Freelance Lessons Learned: sometimes you have to say no!

30 Jun

Well, this has been a month of stress I could have done without! Everything was going well. Lots of jobs coming in. Plenty of work to do. No illness on my part, people out of the house so I had my own working space during the day, the kitten’s settled into a predictable schedule which allows me to get more work done…

And yet, here I sit, on the last day of the month, scrabbling to get two more articles done and knowing I’ve neglected two other projects this past week.

No, I haven’t taken too much on in terms of freelance work. With that, I’m sitting in a pretty comfortable place between “enough that I don’t need to be looking for more” and “giving myself some room to breathe just in case.” Particularly with creative writing classes starting up later in July, I’ve been pacing myself.

What happened this month was a) every child I knew got sick (including my husband) and I was everyone’s back-up child care due to the self-employed nature of my job. Sick kids have to stay home from other child care activities, but often they don’t know they’re sick and spend their time running around like crazy people. Not exactly a lot of time to get some writing done when you’re chasing after a jail break through the backyard waving a sweater and shoes (it’s winter in Australia, you know). Man Flu is even worse.

b) “Can you go to the shops to–” “Can you go to the bank to–” It’s a big problem when facilities are only open during business hours. It’s a huge convenience when I don’t *have* to be anywhere during business hours. Except, of course, to me! I’ve been trying very hard to work 9-5, Monday-Friday, leaving the rest of my time free. These excursions don’t help that at all.

So–sometimes you have to say “no” to the people around you. It’s not that they don’t think you’re working–it just doesn’t seem as obvious when you’re at home all the time. A gentle reminder should suffice (except when a person is afflicted with Man Flu. Then you’re facing a losing battle.)

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