Wednesday, June 23, 2004

House arrest

I haven't said much about my work. I am a technical writer.

It has taken me many years to utter that sentence without preamble and backpedaling. I used to say, "I write for a living, but nothing that you would be interested in reading," or "I write things that no one ever sees," or "I make my living writing boring documents."

The truth is, I make my living crafting documents that span the space between those that have technical knowledge and those that don't. I am damn good at it, too. Good enough to say that I have been able to support myself with my writing for better than 15 years now.

I think that I repeatedly undercut the career for so long because technical writing was never my ambition. I always wanted to be a fiction writer. It just so happens that technical writing is a much steadier gig. It is very lucrative if you are on your game, so I have used my abilities in the way that has been the most financially beneficial, but not necessarily the most personally fulfilling.

Over time, I have structured my career so that I work at home in my own office, which is a priceless perk, in my opinion. The only way that I have been able to continue this is by working short-term freelance assignments.

My current assignment started back in April, and it is scheduled to run through August. This client was initially very wary of working with me remotely, and insisted on putting several safeguards in place to ensure that they had constant availability to me. I have access to their private network, and I am required to be signed on to their private chat system so that the client can verify that I am indeed signed on and present for the hours specified in the contract.

It was kind of funny; the first few weeks were just test after test after test. Instant messages were sent at 8:29 am and 5:31 pm on an almost daily basis. I took this as a personal challenge and so far I have been able to volley back every single serve they have zinged over the "net" at me. Of course, that means that I really can't stray more than about 10 feet from my working area at any time . . . and that is kind of nervewracking.

I have won their trust at this point, and they are quite happy with the documents that I have written on their behalf. I figured that would happen just about the time the contract wrapped.

All work has its perks and downsides, I guess. One downside is that I spend hours upon hours with only myself for company (well, and Weenie, when she isn't busy shredding the kid's socks or pissing on my rug). This blog has provided an outlet for me and access to a whole community of funny, caring people. That makes house arrest a little more bearable, so to my blog friends that regularly visit me and leave their impressions, thank you. Work is much less lonely this way.

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