Freelance Writing Can Be A Good Side Hustle

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I’ve been making a big deal about changing careers because I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the freelance writing business and it’s future outlook, or lack thereof. The wheels are in motion to begin my ESL teaching career abroad, but for the moment I still have to uphold the responsibilities I have to my clients.

If you are one of my clients and you’re reading this blog you can rest assured that I would never leave you high and dry. When the time comes for me to finally move to China or Taiwan or Hong Kong, I will finish whatever assignments I have, and you will be given ample advance notice of my departure.

But it occurs to me that maybe this doesn’t truly have to be the end. Freelance writing, due to the mobility and flexibility that it presents, make it the perfect side hustle. Even if I just take a handful of assignments each month, it would still be a nice cash infusion in addition to my teaching work. It’s also worth mentioning that I would not have to pay taxes to the Canadian government for any money I earn abroad, so the work could effectively be tax-exempt.    Read the rest of this entry »

In Spite of Everything I Will Miss Montreal

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For almost 3 years I’ve lived in Montreal and now that the end is just over the horizon, I can’t help but look back on all that I’ve done and experienced here. Everywhere I go there are memories connected to the parks and streets. All the stores and alleyways that I used to haunt contain the ghosts of my past. It makes me sad to think that I have to leave this place when there are yet so many things that I could do here, and now that Spring is here the city is coming alive with an unmatchable  energy.

But still I must move on. I can’t get a job out here as a writer/media professional, so I’m stuck freelancing and I’ve made it clear that I really don’t want to do this anymore. I need to make some moves and change my career to something else more rewarding, and that something is teaching ESL. It’s a lonely existence being a freelance writer and living alone, and that is amplified even more when you live in a new city.

I remember the day I moved here. It rained cats & dogs in Toronto on the day I left, but by the time I was outside of the GTA and making my way down the 401, the rain stopped and the sky cleared and it was just me in the SUV filled with all the things that I could cram into it: my clothing, books, assorted kitchen stuff, various souvenirs and items for the home. It was a long and nerve-wracking drive, and when I arrived in Montreal I got lost trying to find my way through town to my apartment. I actually drove across the Cartier Bridge to Sherbrooke by accident, drove around and came back across the bridge, and then figured out where I was going thanks to my cell phone. I remember coming down Van Horne and passing Wilderton Plaza, the same plaza I have now shopped at so many times, thinking “I’m almost there.” My first night in Montreal, all I did was eat pizza and watch The Wire on my laptop because after a 6 hour drive I didn’t want to do much else.  Read the rest of this entry »

Looking Forward to Changing Careers and Taking A Long Break From Writing

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It’s been a long time coming, but this month I’m finally leaving Montreal to live with family in Toronto while I look for my first ESL teaching contract in China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong. At the moment I’m not doing a lot of freelance work (I’m not doing much writing at all these days, to be honest), although I’m still holding on to a few clients as I still need to maintain some cash flow. Until I’m actually in China, and have a teaching salary, I have to continue plugging away at this stuff or else I’ll go broke.

Confessional time: After four years of freelance writing I’m completely burned out and have lost nearly all interest in writing anything at all. The inspiration and enthusiasm I once had in spades is gone and there isn’t anything that I feel compelled to write about. I like to think that this is just a phase that will eventually come full circle and I’ll be writing again, but for the last month or two I’ve completely lost the desire. Even poetry, something which I had for so long considered to be my best creative outlet, has lost its luster.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Quest to Become an ESL Teacher

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The winds of change are beginning to blow, and they are pushing my ship Eastward. Long have I bemoaned the atrocious realities of freelance writing, but living in Montreal means that I’m stuck doing it since it’s impossible to find a job out here without perfect bilingual fluency. I’ve stuck with it about as long as I can, but soon I’ll be embarking on the next stage of my career as a language professional: teaching ESL overseas.

You might be wondering, “Chris, why do you want to be an ESL teacher?” Well now, that’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked. I’ve thought about it for a long time, and I know many people who have done it before, so this isn’t a decision I’ve made lightly. Teaching English overseas is the perfect way for me to utilize my English language abilities in a way that contributes something to the world, and I can also travel to distant places and interact with people from different cultures while I’m doing it. Teaching people how to speak English is way for me to make a difference somewhere and satisfy my hunger for exploration while I’m at it. It seems to me that it’s the perfect career choice, really.  Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing Wild Dogs of Mexico

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20151204_120838I haven’t posted anything on this blog since New Years, but for the last 3 months I’ve been working on a poetry project so it warrants its own update on here. (Actually, for the first 3 months of the year I was posting weekly updates about what I was working on for each of my clients… that turned out to be a really bad idea though so I  had to delete all the posts, hence why it seems like I haven’t written anything here in such a long time.)

Last year I spent a month backpacking through Mexico by myself, and it was a very transformational trip. I found a lot of beauty and inspiration in it, and I came back with a new direction. There’s no doubt that I will go back there again someday to see more of the country, but for now I’m working on a collection of poetry about my experiences there and posting it on Tumblr. The blog is called Wild Dogs of Mexico and there you can read about my experiences in the Land of Perpetual Summer. It has poems and photos, so there’s a good variety of material to look at. I’m calling it “a poetiphotographic journey.”

I’m even getting one of my Mexico poems published! Slow Bikes will run in issue VI of Sulphur. This marks the third poem I’ve ever had published in an outside source, so I’m pretty psyched about it. The poem was on my Tumblr, but since it’s getting published and they don’t take previously published work, I had to take it down. Being posted on a blog actually does count as being published, technically. I’ll have to wait, I think, until six months after publication until I can put it back up there. It is a really good poem though, and I’m not the only one who thinks so apparently.

Please check out my Mexico stuff and enjoy!