Monday, December 15, 2008

A Freelance Writing Mom's Panic: Thanks a lot, Winter Break!

I don't know about you, but I'm completely snowed under with freelance writing projects right now. Yes, I consider it a good thing, but after trying to wrap up the biggest ones by this coming Friday, I finally realize it's not going to happen. I'm faced with another week of working furiously on a plate full of projects, only this time there will be four kids ranging in age from two to seven testing the little bit of mental balance I have left right now.

Next time, plan ahead

Now I knew this was coming, and I know what it's like to work while my kids are home all day – begging for never ending snacks, arguing about who did/said/took what from whom, whining about being bored, disagreeing over what to watch on TV – fun, fun, fun.

What to do, what to do...

Clearly I can't neglect my freelance writing clients, but I can't neglect my kids for two whole weeks either. The only solution I've come up with is to wake up at least two hours earlier than everyone else so that I can get a good head start on work. That should allow me to set aside some time to spend hanging out with the kids, and then get back to work later in the evening for a couple of hours.

A wahm's challenge

Working from home is not as easy as it sounds. You have to keep yourself motivated, on task, and there are so many distractions that pop up unexpectedly. To find out more about how to make working from home work better for you, check out Deb Ng's recent post.


Jamie said...

I'm discovering that working from home is quite a challange. I'm snowed in with my four elves ranging in age from 11 months to 13 years. I was just pondering how to structure my day to get (paid) work done. Early mornings, naps, and late nights are my friends.

Kimberly Ben said...

Hi Jamie,

Sounds like you've really got your hands full - and snowed in to boot!:-)

I'm not really a morning person - at all. Since I lean toward being a nightowl, staying up still 4am is a piece of cake for me, but I really pay for it when I need to get up and function for my little ones.

But since I've committed to getting up earlier before everyone each morning I'm a lot more productive. I'm really going to try to stick with this new schedule. Good luck with your business!:-)

Lori said...

Any way you could farm some of it out, Kimberly? When I'm overwhelmed, I have a select few I send work to. I keep 10 percent and they get the rest. Small price to pay for some peace!

Kimberly Ben said...

Lori, the funny thing is that was the plan with one of the projects, however a "third party" has been asking me to do a lot of rewrites, and I wuld have a hard time sending this out to another writer, then getting it back and having to edit and rewrite again.

This project was suposed to be a very simple one, but has turned into something I really should have charged them more to complete. I should be done by next Tuesday if I stay on my current schedule so I suppose that's not too bad considering.

Lori said...

Wow, I hear you. I just finished (this afternoon) an "easy" job that took me two months. It was easy, but the lack of communication and planning by the clients had me chasing my own tail.

Are the revisions due to the client changing his mind? If so, I'd have no problem saying "Look, this has shot well beyond both my estimate and my available time frame. Let's either wrap this up now or talk about a renegotiated rate." I suspect this is someone you're not afraid to lose.

Kimberly Ben said...


This is a bigger project than this client has had before. Basically I'm wqriting web copy for a portal -110 pages. My usual contact person justs trusts me to get it done right, however, his partner is also a copywriter, so it's becoming a bit like how it must be for a doctor to treat another doctor as his patient-lol.

I had to put my foot down about the constant rewrites because (1) I have a limit on rewrites in my contract and (2)It was starting to take me away from my other clients (which is why my blog has been woefully neglected). They were good natured about it and have since backed off considerably.

I'm learning a lot about communication. It's really important to anticipate as much as you can before working with certain clients. A crystal ball would come in real handy.:)

Kathryn said...

Kids and consistent work can be a rough combination. I homeschool my three boys and it's usually fine - the last two weeks of constant rain has made it tough to get anything done. Early morning hours and lots of coffee have become my constant companions!

Kimberly Ben said...

Oh, Kathryn, I DO admire you! I was homescholing up until this year. I LOVED homeschooling, but found it hard for me to keep up with schooling and my project demands, so I put my kids in school this year for the first time. I was very nervous about it, but they seem to be doing fine - I console myself with the knowledge that I can always go back to homeschooling if things don't work out.

I'm with you 100% on the early morning routine. I am getting SO much done now, and I'm slowly becoming a real early riser!:)Thanks for stopping by to comment.

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