As my regular readers will know, I accidentally became a bona fide freelancer earlier this year when I secured a fixed-term, three-days-a-week contract at the Albany theatre in London. That contract will now run until the end of June, so I will have had at least six months of experiencing life as a freelancer. My Thursdays and Fridays have also been largely taken up with more freelance work, or work-related things. This last week, however, I had nothing on for those two days.
Deciding I may as well enjoy the perks that come with being a freelancer, I totally embraced the luxury of not having to work when the rest of the world is wilting away in the office (moohahaha). Had a bit of a lie-in; did some household chores I had been putting off for ages; did some washing; went food shopping; and then I headed to my favourite coffee bar to do some letter writing. My friend Anita and I have been writing letters since we were 15 and going to the same school (I think/hope I still have all of her letters, and somewhere on my Life Tasks list is to find, re-read and order them all). We now write to each other INCREDIBLY sporadically, but getting a real letter in the post remains an unrivalled pleasure – so long may our sporadic correspondence continue. In any case, sitting in a cafe writing a letter on a Thursday afternoon scores pretty highly in terms of slow living/mindfulness/generally savouring life. I can recommend it.
It wasn’t all about lounging around in coffee bars, though: I also put together a proposal to provide some crowdfunding consultancy and, after my proposal was accepted, spent some time preparing a contract and writing a draft plan. A very useful exercise, from working out what to charge to specifying exactly what I can deliver. Strange, in a way, to suddenly call myself a consultant. The thing is, I am not a blagger: I’m completely rubbish at pretending I can do something when I can’t, or pretending to know about something when I’m really clueless. So when I call myself a consultant, I am basically confident that I have something to offer and that what I have to offer is worth paying for. Compared to where I was last year, and how I felt about myself work-wise, I have clearly come a long way.
So, on the freelance front, so far so good. I’ve been working almost full-time, with odd days off here and there which I’ve been mostly enjoying without freaking out over having to find work. I’m still unsure about the instability of freelance life, particularly things like not getting paid when you’re ill (*TOUCH WOOD* thankfully I hardly ever get ill) and being responsible for taxes and pensions and all that kind of thing. But I feel quite lucky to be able to experience freelancing in what is a largely positive and confidence-building way. And when I do get a free day every now and again, I’m going to spend it well.