What freelancing is really like

This is a picture of books and one DVD on my bed.


They represent some of the research for four different nonfiction projects I’m currently working on as an editor or author, for four different publishers.

It does not include the fiction that I’m also currently working on.

They are on my bed because my desk looks like this:


This represents all the other stuff going on in my life:

  • Fabric for the trim of a dress for my daughter
  • A new Lego set we’re all itching to start, but can’t because of the other Lego sets we haven’t finished yet
  • Piles of papers of research, school forms, and things that need to be mailed
  • The laptop because sometimes I need to reference something on another screen
  • A copy of Essence that I will probably never get around to reading
  • Notice the phone over to one side for cold calling or following up on leads or rescheduling the dog’s vet appointment

Despite the bajillion projects on deck, I’m not stressed (not today anyway). Every day, my plan is the same: I work on two or three projects, and don’t think about the other ones. Fiction, of course, does not conform, so I wind up opening up notes documents to jot things down, or I use one of two notebooks for ideas that I may (and probably will) forget.

There are days I feel I’m not working fast enough, or I wish I could finish one thing and have it off my plate. Some days I really beat myself up over this. Some afternoons I feel burned out and watch reruns of Star Trek: TNG. Some mornings I sit in the back yard and read while the dog runs around.

Most days I feel pretty happy to be doing what I do.

Almost every day I have new ideas for things I want to write and almost every day I’m willing to consider taking on someone else’s project.

So if you’re not hearing from me lately, you know why.

5 thoughts on “What freelancing is really like

  1. melanie.b.michaud says:

    I really would love to get into freelancing! It seems like something I would highly enjoy. Too bad everyone asks for experience!

  2. Tracey says:

    Melanie, freelancing can be great, but yes, breaking in is tough. You should keep trying though.
    Gwen, I’m sure your desk does! I really try to keep the mess at bay, but it usually looks like this despite my best efforts.

  3. Tracey says:

    Finding time to write is difficult in the best situations. Add to that a young family, a pet or two, full- or part-time work and it becomes nearly impossible to string together five whole minutes, but when you can, it’s totally worth it.

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