Savvy Freelance Writer

The Craft of Narrative Nonfiction


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Deadlines

hurryI don’t know about you, but my deadlines clump together like objects in a Poisson distribution. Not making sense? Like cars at a toll plaza on the way to the shore when it’s not a Friday afternoon in the summer. There are no cars there and then – wham! – there are twenty cars that came out of nowhere, all jockeying to be the first on the other side. It’s okay because deadlines come with things that are worth doing, whether paid or unpaid, but I often wonder at the way things come in clumps.

Right now I’m working on an article for a publication that only accepts work four times a year. I’m also working on a book proposal that I’m delighted to say I got a reply about within 24 hours. The article ties to the book proposal so I don’t want to let the article slip. Then there’s something I’ve been promising a client for months that I absolutely promised would be done by this same deadline. And then there’s an outline for a book that is due – the first week of March.

The thing that separates the wannabe freelance writers from the ones who are actually freelance writers is that these clumping deadlines bring a rush of terror, followed pretty immediately by a rush of adrenaline. At least that’s the effect these deadlines have on me. They also bring out whatever nascent organizational talents I possess. Frankly, I was a bit overwhelmed at first. The type of overwhelmed that goes with deciding where to start. I mean, how do you prioritize when it’s all important and it’s all pretty much due on the same day?

I decided to stock up on coffee, then go with what I could do well the most quickly and proceed from there. I think that’s the way to go. I’ll let you know next week!

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1 Comment

Chasing the Deadline

The past three days have been a complete scramble, mostly because I’ve been sick. Usually when I’m sick, I work anyway. This time I’ve been sick enough that I can’t think straight. Not a good thing in a writer and certainly not part of my plan for the week.

As a freelance writer, it doesn’t much matter whether or not I’m sick. I have deadlines to meet. I also don’t have a job with sick pay or sick time. But let’s face it, when I did have jobs like that, I had deadlines and bosses who didn’t want me missing deadlines. So pretty much it’s a myth that when you are full-time you take sick days!

I also know I want to keep my clients. Some of them I have good enough relationships with that I can get an extension. Some of them I just started working with don’t know well. It’s all part of the juggling act of working for yourself.

So. Deadlines to meet. A throbbing head. But if I can type this, I can type what I need for them, too.

Time to get to work!