am a Microsoft Word expert.  Have you ever been surprised or frustrated by something “Word did” to your documents?  Chances are, I understand why it happened.  I can help you get the most out of your documents, while teaching you more about the program you use to create them.

I have 10+ years of corporate experience in planning, organizing, facilitating, and completing mission-critical projects, of both small and large scales.  I am a Class-A communicator who is happy to work either independently or with great teams.  I believe in working hard and working smart.  It takes both to achieve exceptional results.


1 comment so far

  1. Susanne on

    Wow, those three paragraphs sound awesome! Not that the rest of your post is bad, only, wow, very professional and polished.

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