Yes, with qualifications.
A lot of people have this image when they think of a freelance lifestyle:
They think it’s all weekdays brunches and writing on a sunny moor somewhere and quiet midday Woolies trips where you can have long conversations with your favourite checkout chick, Mildred, about her back pain and jerk grandchildren.
In a way they are right. But you know what they don’t know?
These perks are UTTER NECESSITIES IN ORDER TO STAY AFLOAT IN THE GREAT JAGGED TROUGH OF A FREELANCE WRITING LIFE.
This is a more realistic image of a freelance lifestyle, and yes that is pyjamas at 7.00pm:
Welcome to A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer, And Now See If You Like It So Much:
7.30am: wake up. What a great time to wake up. Everyone’s at work and the day is MINE to write ALL THE THINGS!
I sure have a lot to write, because I don’t like saying no, and I have a lot of inspiring collaborators, and I would like to achieve many things before I die!
8:00am: Better do something outdoors before a day in front of my computer!
It’s time for joyful invigorating park-time, featuring dog-stalking, cardio fitness and my new patented “sit on a bench and do breathing exercises til calmness and The Muse descend like some sort of slow-flapping heron on the banks of Lake Innisfree”.
This is a great hour for the freelancer.
9:30am: is there a new episode of The Mindy Project to watch, while I eat some sort of high-protein leisurely breakfast?
This shit is great research for being a Sassy Comedy Lady in the Modern World and so I often rewind and note down importantly lines to sear them into my brain for future just-in-cases.
10:30am: OH GOD OH GOD I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO OH GOD WHY HAVE I LEFT IT SO LONG OH GOD TIME TO GET TO WORK.
1.30pm: Well! At least half that time at my computer was productive, and the other half was looking for backpacks on sale that I put in my Checkout Basket but never actually buy!
It’s time to go to my local shopping centre and make the important SUSHI vs FRESH VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS vs DO I JUST MAKE A SALAD decisions.
This takes a while and it is not to be taken lightly.
Luckily Mildred is there to advise on my purchasing decisions (“they make milk out of BEANS now!)
2.30pm: OH GOD OH GOD I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO AND I JUST SAID YES TO SOMETHING ELSE WORK BITCH WORK WORK WORK YOU COULD DIE TOMORROW YOU KNOW
4:00pm: You know what they say about the muse?
Sometimes the muse is a fucking bitch.
On any given day, the muse might desert you and the only way to work through your current creative roadblock is to:
a) go back to the park and stare at dogs while calm-breathing til a solution appears,
b) lie on your back for 2 hours until you either fall asleep and dream the answer (A DINING TABLE MADE OF SKELETONS), or it comes to you mid-slack-jawedceiling-stare.
5.15pm: My housemates start returning home.
We discuss our days. Theirs involve interactions with human beings.
Mine are things like “I realised I have one weird toenail” or “I swear that pitbull on Lord St laughed at me like a cruel, mocking human.”
6:00pm: EAT SOMETHING EAT ANYTHING EAT CARDBOARD JUST GET IT DOWN AND GET BACK TO WORK YOU FOOL
Continue until 10 or 11pm and then fall asleep.
And here’s what I’m really getting to, non-freelancers.
You know how you get home from work and go “woooo whata day, Jeff sure was a dickhead at the water-cooler, ooh strategies and human resources woo, time to flick on Real Housewives and see if Brandi Glanville is still her honest self despite the bastards trying to get her down”?
Your non-work time is YOUR TIME TO ENJOY because you are FAR AWAY FROM WORK. You might need to check some emails or return a call, but you are not needed until 9am tomorrow. You are free.
Freelancers have the constant knowledge that we still have heaps of work to do. Always, always heaps of work to do. And our desk with all the means to do that work is sitting right above our heads.
And the desk has a long bendy neck like Horatio Hornblower in that movie, and it cranes that neck out the window of our study and down the front of our houses and right into the window that our TV-watching-couch sits next to.
And every time we shift a little on the couch to LOL at a Housewifeism or eat another handful of Pringles from the Pringles that our housemate didn’t say we could eat, but we’re all friends here, right, we see that desk.
We eyeball each other all night. It shakes its long mahogany head at us.
We gulp, and we understand.
It might be 9-5 for everyone else, what a way to make a living, but not for us, Freelancers. Not for us at all.
So, Would Jess Like Freelance Lifestyles?
Yes, she would. I don’t have to squish onto trains, I can eat fucking huge lunches, and I get so much dog into my working day that it’s kind of a joke.
But is it a little more tiring, stressful and intellectually rigorous than it sounds? Is it hard to justify “nap time” as a creative endeavour? And will that Mr Fantastic desk of yours ever drop the motherfucking eye contact? No.
So, tread carefully my friends. And get back to work.