8 April 2011

My week as a freelancer

I've been getting quite a few enquiries lately from people interested in becoming writers, journalists, science comms people and what have you. Not all of them want to become freelancers straight away, but that does often seem to be the long-term aim. The Dream, if you like.

So I thought I'd put together a quick post describing my week, primarily as a link I can send to the people making those enquiries, therefore saving some of my precious freelance time - you know, for sitting around in my Dangermouse pyjamas and stuff - and secondly, to see if people are any more or less interested in becoming freelance once they've heard some real-life details.

Now, first appreciate that I am writing this in a hurry. It's not paid-for so doesn't (can't) take priority. And to add to that, I have a hankering for biscuits so am aiming to finish this in the next ten minutes so that I can run out to Co-op.

As I told one colleague earlier this week, I am currently scheduled to within an inch of my life. Staring at the bit of paper covered in blue highlighter pen constituting my wall planner, I have one "free" day on the 19th April, which I plan to use for overspill. (I am already way behind on three different projects). Also, because I'm getting married in less than a month, all sorts of jobs to do with flowers and fascinators - that I guess other people get on with in their office jobs when they think no one is looking - have been designated to me because I'm freelance and therefore don't have anything really useful to be getting on with...

So, a recap of my week so far. Monday I spent writing a feature article for Chemistry World, and scouring the internet for entomologists who could act as independent experts for a news article I'm writing - sort of in my spare time, because there's no slot for that on my wall planner...

On Tuesday, I had a deadline for an environmental policy article I had written ahead of schedule, on Friday last week. Still, when opening the article for one last check, I couldn't resist doing another full scale edit. That, as well as the coffee I popped out for mid-afternoon, took another hour out of the time I was scheduled to be writing study guides for an environmental health course. Of course, I made up the time later.

Meanwhile, during my evenings, I'd been trying to stitch a seat cover for a chair. On Monday night, after four hours painstakingly pinning, measuring around foam pads, tacking and swearing at my sewing machine, I realised I'd sewn one of the segments on in the wrong place. I won't go into all the detail of how complicated it was to fix this but on Tuesday morning at 8am I decided (after shunning the gym) to finish the thing just so I could stop dwelling on it. Needless to say it took longer than expected and thus another reason I had to work late on Tuesday. But hey, priveleges of being a freelancer - you get to sew seat covers until 10am if you want to. Just don't expect to be able to do so without feeling guilty.

Anyway, Wednesday, I spent writing my study guides. This was, obviously, punctuated by incessant emails about various other writing/communication projects I'm involved with, invoices left, right and centre, and more of the wedding kerfuffle. Still, by Wednesday evening, I was rather pleased with the amount I had achieved and congratulated myself and Mr Hayley with an inspired dinner of pork wrapped in bacon, mash and apple sauce.

Yesterday, I spent all day writing emails to artists involved with Einstein's Garden at Green Man Festival, for which I am the manager of the Solar Stage (a stage powered by the Sun - in Wales... I know!). Oh and at some point I had a nice conversation with science writer Stuart Clark about a new space-based track he's written with his band the Neutron Stars. (Yes, he writes books, he writes songs, he's soooo prolific). We'll be releasing it on the next Geek Pop podcast, which I'll be co-hosting with fellow freelance sci commer Jim next week. That's not on my wall planner either.

And what about today? Well, I did actually go to the gym. I typed up a transcript for an interview before 9am. I wrote a news article - the unscheduled one - and I just finished this blog post. All by midday! Hoorah! Now for those biscuits...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes please, I'll have one of those. How many years of freelancing before one can hope to be as busy as you??

Hayley said...

Ha! From yours and responses on Twitter, it's funny how this inspires some and horrifies others! And in answer to your question: I don't know how, but I've been this busy pretty much the whole time (about four years)...

Vicky West said...

Living the Dream Miss Birch (making the most of this title). You are superhuman! x