As the summer months stretch on, freelance writers find themselves at one of two extremes – either inundated with work as holiday cover for understaffed magazines, or lost in a barren desert as commissioning editors apparently slip into a sun-induced lethargy. Freelance journalist Deborah Willimott offers her tips for surviving the lean times of being a freelance writer.
Survival tip 8: Dress inappropriately
Barely any flancers ever dress themselves properly. Today for example, I am wearing pyjama bottoms two-sizes too big, some pink ballet pumps over chunky walking socks, an assortment of denim and a sequinned tiara left over from a hen party.
For most flancers, the daily ‘commute’ consists of: bed to coffee machine to desk. Therefore, dressing like you’ve covered yourself in glue and sprinted though a charity shop’s ‘To Be Sorted’ pile is commonplace. I regularly scare postmen requiring a signature, unexpected visitors and myself if I happen to stumble near a mirror.
The other day, a friend called me up for coffee. So eager was I to go outside where other human beings are, I turned off my laptop, put on a coat and unthinkingly left the house. Halfway through coffee I looked down at myself. I realised I had simply gone through the morning’s non-dressing ritual as per, which is fine for my living room/work space but very not-fine for a vaguely respectable – and more importantly, public – area.
As it happened, I was wearing (a) no bra, (b) my pyjama top and a cardi which I had slept in (c) no socks and (d) jeans that had been on the floor of my room longer than the rug.
On the plus side, looking this bad means people regularly offer to pay for your coffee. On the minus side, people pull their children away in horror (actually, this could turn out to be a plus) and intimate relationships rapidly degenerate when for the third time that month your partner sees you in your ‘work clothes’ and assume you have a drink problem.
Survival tip 1: Become a ‘Curtain Twitcher’
Survival tip 2: Accept the commission from hell
Survival tip 3: Google your illnesses
Survival tip 4: Seek food
Survival tip 5: Experiment with a new computer font
Survival tip 6: Consider organising your accounts
Survival tip 7: Cook something complicated