09 November 2006

Just when I thought...

...it couldn't possibly get any busier, I'm being bombarded with demands on my time.

I spent Wednesday in London, at an editorial summit for a magazine I write and commission for. Armed with my new laptop, I installed Open Office (for free) so I could work on stuff while on the train. The night before my trip, I received 100,000 words of PhD thesis to edit, so I copied it on to the laptop smug in the knowledge that Virgin Pendolinos provide sockets to plug portables into. Yes, I was going to work on the train. And work I did. Except that I quickly discovered that Open Office doesn't offer a Track Changes facility as standard and - guess what? - I'd promised my client I'd use Track Changes... Sigh. I did what I could and it made the journey go faster, but I had to spend 2 hours today going over the edit because OO is not fully compatible with Word and of course, I can't charge for that time.

Despite such problems, the summit went well and I also made some useful contacts at the meeting place. Came home tired but chirpy.

Woke up at 4am, sweating profusely and having nightmares about spam emails. Got up, brewed tea, did sudoku, caught up on the email backlog. After showering, I resumed work on the PhD thesis and juggled constant interruptions. I found out that my beloved P had failed to tell me the night before of the messages on the answering machine - one of my regular clients was trying to get in touch to book editorial time. That dealt with, I went to play back the missed messages. One from a marketing agency that wants to hire me as a sub-contractor - I think not. My lovely graphic designer did work for them last year and had a struggle getting paid. I haven't called the agency back yet - let them sweat. One from a charity I'm trying to source pics from for a feature - I rang back but no answer. Will try again tomorrow.

Email then arrived from an ex-client I was convinced had dumped me after I had a dispute with our mutual contact. But apparently not - he's sent me a case study to edit. A phone call would have been good, to ask when I could do it. Sigh again - will call tomorrow to sort it out. A local freelance emailed asking for advice on rates - that was dealt with quickly enough, but some thanks for my input would have been appreciated. Ditto the writer who found me on MySpace asking about two-deck headlines. Sometimes I feel like Marje Proops - everyone wants my time but no one ever says thanks.

On top of that, my scientific client finally resurfaced after yet another AWOL break to give me the data I need so I need to squeeze in time first thing to finish that job. Thankfully, it won't take long. I have outstanding invoices to send, clients to chase and even though I've had a large drink I feel pulled in all directions. I need a PA. Fast.

God knows how I'll finish the PhD thesis on deadline. And I still have half a long feature to write.

Take my advice. Don't ever become a freelance.

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