Archive for August, 2012

Cornered Office

with Mir Kamin

I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.

To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/

Confessions of a distracted freelancer

Categories: My boss is an idiot, Now I'm free(lancing)

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If you’re reading here and you’re a client of mine, allow me to assure you that absolutely nothing gets in the way of my productivity. Ever! When I have work to do, I just get it done, because I’m a professional. Yup. I am totally not distracted by the string of family crises that currently feels never-ending and completely soul-sucking, so no need to worry at all.

In fact, this post is not for you, because I wouldn’t know anything about distraction. Just move along, and I’ll have that work done for you in no time.

Ahem.

Are they gone? Is the coast clear?

Okay: In reality, the biggest productivity struggle I’m facing is not that time I’m actually unable to work because I’m attending to my children, various appointments, phone calls about the mounting medical bills, or any of that. The biggest struggle is my reaction to this stress, in that even when I have the time to work, my ability to focus is, shall we say, slightly impaired. Or, you know, completely obliterated. There’s something about stress and unhappiness that makes me highly distractible.
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Courting controversy

Categories: Deep thoughts, Like talking but with more typing

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Earlier today I was among a group of bloggers when someone asked if folks would be willing to share their most controversial posts. This led to what I felt was a really interesting discussion, both because the posts in question often surprised me (I had a hard time seeing why there would be any debate about several of them), and because time and again folks would respond by saying that they didn’t have any controversial posts.

In fact, multiple people said that they fear disagreement and/or drama, so they try very hard not to write anything that could offend.

It’s not that I have a problem with this viewpoint, per se, but it definitely got me thinking. Bloggers are usually folks with opinions—who reads blogs written by writers who don’t have strong feelings about things? That would probably be boring. And certainly bloggers are portrayed as loving the social media back-and-forth, if not a plain ol’ spotlight. So I started wondering how true that supposed archetype is, and where I fall within it.
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Does back to school mean back to work?

Categories: A mother's work is never done, Now I'm free(lancing)

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It used to be that I spent summer feeling pulled in twelve different directions; feeling like my kids weren’t getting enough of me, feeling like I never got enough work done, feeling anxious for school to start and then guilty that I wanted it to, etc.

This summer has been different for a variety of reasons. With one kid in the hospital, nothing feels normal, ever, and so our family has taken to referring to this time as The Summer That Wasn’t. Even if that wasn’t the case, though, my youngest is nearly a teenager—if I felt like I had to work a non-stop, “regular” schedule in the summer months, I could do that, now. There wouldn’t be any “Mom! Mom! Hey Mom! Moooooooom!” going on. (Okay, that’s a lie. That still happens, but when I tell him to stop he laughs instead of throwing himself to the floor for a tantrum. Heh.) Still, our family schedule is off and the beginning of school changes things.

This week my husband went back to teaching at the university and my son went back to attending our beloved “Hippie School” (a homeschool collab) three days each week. Yesterday and today I had the house to myself for the bulk of the day, and I was free to work unencumbered.
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Balancing business and bravado when selling yourself

Categories: Like talking but with more typing, Now I'm free(lancing)

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As a brand new freelancer, it can feel like an endless dog-and-pony show of finding the kind of work you want, attempting to get the attention of the people who might hire you for said work, impressing those people once you have their attention, and building your resume up to the point where all of those things will ultimately land you some paying work.

Once you’re somewhat established, you spend less time looking for work, and more time doing work. Still, you have to spend some of your time looking for new work, because you need more clients.

As a veteran freelancer, if you’re lucky you pretty much don’t have to look anymore. You spend most of your time doing paying work. And then every so often new clients will find you, and they’re doing so because your reputation precedes you, and so they know who you are and what they want and why those two things might go together well.

For a long time I was in the “veteran freelancer” category where I didn’t need to look for work, and that was lovely, I won’t lie. But as I’ve pulled back on work some to tend to my family, I’m now back in an unfamiliar position: I need to relearn how to seek work opportunities.
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