Don’t panic

Don’t panic

Oh dear.

This work blog has been neglected for too long. In my defence, I’ve been so busy writing and blogging for other people that I’ve not had time to write and blog for myself. This particular blog is like a wasteland and my poor novel languishes untouched and unloved, stuck on chapter 11.

The thing about being freelance, which people told me about but which still takes me by surprise, even after almost three years, is that work comes in waves. Sometimes you’re so busy you can’t think, and you end up working weekends (I even worked the August Bank Holiday this year). Yet at other times, you don’t have much on the go. It’s not that you’ve been abandoned by your clients, it’s just that the down time in all your work relationships happens at the same time, and you’re left twiddling your thumbs for a while.

This happened to me recently, and although it wasn’t the first time (and it certainly won’t be the last), I was still taken aback a little bit. After years of working in mainstream employment, the guilt of not doing very much for a day or so hung heavy over my head. I felt like I had to stay at my desk, because if I was in front of the computer, I was still ‘working’.

What I should have been doing, and what it’s taken me three years to realise, was to enjoy the down time as well as the busy periods. To make use of these pauses to reflect, to write for myself and to catch up with all those tasks that are important, but not urgent (or indeed paid). For one thing, I managed to file my tax return (now that’s something that also takes me by surprise, even though I’ve done it three times – the rising panic that you’ve done something wrong or even worse, underestimated how much you would have to pay and end up thousands of pounds out of pocket).

So, thanks to that quiet period, I’m up to date with my tax affairs, my personal blog is back up and running once more and the 11 chapters of my novel have been rejigged and added to (a little). All I need to do is remember these things the next time work eases off and not panic too much. But that, unfortunately, is easier said than done.

Maybe I need some kind of book with a reassuring message printed in large friendly letter on the front.

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