Thursday, October 23, 2008

Overworked pros and cons

One thing about being a freelancer is that it is either feast or famine. Neither is very good for my real writing. When it is famine, i can't concentrate on my novel or script because I worry about the bills and the mortgage and health insurance which costs the size of a small country and Max's college fund (of course, now this economy makes it even ten times worse We have stopped socking money into his 529 and are putting it in the just-about-no-interest bank account instead.)

But now, it is feast, when to my amazement, I have so much freelance (and it is all jobs that I love)--manuscript consultations, magazine articles assigned, naming and teaching that it is hard to carve out time for my novel/script work. Added to this, Max went off for two days with his classmates on a trip so Jeff and I want to go play and do the things that we can't do when Max is around, like go see three movies in a row at night at the Angelica in Soho, and then go to the Empire Diner for the peach pie! The house is a wreck, with laundry breeding on chairs and paper everywhere, plus Max's computer fried so the *&^%$# Dell people were their usual unhelpful self. They were supposed to be here Monday, but the wrong part was sent, then they came yesterday, and couldn't fix it, so they are coming today, and since we are sure it is their buggy Vista program, we wanted to just wipe the computer and put XP back in and Dell refuses to cover it, which made Jeff so irritated he told them that he and I ditched our Dells to get a Mac and Max was next. (They were unmoved.)

So, the question is, how on earth do you find balance? Do you do your freelance first to get it out of the way and then be exhausted, or do you do your writing first because that is what is truly important? I tend to do my writing first but I am really curious about others. And by the way, just because I am busy doesn't mean I don't want more, more, more freelance to hedge against the lean times.

I also am planning a virtual reading series for my students at UCLA--I think it's great to have practice reading and to have the chance to read your own work and see and hear others do it as well. I've put in a call to my fabulous UCLA tech guy, but I think the series is just going to be for the students. I plan to read a work-in-progress, too, which means I need to figure out the technology. So, you with Macs, I probaby just film myself on ichat and then can I save it and post it as an attachment to a file? or is there a better way?

I guess I had better start working....

See you later, alligators.


Clea Simon said...

Well, up until today, I've been really really good about doing my own writing first - 1,000 words! But Ilost my long-time regular freelance gig three weeks ago and I've been panicked about money. I've been scrambling and have gotten a few assignments and today I just worked on the money stuff. All day. And then when I was about to settle down and do a little of my own writing, an editor I know asked if I could take some of her overflow and I said "sure!" Tomorrow, I promise myself real writing first. But today... too much anxiety to make that happen!

David Gittlin said...


Mac isn't the only choice when you buy a new computer.

I've been buying Alienware computers for the past decade and they're great. These are not "off the shelf" machines. You design your computer online and Alienware custom builds it for you. They are cheaper, pound for pound, than Macs. And you don't have to learn a new OS.

Your husband can tell you what components to choose for your unique computing needs. You can get a very powerful computer with high graphics processing capability at a competitive price. These babies don't break down, either.