In which a professional writer asks, “I actually have to write during working hours? Whaaaaa?”

Writing between the hours of 9 and 5 is really difficult for me. And it’s taken me six years as a professional, full-time writer to recognize that it’s sort of a problem.

How it has always worked before is that I spent the almighty Designated Working Hours doing all of the writing tasks that are not writing: emailing, scheduling interviews, conducting interviews, editing, researching, invoicing, etc., etc. Actual writing was reserved for the couch, after hours or on the weekends. So that’s what I did.

Read more

A Time for Big Ideas: Freelancing & the 3-day weekend

Having grown up in a small tourist town in Northern Michigan, Memorial Day weekend has always been a different experience for me and mine. Tawasians don’t leave town for three-day weekends. Not only are we already in the kind of place most of the country is escaping to, but often, we work on Memorial Day. A town can’t close down when half the state is visiting. Plus, there’s invariably some parade of indiscernible tone happening that you have to be in or organize or attend.

Read more

Oops: Cash Flow for Freelancers

If you pay tax estimates, you know it’s currently the worst time of year. While everyone else is planning to blow their tax return on a Memorial Day excursion, we have just paid our tax bill for last year and our first quarterly estimate in April, and for some infuriating reason, the second quarter is about to be due in June. So if you made more money last year than the year before–which is everyone’s goal–three huge tax bills are due in a two month span. Hey, IRS, that’s not how you divide 12 into four.

Read more

Freelancing With a Tiny Freeloader: Everything is the same and everything is different

Well, I had a kid. And here I am, back behind my desk, working on the new challenge of keeping a tiny person fed, clothed and housed with the same old task of typing thoughts into the internet. We could segue into the miracle of childbirth here, but everyone has heard that before. Plus, I personally found the experience less miraculous and more a sciencey. Very cool, life-changing, intense science, but it definitely fit more into the scientific marvel than mystic miracle category for me. Not sure why that matters, but there it is.

To me, the real mystic happening is how parenthood changes this, the state of being a freelancer. I am doing, or getting back to doing at least, the same thing I was doing six weeks ago. Filtering my inbox, reaching out to sources, setting up interviews, researching and crafting stories from the results. But my motivations, methods and philosophy around all of it have shifted. Not drastically, but still dramatically; the way a silver of sunlight in the corner of window changes the lighting in an entire house. Here’s how.

Read more

Maternity Stay: Freelancing and parental leave

It’s almost time: I’m about to “go on maternity leave.” Except I’m not “going” anywhere. I’m not “leaving” anything. My work, rather, is leaving me, at my own request. Essentially, I am becoming voluntarily unemployed for several weeks, hoping that when I’m ready, the work will return, like a boomerang I’ve never thrown before. It’s supposed to return. There’s no reason to suspect it won’t. But that’s assuming I executed the throw correctly. On my first try.

Read more