Sunday, September 12, 2010

Metapost: Why I didn't apply for the AJC freelance reviewer job

This past month has been a time of big decisions for me, and I feel like I have a lot of balls in the air. I also fear that there are a few up there that will surprise me and bonk me on the head if I don't catch them soon enough. One of the balls I decided not to juggle was the Atlanta Journal-Constitution freelance food reviewer position (view the announcement here).

At first, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity: review one restaurant per week for the AJC working under John Kessler, whom I admire. I took his workshop at last year's Decatur Book Festival and learned a lot about food writing in those two hours (hint: it's a lot like narrative nonfiction writing). I felt like I could have competed well for the job with my wine knowledge, blog experience, and writing samples from this blog and Decatur News Online.

Openness to "OTP" restaurants was a must. This wasn't a problem, as Hubby and I enjoy exploring Buford Highway, and we lived in Lawrenceville for a while and still have favorites up there. Another excuse to meet up with friends in Roswell and Alpharetta would have been great, too.

There comes a time, however, when priorities have to be defined. As I've mentioned before, I'm in the middle of moving my office closer to home, and the picky little details are driving me crazy. One of the reasons I'm making this move is to be able to expand my business, which is going to take a lot of time as well as mental and emotional energy. Having a weekly deadline, even if it means I get a meal out comped (and I actually don't know what the financial arrangements were going to be), would add more stress than I need at this point. Hell, I can barely keep up with this blog and my Random Writings.

Also, there's a psychological principle that a behavior that is internally motivated (e.g., restaurant reviewing) will cease to be rewarding once it is externally motivated (e.g., by being paid for it). I like eating out. It's one of those things that Hubby and I can do to relax after a stressful day or week. I'm afraid that, by doing it for someone else for pay and adding deadlines to it, I wouldn't enjoy it as much, and it would become just another job.

So, good luck to those who are vying for the coveted spots, either as the freelancer or as one of John Kessler's brigade of bloggers! I'll enjoy reading your reviews. Meanwhile, I'll keep eating and writing on my own schedule.

Part of the chaos from my last office move & bookshelf rearrangement:


Marisa Birns said...

Well, you given it some serious thought and I think that your decision is a good one for all the reasons stated.

Right now expanding your business is most important to you and you've taken steps to ensure that. Adding another stress - delicious as it may be (or not) - would not be helpful.

I agree with you about eating out. Once it became a "job," it probably wouldn't be as enjoyable or relaxing to do on your days off.

Cecilia Dominic said...

Thanks, Marisa! I appreciate your encouragement no matter what I do. :) It's amazing how blogging started to be a chore after a while, but at least I have the choice as to whether I review where I eat or not. Sometimes I need breaks. I think that, in the end, it just came down to stamina -- I'm a little short on it for now.