If you are a freelance I’ve bet you’ve heard it all.
You’re lucky you’re freelance:
you can work in your pjs
you can work in the café
you can work in the garden
you can work anywhere
you can have sooooo many holidays
Magazine ads and articles entice would-be editors and proofreaders with the freedom of working from home, usually with photos of pristine homes, steaming coffee and an immaculate desk. In this house it couldn’t be further from the truth. During peaks of productivity the freelance editor can find the housework building up, coffee cups littering the working space, usually half drunk (the coffee, not the freelance), and a desk that is hard to find underneath all the piles of books and paperwork.
It’s true, we can start work when we please, go to the gym in the middle of the day (ha, seriously?) and work around the school run. I wouldn’t change freelance life for anything. But … (and here’s a big but, nothing to do with the song though) … deadlines still have to be met, bills have to be paid and if you start work late you usually have to work late.
I have never worked in my pjs, just as I’ve never taken a trip to the supermarket in them either. Working in a café can be great for productivity, but only for a short time. Personally I find it can be difficult to concentrate for long in a crowded place, and local cafés tend to get me distracted anyway as I’m bound to meet someone I know. As for the garden, let’s just say that Scotland in the summer has its own hazards – the Scottish midge knows no boundaries.
Add the never-ending search for work and the creative shaming, and freelance life is probably far less idyllic than you think. I sure as hell won’t be appearing in any fluffy, rainbow-inducing adverts for freelance life any time soon.
But one thing I DO do is take a break every now and then. I don’t go on exotic foreign holidays (oh boy, I’d love to) but I do set aside a couple of times each year to step away from work, recharge my batteries and just chill. I deliberately don’t book any work in for a couple of weeks and just put my feet up (well, I try). I also book off two weeks (or rather take on less of a workload) in July as that’s when I help out at our local theatre for the two-week long junior workshop we put on. Two weeks surrounded by over 30 8–18 year olds isn’t really conducive to a full work diary.
So, I’m about to put my feet up. This year I’ll be attached to my notebook as, after eight months of writing on the OU A215 Creative Writing course, I’m finding that I miss putting pen to paper (we only finished a few weeks ago, but I’ve found fiction writing is wonderful). I also have a bit of research to do that needs some attention.
For a few weeks I’ll be awol. I will, as usual, suspend my blog writing for two or three weeks and hopefully emerge refreshed and renewed. But then it’ll be back to the never-ending search for the next interesting commission, the next talented client and the next attempt to pay the bills that never, ever stop arriving.
Of course, I’ll be by my phone and will answer any emails from potential clients that would like to schedule work (you have a project? Contact me). The other thing the blissful, ‘easy-money’ articles forget to tell you … time off is at your own expense.