So, my job here is to teach and support potential, new and intermediate freelance writers in this career, right? Part of that responsibility is sharing with you the "downs" of the job. So here goes a little "vent."
This week was rough. And, it's not even over. On the personal level, it was the week of the election, my children had two half days of school and one day off, and it was parent-teacher conference week. All those things make my schedule screwy. And having two kids in the house with nothing to do is rough- despite having a dedicated home office with a door.
But on a professional level, here's what's happening for me.
The elections put my political organization client into high gear. All of their to-dos are immediate needs (media needs). I've been writing, rewriting, editing, and making pitch calls for them all week. Hour here, hour there. (Love this work though).
In addition, I had a deadline Monday night for some editorial work. Now, I technically finished the chapter, but I was not happy with it. It needed more, so I have been querying the author all week, trying to get the chapter perfect for him so I can send it on. Hello, it's Friday, Allena! This does not make me happy. This is a new client, and that makes me feel. . .sick. This is not the level of service I am accustomed to giving. I should have been querying him LAST week, and he should have had his chapter in his email when he woke up Tuesday morning. I will say that he is a very flexible client, and his work sets my brain ON FIRE. It is so interesting. I'm doing my best to finish his sample today.
I have to keep up here at About.com. This means answering your emails and comments, and, honestly, I should have blogged long before now.
I had a deadline yesterday for a book review for Kirkus. I know their deadline is cushy by one day. Yes, that would be today. I've read the book, at least, but have not yet started on the copy. Sigh.
This morning, I had an 11am appointment to check in with the publisher of the quarterly that I manage. We were supposed to meet last Friday, but I pushed him back. I just got off the phone with him, asking to postpone AGAIN. Not professional, but luckily this is also a close family friend who I've known for years. Whew. And, we're ahead of schedule anyway.
I'm starting up a new project with a curriculum client. I have three lessons due to her on Sunday night. I don't want to work the weekend, but guess what? I will. I am. Luckily, though, this is a returning client, so I know the work inside and out, and it won't be difficult at all. Other than the part where my family is raking leaves and going to movies while I'm here at the desk.
A logical question here would be why I over-booked and am juggling so many clients? Well, the political organization, the magazine, Kirkus and this website are all ongoing, established contracts. I've been with them one year, seven years, two years and five years, respectively. The uptick in work from the political organization caught me off guard- and that's a mistake on my part. I should have known this would be a busy week for them. It would have been wise to turn down the Kirkus review, but they only assign me 2-3 books per year. I just couldn't.
I had to say yes to the other two projects (editorial and curriculum), mostly because I know that work and clients begin to dry up in November (come the holidays) and we all know how expensive the holidays are! Both of these clients are very interesting to me, in my niche area, and well-paying.
Here's where my mistake was. I should have known that the political organization would need extra support the week before and of the elections. They scheduled their events for this week about a month ago; I knew what was going on this week. I should have blocked off this week in my calendar. I should have anticipated their needs better.
If I had done that, I could have given my editorial client a different due date- next Monday, perhaps. Or two Mondays ago (although I'm not sure that would have given me enough time). Then, I would have been able to tell the magazine publisher that I could not meet until next Friday, and I would not have had to cancel on him today and last week. Last, I would have known that I needed to do the Kirkus review immediately, as soon as I got the book a week and a half ago.
Live and learn, right!? I've been doing this for seven years, and I still make these kinds of scheduling mistakes. All of my clients' needs WILL be met before this weekend is over, though.
I hope that my week has taught you something. Here's an idea: take a look at your client load. Do any of them have specific times of the year when their needs are high? Note that in your calendar right now!