Rolling with the punches freelance style

By nature, I’m a routine driven kind of girl. I’m not saying I can’t deviate from the plans every now and then, but overall I find it easier when I have some idea of what’s coming ahead. I don’t know about you, but if it’s a workday, I want time to get into the mindset, and if it’s a day off, I want to be able to savour the thought of it beforehand. I do not hate a little forward planning now and then (although the big stuff, the life planning stuff, that can take a running jump).

Routine desk style

So the thing about the kind of life I’m leading at the moment, is that it’s not a very forward planning kind of life. Predicting when I’ll need to work and when I won’t is tough, because it’s not controlled by a pay check but is instead at the behest of clients, and we all know the fits of whimsy they are susceptible to.

Then there’s the real reason I gave up a full time job, because I wanted to be available to take chances on and enjoy things I wouldn’t when I was tied to someone else’s hours. While this freedom is wonderful, it goes against my natural inclinations pretty strongly. Sometimes I find myself tussling over how great and experience will be and how much it’s going to disturb my made up routine.

When the sense of adventure wins, it’s more than worth it. The other week, Fin and I went to see two shows on relatively short notice – The Bone Yard and 2401 Narratives which were both grand in very different ways. Then there was an already planned visit to Literary Death Match, a last minute decision to travel through for the always excellent Words Per Minute – all shows well worth re-jigging plans for.

But the thing that got me musing on his topic is really the way my plans have shifted in the last 24 hours – in which I agreed to help set up a short story event, fill in a last minute slot reading at Nights at the Circus tomorrow and attend a fabulous looking scientific creative writing workshop run by the delightful Tania Hershman on Friday morning. All of which I wouldn’t have been able to do this time last year, what a lucky SOB I feel at the moment.

Rolling with the punches might not always be the easiest, but damn does it help you get the best out of freelance life. If you see my whinging about my plans being upset, please do feel free to kick me in the shins.

A relatively news-free update

For the last week or so I’ve been having trouble remembering what day it is. This is a sure sign I’ve been too busy, but as much as I’d like to step back and get my bearings again, there just isn’t any time for it right now.

I took on a bunch of freelance work in preparation for the long hoped for day when I cut my work hours. Unfortunately this will have a drastic impact on my salary do I’ve been trying to save/stockpile money. I’d be doing better at this if I didn’t keep getting lured in into bookshops… I’m also spending a bit of cash attending various readings and writing events, but I consider all of that money well spent.

Tonight Ink and I are nipping through to Glasgow for a natter with writery and comicy types (fun times) and tomorrow I’m off to Oxford to give a day of copy training on Friday (nerve wracking times).

Then next week I’m going to head off to Manchester for a night to take part in the Flash Mob Literary Salon where I’m planning to read my shortlisted story and meet lots of lovely writers.

After that, I’m planning to sleep for a few days then get back to my early morning writing regime. I decided to take a break from it this week and just get up at the normal time to try and avoid sleep deprivation, but it’s making me feel super nervous already. If anyone has plans to invent some kind of magic machine that will squeeze more hours into the day, please do tell.

Balancing a blamanche on a stick (or squeezing a writing life into a regular one)

Writing is awesome. There’s a bit of a moan about several things up ahead, so I wanted to start off this post reiterating that.

That feeling when a story starts to finally come together? Priceless.
The moments when you’re trying to cram writing into a life that’s already fit burst? Fairly expensive.

So the writing part still feels great, but all the time you’re busy doing other, less enjoyable, so often seems to add up to far more. I’m so jealous of anyone who’s managed to hit a good balance here, who doesn’t feel as though they are propping their life up on a stick and watching it slop and slide about to threaten to fall off in one big pink, gooey explosion.

This girl’s gotta work and, most recently, do stuff like organise a new place to live. And then there’s the need to at least making a passing appearance at social functions every now and then. As well as checking in with the family to prove continued existence. Of course, if you’ve got your own kids this list must just multiply like crazy.

But it’s not only non-writing tasks that eat into your precious time-savings, there’s also all those hours that might go into a website, blog or online network, as well as the actual real life literary meet-ups that crop up every now and then.

Between living a relatively normal life and trying to make a few friends in the writing world, it’s pretty difficult to find time to do that awesome thing you’re always wanting to do. But it’s not like there’s much room for cutting back – you already turn down a bunch of invites, you need to pay your rent and if you don’t go to any lit events you’re not doing a great job of supporting the cause.