Saturday, November 7, 2009

Freelance Heartaches

Yesterday, I accessed my voice mail to be greeted by this message from a relative in Denver:

"I just called to see if your fat butt got a job!"

It is odd to me that there are those who do not consider freelance projects to be actual work. (Then again, I have a sibling who swears I have "never done a day's work" in my life, which calls into question, I guess, the judge rather than the one being judged.) to work from home amid the daily distractions of everyday living requires a special kind of discipline. It is imperative to enjoy the work being done, to find fulfillment in it--otherwise, the insidious beckoning of those dishes piled up in the dishwasher, the three loads of laundry waiting to be tackled, or that favorite rerun of Masterpiece Theatre or The Gilmore Girls prove impossible to ignore.

Truly, this is not the best option for everyone. Many need the structure of a "typical nine-to-five". I have one long-time acquaintance who actually rents office space on a busy downtown street because, "I just can't spend all that time alone in front of the computer. I need to be able to see and hear that rat race as I type."

To each his own....

Still, the selling point for choosing the freelance option (at least for me) is the flexibility it affords. The truth is, I am probably a more grueling (and critical) taskmaster than any boss or supervisor ever could be. The constant reminders of the mundane projects baked up behind me provide the incentive necessary to keep me on track and progressing at a brisk pace.
Being, furthermore, one of those irksome perfectionists who needs to get everything done ahead of time, working independently does not pose a problem for me.

Knowing when to call it a day, however, does.

As much as I love Colorado, my body has yet to bounce back from the transition. This last week, I must say, has been--as a result--an absolute killer! If one can picture a near-forty woman huddled beneath a coverlet banging away at her laptop as she all but convulses with chills, he (or she) has a pretty doggone good mental image of me. In some ways, much was accomplished: in other ways, I feel as though I am falling steadily behind. All the same, I have adored every minute of it. Working on such a wide range of different projects (spanning so many different literary forms and disciplines) is never boring. In fact, it thrills me. And, being at the mercy of no one's schedule but one's own (for the most part) is to me a beautiful thing.

Even if it means that others think my "fat butt" (all the better to sit at my computer with, my dear) isn't holding down an actual "job."

So, for all you freelance writers, editors, and ghostwriters out there, never let anyone compel you to feel as though your work, your time, your efforts are of any less value than anyone else's just because you chose to meet your deadlines in a baby-doll nightie and fuzzy Eeyore slippers. The quality of written work stands, regardless of the conditions under which that work was completed; thus and therefore, my friends...

Just keep writing, ya'll.

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