I pounced on that and told them proudly that I was a freelance writer. The usual raising of eyebrows and looks of interest made me feel like I was the house cat that had been dyed pink to make a conversation piece.
After answering the questions that flow from the status of being a freelance writer; “What do you write about?”; “Where is your work published?”; “How did you get started?”; I overheard amidst the hubbub some cynic mutter “Freelance writer is another way of saying unemployed…chuckle, chuckle, chuckle.”
I didn’t spot the offender though I had my suspicions and concentrated on chatting to my suspect’s girlfriend and making her laugh so hard she was going to wet her knickers (my preferred form of seduction). Nothing like arousing the green-eyed jealousy monster to extract a measure of revenge and a point not lost on my host with whom I had a good chuckle about it all after the event.
Freelance writers may evoke a picture of someone lazing around all of the day, staying in their dressing gowns and pyjamas, with endless TV and cups of tea and coffee. I have no doubt that for some “writer” is certainly code for lazy git, but despite some of the negative habits that working for yourself can foster, I take a much more professional approach which has been learned from years of working for myself.
Here are some rules I live by:
- separate work from personal time, indeed try and separate yourself from the rest of your home and have a dedicated working space;
- freelance writing is work, so get to work on time – schedule your day and your time;
- dress the part; get out of those pyjamas and dress, it is too easy to stay in the fug of those wincyette loungers while sitting at the keyboard;
- turn off the TV! Radio on low works for me, but rid yourself of distractions; and
- take regular breaks for a cuppa and lunch.
As for silencing the cynics, my neighbour is a car nut and asked to show off my MGB GT 1972 but I had to move the Porsche off the drive to get it out of the garage for him.