01 August 2007

The work graph

As a freelance, my workload fluctuates enormously. It's often difficult to predict how much work I will have on in any given week or month. Sometimes I don't even know exactly what I'm going to be doing tomorrow.

Last week was very busy and not helped by a bout of unwellness on the Monday, which meant I was frantically playing catch-up the rest of the week. This week, I was looking at a quiet spell and I welcomed it. My books need doing and I have a pile of invoices to send out. Having completed some ongoing work yesterday, out of the blue I was commissioned by a magazine I've never written for before. The rate is not brilliant, but it's a new market and the topic is an area I'm keen to break into so I said yes. Today, I was also offered a book to edit, to be confirmed by the end of the week. It's been several months since I last had a book to get stuck into, so I said yes to that too.

Now, all of August is looking rather full (assuming the book is coming my way). Today will be spent invoicing clients, closing last year's books for my accountant, getting this year's accounts up to date and - if there is time - chasing some pitches I sent out a while ago. These are the jobs I hate most of all but they are essential when you are self-employed. Rule No. 1 - keep track of the money!

I could plot my days on a graph, but it's more practical to keep my desk diary up to date and book work in on Sunbird. I log into this at least once a day to keep track of my commitments. I also use ReminderFox to ensure I don't forget appointments and the like, as it has a handy pop-up window. Tools like these are vital to ensure my freelancing goes as smoothly as possible.

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