Thursday, May 06, 2010

Coming back is hard to do

As many of you know, I've had a difficult month. Heck, in some ways it's been a difficult year. After force-feeding my cat Prince for 5 months, we had to put him to sleep on April 15th. (Now I have yet another reason to hate Tax Day.) And that was following a week that I completely lost thanks to a burn-induced infection in my hand.

Needless to say, April wasn't a good month. I haven't had the heart to finalize the numbers yet, but preliminary counts show I made only about half of my normal income — which would make sense, considering I was out of commission, either from physical complaints or from grief, for 2 weeks out of the 4 ½ that made up the month of April.

Even though that's all over now — my hand healed long ago, and although I still miss my kitty from time to time, I think about it less frequently and with less intensity than I used to — I'm finding it hard to come back. Even though I technically went back to work on the 19th, I've been working only sporadically since then, with a lot of wasted hours and even days.

Yesterday Lori Widmer wrote a post called Do You Have What It Takes?, meaning what it takes to freelance, of course. I've never doubted that I do — I've never minded working late and pulling the occasional all-nighter in exchange for a more flexible schedule the rest of the time, and that sort of thing. But this last month, I've had to wonder: Do I have what it takes? How have I made it 4 ½ years?

I know it's been a pretty extreme month. Most of the time you aren't going to have an infection in your hand followed by having to put your cat to sleep. But we all know how bad luck can all hit at once. Unfortunately, I'm terrible at planning ahead, and I had no reserve to fall back on. My clients have been pretty understanding, but then again the show must go on, and deadlines must still be met. Sometimes I wonder, if this train is going to keep chugging onward, if it's going to roll me right under the wheels.

I'm curious whether my other full-time freelancing friends have had similar experiences, or if it's just me. Have you ever doubted your decision to freelance? Have you ever wondered how you'll make it through some crisis or another with your career still intact?


Lori said...

Oh Katharine, I'm so sorry to hear about Prince. You've had quite a tough month! I'd guess that's the grief talking, though. You of all people certainly have what it takes. Hang in there, toots.

Kathy@TheFlawlessWord said...

Yes, I strongly questioned if I had what it took during my two-year ordeal with losing four close family members/friends and dealing with some of my own health issues. Somehow I made it through and now I know without a doubt that I can endure anything. Even my dad's extensive heart issues didn't deter me. We all have our ups and downs. Freelancing enables us to wallow in our pity more than an employee position would, but I also think that's a healthier way of dealing with things. You'll be back soon, better and stronger than ever. Allow yourself time to grieve and heal.

Katharine Swan said...

Thanks, Lori and Kathy, and sorry I've been so neglectful of my blog. The good news is that means I've been focusing on client work -- I just can't seem to do everything I used to right now. Client work and my horse and other animals are the important things that I can't neglect, so my blogs have been somewhat neglected. But I'm gradually getting better!


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