The Mood Swing Shift

If anyone out there is thinking about becoming a freelance writer (Work in your pajamas! Take Oprah breaks! Sleep late! And take naps!), there is something you should know.

It is a totally crazy way to make a living.

For days on end there's no paying work to do. So you rearrange the furniture, balance your checkbook to the penny, read books and day dream. You muse about how wonderful your life is, and remember the days when the alarm clock woke you (or didn't) at 5:30 a.m. You sip your coffee while watching the neighbors scrape ice off their cars. Brrr. Put on a nice, warm, sweater and update your blog and work on that short story you've been neglecting. And then you start to get bored. Just a little at first. But then that feeling that you're forgetting something important starts to grow. There's only so many errands you can do, after all. There's only so much cleaning. You can only check your email a few hundred times a day before you start to consider reading the spam.

And then, suddenly, there is not one project due but three. And they're all due on the same day. And then suddenly that day is tomorrow. And how exactly did that happen? And, by the way, the dentist appointment you made six months ago? Without fail it falls in the middle of the madness. So you write from sunup to sundown (well, you write from sunup to sundown in the winter, anyway, when the days are shorter). Sometimes you take a quick break for supper and then go back online to do some research. Some days you kind of foget to eat. On bad days you forget to shower.

It feels good to be working again, of course. And you can't complain that you're finally earning some money, either. But, bottom line, it's the occupational equivalent of manic depression. High highs, low lows and nothing in between.

So if you're the kind of person who likes a nice, orderly, 9 to 5, structured, predictable, non-crazy, scheduled life (and, by the way, I'm not) do not under any circumstances become a freelance writer.

That's my career advice/public service announcement for today. Now I either have to get back to work, get something to eat, or take a shower.


Katie said...

I like how you wrote foget. Is that a New England dialect? You could be a lovely substitute. I know my city is desperate for them. You could get some agnst out on a few students. Maybe even get a short story out of it. And you get to pick and choose when you work! Plus it would be fun to see you when I'm at work!!!!! Think about it.

Gienna said...


And I like how you wrote "agnst." I guess you fogot to check for typos.

Eleran said...

It still sounds lovely to me. Especially the nap-taking part.