Monday, October 19, 2009

Solitude, Attitude, Fortitude

Who would have thought that this simple business of freelance work could become so very frustrating--not to mention complicated?!?!?

When I first mentioned the intention to "work from home," the response was usually, "You'll never get anything done: too many distractions." According to the general consensus, I would find myself--rather than knuckling under and focusing on the task at hand--flipping on the television, meandering to the kitchen for tea, finishing up that never-ending list of household chores (which always seems much easier to tackle in solitude). I would never, I was warned, get any real work accomplished.

Little did I suspect that the opposite would be the case! All too often, I find myself up at three p.m. still tapping away at the keys, certain that were I to put even the simplest thing off, it would somehow fail to get done. Perhaps this would not be so bad, if one does not happen to be one of those infuriatingly perfection-driven souls who cannot settle for a good job...or even a great job...but must always strive to surpass even The Best.

(For the record, compulsive people don't have any sense of moderation, ya'll.)

Yes, the freedom to earn my daily bread barefoot, stretched out on the carpet in a tank top in shorts is definite thrill. Alright: to be blunt, it is downright additive. At this point when a client suggest Skype, addtional face-to-face meetings, or other scenarios which require putting an actual brush to my hair and donning adult attire, every cell within my body has a tendency to actually CRINGE.

Yes, I'm utterly spoiled, people.

Even so, the casual environment tends to urge me to be more fastidious rather than less so. With the work staring at me constantly, the temptation to "just push through" is nearly impossible to escape; thus, I finding myself working longer hours, obsessing over finer details than I would were I putting in the traditional 9 to 5 in someone else's office.

This is my name on the line, after all!

My reputation is at stake.

And, there is no one to take the blame for that un-dotted "i" or uncrossed "t" but ME!

Additionally, with the children away, there are few (if any) diversions from the lure of the computer screen. Left on my own, it is easy to forgo such inconveniences as...say...eating, sleeping, or taking a breather in the interest of "just getting this one LAST paragraph edited."

Even now, as I find myself taking on the task of "writing coach" (or, as somewhat facetiously retitled by the client) "developmental editor" to an individual whose solemn belief is that the "more the merrier" (as opposed to my staunch, heartfelt position that "too many cooks spoil the soup) with regards to the number of editors, coaches, and contributors invited "on board," I catch myself putting in more work, more effort, more time than the project (and pay for the project) should entail.

The writer in me is so fiercely protective of the artist's "voice" that I find myself examining then re-examining elements of style in order to make sure--in my corrections, suggestions, and general notations--that I am not imposing my own will upon the client, injecting my own literary preferences and tendencies into another person's work.

Even when taking a project I dislike...


Such as this one.

It isn't that I lack faith in the manuscript itself. The individual has taken a timely, undeniably pertinent topic and examined it in such a way that would be (and will be) of particular interest, given the times. The problem, unfortunately, is that I am not, when it comes to writing and/or editing, a team player, by any means; nor do I like the constant contradiction of my work by others. In my mind, I'm pretty doggone good at what I do; as such, the repeated interjection of seemingly less qualified influences--quite frankly--sets my blood t'boilin'!

I can't work that way.

Better to make my contributions then step away as the finished piece is reformed, refinished, and re-evaluated by some unknown entity I shall never meet offering opinions I shall never hear!

Why, then, am I working so diligently on a project from which I have already disassociated myself.

Yes, even after explaining to the writer my position--making it clear that after the agreed-upon trial read-through, it seemed advantageous to all concerned if we parted company--I cannot, somehow, let the whole thing go. Having signed on, even if under false notions of the capacity in which my services would be required, the perfectionist in me just can't leave a task--any task--undone.

Ergo, the only course of action is to--in my solitude--adopt a no-nonsense attitude summon up the fortitude to strike that ever-elusive balance between a job well-done...and a job overdone.

Any suggestions??????????????????