The Freelance Writer and the All-Nighter: A Eulogy for my Liver

on May 11, 2010 in Freelance Writing Business

How does one adequately say "goodbye" to someone so close -- someone they've come to depend on over the years? You'll have to forgive me if I get a bit choked up. But the recent loss of my liver is a trying time. Still, we had a good run. We made some wonderful memories, the old girl and I.

For the most part, we took good care of each other. It was a mutually loving relationship. I didn't drink much or down excessive amounts of other poisons on a frequent basis, and on the rare occasion I pushed my limits she had my back. I still remember the night I downed more Jack than any living soul should ingest in a lifetime... all in the name of research to step inside a character. She took care of me then.

She took care of me last night too, working hard until the very end so I could pull an all-nighter, where I was working equally hard to get caught up on some client work. Oh, how I'll miss those occasional all-nighters when the freelance writing oil burned into the wee hours of the night and we reminisced about our younger years when 2am was still early evening and we could hold our liquor better than any of the boys.

She died a hero really. Who else would have thrown themselves in front of two large black iced coffees from Mickey D's in the name of freelance writing deadlines? Not you. Not me either friends. She was one of a kind, always willing to put herself on the line for the greater good.

I'll always look back fondly on our early morning doses of pumpkin pie coffee, our evenings with a mug of Godiva's hazelnut blend, obsessive tea binges when I couldn't decide if I really wanted the oolong or darjeeling or Earl Grey, the energy shots to get me through a long drive home from trips to the city, and the pink bubbly during nights with the girls.

I blame myself in a way, and I'll always look back with both love and regret. Why didn't I just drive a couple of extra miles for the "good" stuff at Dunkin Donuts? Why didn't I dig out the coffee maker and whip up a fresh brew myself? Why did I settle for the convenience of McDonald's coffee? Why did I choose to have two? It might not have been more coffee than usual, but I knew better. This was McDonald's coffee after all -- the coffee that tastes both burnt and bland at the same time... the coffee that feels like it sticks to my insides as it goes down... the coffee that barely merits the "coffee" namesake at all.


Yes, there will always be regret. But mostly that love and fond remembrance of our good times together. And now this freelance writer must press on. Deep down, I know it's what she would have wanted.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.

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  1. Jessie Haynes May 11, 2010 Reply

    Surely tell-tale of my coffee problem, reading this made me jones for coffee. I basically quit around Christmas since my husband (then fiance) and I were trying to get pregnant.

    Even after feeling what you’ve felt (I went for two of those McDonald’s iced coffees, black, once and woke up with boiling innards) I still desire the coffee. Ahh!

  2. Yo Prinzel
    Yo Prinzel May 11, 2010 Reply

    You had me until Earl Grey…blech!

    Also, McD’s coffee tastes nasty.

    • Jennifer Mattern May 11, 2010 Reply

      *Gasp* I adore Earl Grey. So phooey on you.

      • Jessie Haynes May 11, 2010 Reply

        Panera sells Earl Greyer-and it is so, so good. Tried it?

        • Jennifer Mattern May 11, 2010 Reply

          No. I don’t like hot drinks with soup (too much hot liquidy “stuff” at once), and I almost always get soup at Panera’s. So I haven’t done their tea. Only exception is when they have a hot pumpkin something-or-other in the fall, but even then I get it to go after the meal and not with it. I’m a fussy little thing.

          • Jessie Haynes May 11, 2010

            I don’t do hot drinks with soup, either. I never get soup at Panera, though, so I always went for the tea. They’ve some good’uns, but nothing compares to what I call the Berry White at Starbucks-simply their blended white tea which has the subtle berry in the mix.

  3. Lucy Smith May 11, 2010 Reply

    What you need is an Italian Moka pot. It makes fabulous coffee (espresso, but you can add hot water to the cup) on your stovetop. No need for late night missions to CrapDonalds/Starchucks when you have one of these babies :-)

    • Jennifer Mattern May 12, 2010 Reply

      I probably would forget it was there and burn something. I actually killed a teapot doing that. lol I love my coffee maker. It’s a brewstation — no carafe to deal with, so it’s easy to clean and I never have to worry about spilling. It’s just still buried in piles of things right now in my kitchen, so it wasn’t accessible.

  4. Wendy S. Johnson May 12, 2010 Reply

    I admit I can be a coffee-aholic. I will drink almost any coffee, including McD’s. I usually will drink coffee with all my meals no matter if it’s soup or whatever else. I’m not much of a pop drinker or anything cold for that matter. Come to think of it, I come from a family of coffee drinkers.

    I would have to agree with Yo here. You will never see me drinking Earl Grey. Yuck!

    • Yo Prinzel
      Yo Prinzel May 12, 2010 Reply

      Thank you–I was starting to feel like there was something wrong with my taste buds. That bergamot makes me want to… well.

      Lady Grey from Twinings is good because it has a citrusy thing going on but with such a small amount of bergamot you don’t get the bitterness.

  5. Cathy Miller May 12, 2010 Reply

    Brilliant writing! LOL!!

    As I age, I find more & more of those supportive, body-part friends waving good-bye. I dread reading the obituaries for fear of finding their pictures.

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