Ah, the Good Life. La Dolce Vita. What are the days of the modern freelancer like? Fast times, indeed. Two martini lunches? You better believe it. Jet setting to Barbados to do some onsite reporting for that latest travel article: Limin’ & Barbadian Nightlife: Three Things You Need to Know. Absolutely. There are wild shindigs in brick-exposed lofts and (cough) important talks in minimalist art spaces. The midnight soirees make Truman Capote’s legendary Black and White Ball look like a child’s roller-rink party. Every conversation we have with our family, friends, neighbors, or the guy pumping gas are like the witty and intellectual provocations that Dorothy Parker made famous at her Algonquin round table. Freelancing: It’s Paris in the 1930s, the Beat generation, and a dollop of Magic Realism all rolled into one dazzling magic carpet ride of inspiration and creativity.
In the words of T.S. Elliot: “That is not it, at all.”
Even a New York Times best seller or the latest underground phenom, let alone the best content writer, fail to live up to these bloated writerly clichés. Freelance writing is a solitary career. While this might seem like another cliché in a long litany of boiler plate banalities, solitary doesn’t mean self-imposed exile. There are numerous forums and social media platforms for us to get our ya-yas out. Virginia Wolf complained, and rightly so, that she didn’t have a room of her own, but by the end of the day most writers are happy to get up from the desk, leave the room and carry on a conversation with another human being.
A Day in the Life of the Freelance Article Writer:
1. Our hair is thinning and our cuticles gnawed because we have no idea where the next job is coming from.
2. Remember the Freshman Fifteen? A career at the desk means certainly bodily transformations are likely.
3. A pair of slippers once lasted a year, now we tread through them in three months.
4. If you live in an apartment or micro-studio, chances are those slippers have worn a path from the writing nook to the coffee pot in the kitchen.
5. Some of us discuss Voltaire with our cats; others recite haiku to their golden retrievers. Freelance parents are continually inventing and testing new ways to balance work and domestic life.
6. We like talking to the mailman, but we fear what’s in the mail
7. We lack sunshine and Vitamin D, and there’s a handful of us well on our way to full-blown vampirism.
8. We compulsively check our bank accounts. And check…and….
9. That trip to Barbados! Ha!
10. Every morning, when we open the fridge to milk up the coffee, we take a minute to read the memo that’s scrawled behind the beer opener magnet: “When I was young, all I thought about was art and music. Now I’m middle-aged, and all I think about is money.”
The Good Life, indeed. And most of us wouldn’t trade it for a second.
Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.