You Know You’re A Freelancer When…

by Vicki Notaro

Today marks my one month anniversary as a freelance writer. And do you know what? It’s been a great month. I’ve been published in several very nice papers and magazines, and there are a few more lovely ones to come in the coming weeks. I’ve been on telly a few times, and blabbing away on the radio. Apparently, I look rested, which is always nice to hear.

However, I always have the fear that the commissions are going to dry up and I’ll be destitute. I go out midweek thinking I’ll be grand and forgetting that I still have to actually work the next day – The Fear and a deadline do not mix. I keep telling people “Oh it’s going great, I hope it’s not just beginner’s luck and that I can keep up the momentum.” – I should really sew that one on a t-shirt. And instead of pleasing one editor, I have to please several, all at the same time. Oh, and convincing my family I didn’t give up my job for nothing is fun. NAAAAHHT.

So all in all, while I’m feeling good and have no regrets, I have seen the darker side of this freelancing lark, and copped that it’s not quite as idyllic as most staffers imagine. However, it is pretty feckin’ great, and at this point I wouldn’t change it for the world. And hey! I have time to write blog posts like this one – with tongue firmly in cheek, of course.

You Know You’re A Freelancer When…

1. You regularly offend people. You may think you don’t have to answer to anybody when you’re freelance and you’d be right – but every potential commissioner is judging you on your Twitter feed. Whoops! *delete, delete, delete*.

2. You buy extra highlighters and keep the receipt because you write them off in 18 months. #winning.

3. There is never any food in the house. Even if you buy all the food in the world.

4. The postman judges you for being in your pyjamas at 10am when taking a delivery of face creams.

5. Ditto with couriers at 2pm. But they’re NOT actually pyjamas. They’re “house clothes” and my dogs think I look great.

6. You begin to think Ray Darcy is your best friend. Or boyfriend even. And Maired Farrell your feisty sidekick.

7. You try and get involved in conversations between Grace Dent, Caitlin Moran and India Knight on Twitter. Y’know, cos you’re all in the same boat.

8. You take regular breaks to watch Sex and the City “for inspiration”, and then berate yourself for falling for Carrie’s fictional lifestyle.

9. People tell you that you look really rested. Duh, it’s because you spent two hours on your make-up “for a review”. And slept until 10.30am.

10. Your self-promotion reaches new heights on social networks, and everyone starts to ignore you after inital choruses of “Woohoo, go you!”.

11. Everybody is schmooze-worthy. Everybody. Yes, even you.

12. You pitch a REALLY good idea, and then freak out when it’s commissioned, because now you have to actually write it without offending anybody/giving your mother a heart attack.

13. You keep saying “When I get paid…”

14. All you ever want is a travel feature so you can go on bloody holidays and not feel like a total slacker.

15. Your boyfriend secretly thinks because you work from home, you are now a 1950s housewife and resents coming home to a greasy, caffeinated laptop-slave.

16. You get business cards printed up and then forget to give them to anybody.

17. People ask you what you’re up to and you begin to ream off work in progress until you see their eyes glaze over.

18. Leaving the house seems like a terrible inconvenience. Unless it’s to go to a lig, of course.

19. You change your Twitter bio regularly to reflect what metaphorical professional hat you’re wearing that day. I nearly added “relationships expert” to mine because a radio station called me one three times.

20. You swear that next week, you’ll start that routine you’ve been banging on about.

21. Commissioning editors take out a restraining order against you. LOL, JK. Ahem.

22. You do that jokey thing where you’re all like “Oh, do you want to commission me? HAHAHA”. And you’re DEAD. SERIOUS.