I accidentally fell into freelancing before I even knew that’s what it was called. It happened after the life-changing event that’s called ‘motherhood’. I was looking for something to keep my brain active while on maternity leave. I always loved to write and used to moan the lack of time and my partner goes, “Why don’t you use this time to write?” apparently thinking I’d be having heaps of time while looking after a newborn.
After two courses at the Australian Writers Centre and with a four month old in tow, I launched my freelance writing career – and within a few short weeks quickly fell in love with the work and the flexibility. I rode the high that came with seeing my name in print or online each time, or developing great copy for a business – it still doesn’t fail to thrill.
While I loved my marketing job too (I was a marketing co-ordinator for a nutrition company), and the free products I got each month was great, freelancing takes the cherry, the icing heck the entire cake!
Why? Well, bear with me and I’ll tell you shortly.
- I avoid the agonising decisions of what to wear to work
This was especially hard in summer as I was always a season behind and never got around to shopping to stay on trend. Now I just wear what I want to wear, mostly trackies and usually no bra (gasp!) and plop down at my desk every day ready to kick some writing butt. Because I’m not adjusting my trouser or pulling down my top each time, I’m concentrating better on the task at hand.
- I don’t have to suffer small talk and watercooler conversation
I’m not a very social person so chit-chat at work used to drive me a little nuts. I also had to feign interest at the latest doings of someone’s cat or dog (I don’t care people!) at lunchtime when all I wanted was to be left in peace (in the corporate world, that can peg you as unfriendly and anti-social). Now I can have all my meals without other people hanging around (judging my food), and get back to my desk when I want without having to avoid the staff kitchen. Because I’m saving so much time not standing around and chatting, I am usually ahead of most deadlines.
- I’m my own boss and I’m much nicer
Benefit #3 I reckon is one of the best things about being a freelance writer. No longer do I have palpitations if I’m late starting work in the morning, wondering if the boss is already there, and how I can sneak to my desk without being noticed.
I choose my own writing projects and clients instead of doing work I detest (cold calling in the name of market research) and never have to worry that my emails are not written properly or CC’d so the entire world can see every email. I can be as short and sharp as I like in my emails without worrying about email etiquette. I’m also inclined to take a sick day off instead of plugging away at the computer, leaving snot all over the keyboard. My “boss” is much nicer about me taking time off so I can binge-watch movies.
- I choose my own working hours
I’ll let you in on a secret – I’m rubbish at working between the hours of 12-2pm, I’m both hungry and sleepy during this time. At my 9-5 job, I used to turn into a hangry zombie and would hope that no one wanted to call a meeting during this time. Now I just take a quick power nap and I’m back at my desk fresh and ready to write. Ps: If my former GM is reading this, please install power pods in the office with a vending machine nearby, you’ll be much better liked.
- I avoid politics (the corporate kind)
While my experiences with office politics was not on display for the whole world to see, read and talk about on social media (hashtag #libspill), the experience was no less unpleasant. I think employees waste millions of hours and dollars engaging in power games and office politics, time and money which could be spent better elsewhere – preferably on working.
I do not miss the “He or she from Marketing did that, what does it mean, what should I do, how should I write the email, does this email sound too agro?.”
If I had a dollar for every time this happened in my workplace, I could have retired a long time ago and been sipping a mocktail on a beach somewhere. Now I work for myself, have no one to fight with or listen to them complaining and simply get on with the job at hand. Bliss!
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