Ask any freelancer, be it editorial or another profession, and they will tell you how hard it can be. But they’ll tell you as many reasons for going freelance.
There’s no doubting that freelancing is tough: no guarantees, no certainty and no security if it all goes wrong. But freelancing is incredibly liberating. Choosing when to work, where to work, how much to do.
But the biggest challenge is always finding the right balance between working (if we don’t work, we don’t get paid) and finding time for yourself (that is, for many, the reason for going freelance).
Laura Poole’s book, Juggling on a High Wire, is the perfect book for any freelance professional, whether at the start of their self-employed career or if they have been going solo for years.
We all need to remember to look after ourselves but, for the freelancer, this can easily fall off the bottom of endless to-do lists. We work constantly and we work hard because we know when we are working we will get paid. That work could dry up quickly and suddenly (yes, that is an acceptable use of suddenly!).
In three sections, Laura talks us through how to balance our time and space, how to care for others and ourselves and how to get back on track. As I write this, I am currently on a slow week and Laura has plenty of suggestions for how to use this time and still be productive. I’ve been writing (this blog post, for example, as well as my services page and this older blog post) and learning new typesetting skills which I’ve used to create a newer version of my ebook.
Equally, there’s excellent advice on how to cope during those times when we cannot say “no” and we find ourselves overworked.
There’s excellent advice for freelancing if you also look after someone, be that a child or an elderly relative, how to cope if your partner also freelances and how to set up your home to be as productive as possible.
And there are lots of productivity tips. My favourite of Laura’s tips, for when you’re feeling overwhelmed with work is the three Ds … delete, defer or delegate. Saying “yes” to everything is often the default setting for self-employed people, so being able to say “no” to things or to push them down the schedule is a massive change for me. It’s like I’ve now been given permission to say “not yet” to incoming emails.
This short, easy-to-read volume is ideal for any freelance or self-employed professional who needs to be reminded that they matter just as much as their clients do. There’s lots of excellent advice, case studies and easy-to-implement actions that will see me being more efficient at work and enjoying more time.
Juggling on a High Wire by Laura Poole is published by More Cowbell Books and is available from Amazon and CreateSpace.com. Click here to buy on Amazon.
Nick (he/him) is an editor and proofreader, specialising in LGBTQ+ writing. He is an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading and a member of PEN, the Professional Editors Network.
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