Thursday, April 20, 2006
The frustrations of freelancing
I have to admit it: as much as I love freelancing, not everything is absolute bliss. There are a few frustrations that just seem to come with the territory.
Editors can be such a pain in the @ss. I apologize to any editors who might be reading this, but it's true - I have run across a few different editors that simply make everything far more difficult than it should be! I'm talking about problems more than simply being very demanding - which some editors are. What I'm talking about is stuff like demanding editors who also pay very little and think you'll still do anything for your cookie and a byline... Editors who think that if they don't have an answer for you, the best thing to do is not answer at all... And so on.
My worst editor story of all, however, has to do with a certain editor who sent my query back to me with a handwritten note voicing her interest in the story I proposed. As I settled down to do some research, however, I realized that in the lag time between when I sent my query, and when the editor responded, the publication had already run a very similar story. Confused, I emailed the editor and asked if she wanted me to continue...at which point she claimed that she rejected my query.
I understand that editors are busy, but hey, so are writers! Just think of what a waste of time that could have been, had I not happened to look at the most recent edition of the magazine!
Other people in my life just don't seem to understand that even though I work at home, I still work. Some weeks, I just seem to get so little done, because everyone wants a piece of my time. It can be so frustrating, especially when the paychecks come in...or don't come in, as the case may be. And it's definitely harder than you'd think to tell people, "Hey, I need to work." It's easy to tell myself, I need a break... And before I quite know what's happened, half of the week is gone and nothing has gotten done.
Which brings me to another frustration...
Sometimes I just don't seem to understand that even though I work at home, I still work. I don't think I can quite term it writer's block - procrastination, denial, etc. seems more of an apt way to describe it. There are times when I seem to forget that I have to work and earn money... I just get so caught up in being able to sleep in and work on other stuff on my list that it escapes me why I'm home in the first place.
The high points are nice, but the low points suck. It's really nice when I'm doing well - when I have lots of work to keep me busy, and lots of income to keep my budget happy - but it can be really depressing when there is a shortage of work (or lots of stuff that interfere with work, like moving did).
I've gotten out of the habit of punching a clock. I'm serious - it's not always a good thing to be able to sleep in as you please, work in whatever clothes you feel like, and work wherever you feel like. I've literally gotten out of the habit of being a part of society; I feel like I could easily become a hermit, if it wasn't for the coffee shops and such. Dressing in jeans and a nice shirt actually seems painful at times, as used to working in my sweats or pajamas as I've gotten. Some days, the thought of going anywhere in the car - even if only to run a simple errand - is met with reluctance so strong that going against it is actually painful.
Yet, despite the drawbacks, I love freelancing. I wouldn't give it up for anything. All of these frustrations seem minor in the scope of things. Editors may be a pain sometimes, but I can choose who I work for with much more freedom than if I had a full-time job - and, good God, no editor could ever be as horrible as my last boss was. The responsibility of having to tell other people - and myself - that I need to work has to be weighed against the freedom to go out instead when I really want or need the break. As for my hermit tendencies - well, I still wouldn't trade in my relaxed schedule for a nine-to-five deal, even if it made me into the most stunning example of a social butterful.
Let's face it: freelancing may have its hangups, but for those of us who are suited to deal with them, the benefits make it heaven.