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The Perfectionist Diaries - 4

'Project 30'

By S. A. CrawfordPublished 6 months ago 4 min read
Photo by Ulrick Trappschuh:

On June 24th I realized it was precisely four months until my birthday - my 30th birthday. And yes, I know 30 is still young, 30 is the beginning of life; I've heard time and time again that it's when we begin to hit our stride. Nonetheless, I was faced with the realization that I was nowhere near where I wanted to be by this point in my life. Which is chronically like me; I am one of nature's cautious creatures. I take my time.

I have always taken my time. My gran, my mum, my great aunt, they all say that I have never been one to be rushed.

So, maybe this is my time because on that day I felt something shift and click, and I set myself a challenge; Project 30.


Marcin Dampc via Pexels

Have you heard the term 'Main Character Energy'; if you're on TikTok, it's almost certain that you have. The idea is to act as though you are the main character in your own story;

  • Take chances
  • Eat, wear, and use your nicest things just because
  • Wear things you've been to cautious to wear
  • Go out and do things by yourself
  • Make time for your own goals and growth

It's been around two and a half months since I started this personal challenge, and I have to admit it hasn't been easy. I thought I'd snap into it, but I am, as I said, cautious by nature. I 've found myself retreating into my shell, sticking to the comfortable. But there have been some successes.

I took up wild swimming with a friend, and started to plan a short story. I compiled a list of magazines and publications that pay for submissions (which I will share in an article for any interested Vocal users), and I finally accepted a hard truth.

The Hard Swerve

It's time to leave my freelance life behind, at least in part, because it's become untenable - at least in my niche. I've talked before about how the paranoia and suspicion of AI use is a blight in my niche of the craft; some businesses are simply using AI, sure, but others are using unreliable AI detection software to level damaging accusations at people they have been working with for years.

Recently, a long-time friend of mine had a client she has worked with for over a year threaten to ruin her reputation and sue her for tens of thousands of dollars based on such software. Right about now, you might be wondering why that's an issue; if she doesn't use AI generation tools, she shouldn't be in the firing line, right? Wrong.

These checkers vary in quality, with some that are considered to be truly top tier having an accuracy rating of 50% and others having an accuracy rating as low as 28%. I saw her write huge chunks of their content with my own eyes; her reputation is impeccable.

If this can happen to her, I realized, it can happen to anyone; and so I'm jumping before I'm pushed. Between new 'writers' undercutting established names and using AI to push out huge amounts of work at superhuman speeds and clients that are, understandably, concerned about this phenomenon relying on technology that has a coin flips chance of not marring my reputation at best - I'm done.

Writing is my first love, but I started freelancing because it was a job I could do when my mental health was in the gutter. I didn't need to make it out of bed, into the car, and out to an office for nine; I just needed to get to my computer in time to make the deadline.

I'm well, now, as well as I'll ever be and this life is no longer serving me. I'm tired of living in fear of missing bills because I don't know where my next paycheque is coming from.

I'm just tired guys.

I'll keep writing for me; I may segway into ghost writing fiction or proofreading and editing, but right now I'm getting ready for an interview at a local pub. Maybe this will be the gust of fresh air that washes away the cobwebs and lets me actually work on my novel.

Predictions for the Future

Gantas Vaičiulėnas via Pexels

So, where do we go from here? Well, with around one month left in Project 30, I've decided that I'm going to start sharing some of my poetry on TikTok. I'm also dipping my toe in self-publishing 'adult' romance under a pseudonym (AKA 'The Miranda Plan').

I've made a website (The Scottish Ghostwriter), hoping to move into ghost writing, editing, and proofreading, but I'm not hanging my financial hopes on that. I'm looking forward to some normal work and a normal schedule.

I predict nothing. I'm sure there will be good and bad in the next year; I hope I find my feet, I hope I can get my own place. I want to feel like an adult again, but I just don't know where this will go. I'm not making predictions anymore; I'm making plans.

I plan to get serious about my health and wellbeing; re-joining the gym is on my list, but learning how to eat in a way that will help me manage PCOS is at the very top. I'm tired of being sick, I'm sick of being tired; I want to feel well again, and I want to like the way I look.

Maybe that's enough for now.

Say hopeful, guys!

Follow along with the Perfectionist Diaries:

0) Enforcing failure

1) New beginnings

2) First steps

3) The Miranda plan

4) Project 30 (you are here)


About the Creator

S. A. Crawford

Writer, reader, life-long student - being brave and finally taking the plunge by publishing some articles and fiction pieces.

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Comments (1)

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  • Tiffany Gordon 5 months ago

    I absolutely loved this piece! It was inspiring! I also love your upbeat, candid writing style! I'll also be trying the main character challenge! it sounds fun! Great job Sheree! 😊

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