A year to adapt to freelancing!? Try three and counting…!

According to this senior journalist who’s done it, it takes about a year after you first start to adapt to being freelance.

I’m guessing her statistic assumes that during said year you plan ahead scrupulously, drink responsibly, love responsibly, sleep as opposed to prat around on the internet at night; that extraordinary people don’t appear in your life in sudden, ludicrous fashions; that one of your best friends doesn’t kill themselves, and that your source for a huge story doesn’t turn out to be a huge liar who harangues you over the phone on the morning of the funeral. I have yet to read an article on what to do when all those things trounce you in the first seven months.

Despite the many freelancers in their 20s and early 30s, most of those who discuss their work publicly are middle-aged high-flyers with happy reasons for doing it. I made the decision at nearly 27, after two largely awful years in a mismatched job at a digital media firm’s outpost in West London, line-managed by the embittered big-cousin of an international celebrity. (I didn’t decide on it immediately…I spent a year in-between doing short-contract work, ranging from a classroom assistant to schoolchildren with Special Needs, to interning at a now-defunct erotic magazine – thankfully not at the same time. The mag ranged from amusing to grim. The learning support work started off well but I hit the capability-ceiling at the point where wages are liveable…it was only then that I knew I had to be a writer; that it wasn’t just all I wanted to do but all that I could do…)

I have thought about writing up my experience for the press. Unfortunately I doubt there’s a sincere way of doing it that’d get past their lawyers (Fleet Street Fox barely managed it with her memoir, and I’m only marginally less crabby than her on a bad day, plus my legal training is McNae’s Law For Journalists 2006 Edition ingested with a bucket of Nescafe…). Besides, people I still ultimately like too much to rub up the wrong way could be compromised. So for now, if you want the gen, you’re just going to have to have a drink with me.

Ideally not here. Although to be honest, I’m not really in a position to be picky, and as Whetherspoons’ go it could be a lot worse…

Yes, my “Be Less Cynical in 2014” resolution is going well so far…


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