Monday, July 6, 2009

Overcoming Summer Freelance Writing Hurdles

Reading Sharon Hurley Hall's recent post made me feel a little better about neglecting my blog this summer. Not that that's a good thing, because it certainly isn't; but truth be told I am desperately seeking balance between operating my business and family obligations this summer.

Working on the run

My three older kids are all taking classes to prepare them them for the next grade this year. This involves a whole lot of riding up and down the highway from sun up to sun down. As a freelancer this isn't such a bad thing for business since I can easily work in remote locations (e.g. the doctor's office, the car, the park, the yard, etc.) on my trusty Neo Dana; but since I'm being stretched a little further than usual for the next month and a half, something's got to give and unfortunately it's been this blog.

A freelancer is NOT an employee

I recently found myself explaining to a client who has grown used to seeing me show up as "available" on Skype during his regular office hours that yes, I am still working this summer, but no, I am not always sitting at the computer. He seemed concerned over this, despite the fact that his projects are still being turned in on time and that he can easily reach me by phone or email with no problems.

Without being rude I gently reminded him that I'm not an employee, I'm a freelancer. That means if a client gives me a project, it will most certainly get done whether I work on it from nine to five or stay up all night. Same as always.

Relief is on the way

Thankfully, City of Atlanta schools begin August 10th so my schedule will be "back to normal" before I know it - whatever that means. I'm curious to know how other freelance writing parents maintain their sanity during the summer months. Do you make any special adjustments to your working schedule?


Lori said...

It's the illusion a lot of clients harbor, Kimberly. I had one woman go ape when I didn't have an AIM account (I do, but it was clear at that point giving it to her would be a tragic mistake). She tried hunting me down during my daughter's graduation party - I told her five days prior I wouldn't be around, but she figured since SHE was working, I should be, too.

Had another client who expected I'd be working through Labor Day weekend and was shocked when I said I wouldn't be. What? NOT be at her beck-and-call? That's right - I'm paid to freelance, not be your substitute staffer.

Admin said...

Yes! I hear a lot of freelancers deal with this very same issue. I'm like you Lori; I see lots of freelancers including their Skype, AIM and other IM handles in their signature, but it seems like a recipe for trouble to me.

Sharon Hurley Hall said...

I think it's really important to set limits on your availability. I have no problem saying I'm not available (and sometimes it's good for clients to know that there are other demands on your time).

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