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Freelance Life: Bumps In The Road

freelance life
By Ross Collins Mackay
I’ve not written in a wee while. Mostly, because normal service has resumed, and I am pleased to say I am doing a lot better than I was at the start of the year. Hooray! Bring out the bunting and the platters of lactose free treats! It is good news for me and I am so happy to be working and doing what I love. But it would be a total fabrication to say it has been plain sailing.

I have wanted to prove to myself I am fit and healthy and I have dived back into work. And work has been very kind and forthcoming.

I just finished a twenty day stretch!

Not something I would usually brag about. There are so many people out there working much harder and much longer than me.

But considering I wasn’t even managing to get out of bed a few months ago, this really does feel like an achievement. Some of the days were very long and some were shorter, but it was 20 days of work in a row. And I’m proud of the projects I worked on and everything I achieved. So seriously, I would like some lactose free goodies or something… But this is perhaps a weird sense of achievement. I can sense my family, my friends, my psychiatric nurse smiling encouragingly while at the same time saying:

“Ummm maybe it was this kind of work routine that didn’t help in the first place.”

And in a lot of ways they would be right. But the thing is, I work the freelance life and when I’m faced with the chance to do what I love and get paid for it, it is really hard to turn that down. I don’t earn much for what I do.  And sometimes there can be stretches when not a lot comes along. So, if you get the chance, you take it. You say, yes, I’m sure I can squeeze that in. And you do it. Because it’s probably an exciting project and also, it’s a pay cheque that keeps you going for another month. You might even stretch it over a couple if you have a lean patch coming up.

And what happens in that lean patch? I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone, but this is when I work the hardest.

Get those applications in. Dream up the next few ideas. Update the website. Email out for some more work. Try and build my skill sets. Hustle for the pennies!

Days off are great but they can be more of a rare treat than an expected outcome. You take the work and then you hunt the work. You love the work, so you forget that there should be space between the work.  And that can become an issue. Easily. Your mental health can slip and slide when you aren’t even noticing. When your mind is on the task in hand it is easy to forget that the breaks are important too.

So, I have been thinking a lot about this. I can’t be the only one who feels this. I want to offer something practical. A genuine offer that isn’t much, but it might be something for someone.

Are you living the freelance life and are in the midst of a massive project crying out for a weekend? Have you been staring at a blank calendar and despairing at an ever decreasing (or increasing if you don’t count the minus sign) bank balance? Need a few days’ respite?

I have a pretty comfy double bed in my little cottage home in Aberdour (recently voted second best place to live in Scotland – screw you Melrose!). The village is a 35 min train from Edinburgh. It has not one but two beaches. It’s surrounded by acres of farm land and great walks. It has its own castle. A good pub. Some great cafes. We do have a cat. But she is pretty friendly.

So maybe you need a couple of days. Maybe you know me, and it would be lovely to catch up. Maybe you only know me in passing. Maybe you’ve just stumbled onto this blog by accident. You can use the room as a hide hole and we won’t bother you. You can come down say hello and join us for dinner. It’s up to you.

This invite is open to someone who might need it. An artist that needs a wee break.

Anyway. I’m going to stop now. I’m taking a wee break myself.

Also by Ross Collins Mackay:

Anxiety And Theatre: Must The Show Go On?

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