Let’s talk for a minute (and really, I only have a minute) about freelancing, or contract work, or being your own boss, or whatever you want to call it. When I quit my full-time job to freelance four years ago, I had all manner of sunny, idealistic thoughts about choosing the direction of my career, about handpicking the most interesting projects I could find to pay the bills while scheduling plenty of time to write fiction. Although I can say that my freelance life has largely been successful in that I’ve done some interesting projects and haven’t gone broke, that happy vision hasn’t exactly worked out. Instead my life looks more like this:
- I realize the projects I’m working on are about to end. Then I email everyone I know who has any connection to the publishing industry or who may have writing projects, looking for new jobs.
- I take on a few projects that I know I can complete, based on the due dates for said projects to arrive on my desk and the dates they are due back to the client.
- I watch helplessly as the dates somehow inevitably get screwed up (and not by me). Or I come to find that the job description I was given does not in fact cover the amount of time or manner of work I’m expected to do.
- I find myself with mountains of work to tackle at once instead of having reasonably spaced-out work that one person could actually accomplish in a normal work week. This is interspersed with times of having almost nothing to do, as in about two hours of work a week.
That brings us to today, when I’m quickly writing this post because I have a bunch of stuff to proofread and barely enough time to do it. On one hand, I feel lucky to have the work; after the MA Independent Contractor Law was enforced a couple of years ago, a lot of my jobs dried up. But on the other hand, I don’t like being in the position of working for a few hours every night after my son goes to bed when I’ve been careful enough to space out my workload so that I can (theoretically) get it done during the day. Anyone else out there have this problem? When I don’t even have the time to stop and eat canned beans with Liz Lemon like a cowboy, that’s not a good sign.
But on that note, back to work. Those beans aren’t free.