RSS Feed

  1. There are lots of things I love about freelancing: the ability to choose my own hours and work on projects I’m actually interested in, being my own boss with no-one else telling me what to do, the two minute commute from upstairs to my office next to the kitchen, being able to start work in my jim-jams if I want to...  (I don’t, but you get the picture).  Above all, it’s a more relaxed way of working than the tedious 9 to 5.


    As with most things though, there’s a downside (or several).  There are no paid holidays or sick pay.  If I’ve booked a holiday, I know I’ll be working right up until the last minute to get ahead with my work (but I know this also applies to friends who are employed in small businesses).  If I’m ill, I have to catch up very quickly or miss out on work.  I also know that very few people these days have a secure job, but as a freelancer, I have to cope with this insecurity on a daily basis.  This leads to a problem shared by many freelancers: I very rarely turn down work unless I physically can’t do it within the deadline, as I never know when the next commission will appear. 


    In the current economic climate, magazines and newspapers are closing or scaling down their overheads, and as a result, staff writers are being made redundant left, right and centre.  They then turn freelance themselves, so there are more freelance writers than ever competing for less available work.  One of the magazines I was writing for regularly has closed (although it had already been reduced to a four times a year publication).  Another, to which I was contributing monthly features, now only wants them every two months. 


    This all plays havoc with my cashflow, but worst of all is having to chase payments when they are overdue.  Most of the publications or clients I write for are very prompt payers, but occasionally invoices are paid late when, for instance, they are not passed on to the accounts department in time for the monthly payment run.  Many still pay by cheque, instead of bank transfer, so the length of time the post is taking to reach me at the moment has also caused problems (thank you Royal Mail…).


    One thing’s for sure, being a freelancer will never make you popular with your bank manager!  Having said all this, the positives of freelancing definitely outweigh the negatives and if you’re looking for a better quality of life, you can’t beat it as a way to make a living.
    Bookmark and Share






  2. As a freelance writer, my life is full of deadlines: for writing articles, doing research, sourcing images etc.  For some people, this would be the stuff of nightmares but for me, it works…usually.  It means I can plan ahead, working out what I need to do and by when.  In the fourteen years I’ve been freelancing, I’ve never once missed a deadline, even when I was juggling writing with a full-time job.  It’s the first golden rule you learn as a freelance writer: editors need reliable freelancers who can deliver on time when they say they will.  Missing a deadline would be tantamount to the kiss of death on a freelance career.


    You would think these deadlines would give my working day some sort of structure and keep me on task.  Usually they do, but it’s the self-imposed deadlines I have a problem with.  They’re the ones when I’m trying to work ahead and set myself a target to finish an article by the end of the day, even though it’s not due in for two weeks or so.  The trouble is I have to do a lot of research on the Internet, and there’s almost always something which distracts me from what I’m actually supposed to be looking for. 


    Whole mornings can go by without me having done anything productive.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?  I find myself reading the Guardian news pages and Strictly gossip, or looking at houses on Right Move, my book rankings on Amazon or other writers' blogs - anything other than the task in hand.  It’s even started to filter into time when I should be writing articles which don’t need any Internet research, so much so that I’ve resorted to writing them longhand well away from a computer to give myself a headstart.


    To keep on top of things, I’m trying to be more disciplined about my work, starting and finishing as I would if I was in an office.  I had become very lax about this, but oddly enough, I’ve been helped by the overzealous decorator who’s painting our windows at the moment.  He gets here just after 8 in the morning, so now I take our dog Domino out between 8 and 9 to be sure of being at my desk ready to start work at 9.  I fully intend to continue this routine when the decorator has finished.  I’ve also discovered another trick to get myself started in the mornings more quickly – I make sure that I’ve started a piece of writing the afternoon before so that I can pick up where I left off.  Sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it?  Wonder how long it will last…!

    Bookmark and Share