As magazine and newspaper publishing houses tighten their belts yet again, the time between writing commissions can sometimes seem to stretch to the horizon and back. Freelance journalist Deborah Willimott offers her tips for surviving the lean times of being a freelance writer.
Survival tip 6: Consider organising your accounts
Occasionally, after a head-blow or some seriously A-Grade boredom, the flancer thinks: “Ooh, I might just give next year’s accounts a preliminary tickle…”
A gallon of stomach-chewing coffee will be brewed and some Kendal Mint Cake eaten in order to fortify the flancer.
A Facebook status of “Am starting my accounts!” will be posted in order to crow to other flancers that you are indeed a paragon of organisation.
This will then be Tweeted. The search for The Envelope of Receipts, Invoices, and Bank Statements will commence (cue small internal fanfare – or if like me you spend quite a lot of the day alone and thus talking to yourself – external fanfare), but first you will happen to unearth your portfolio.
You will read your portfolio with a nostalgic half-smile, realise an hour has gone by and re-commence the search. You’ll then find a photo album of your student days and then a copy of Vogue from 1997, both of which will distract you for a further two hours.
You are now up to your nipples in dust bunnies and decide, hey – you may as well clean your room. Then, why stop there? Clean the house. Stop for a coffee. Hem some curtains. FB and Tweet something spitefully witty about H M Revenue & Customs. Answer some emails. Maybe start knitting a bag to keep The Envelope in when you find it.
You then remember The Envelope and why you started looking for it. You will also remember that The Envelope means sitting there, head in hands for hours thinking: “What the chuff did I spend £15.46 on in Argos on May 15th?”
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 7: Cook something complicated
Survival tip 8: Dress inappropriately