Buried Alive

Back on the last day of December, I made the quaint statement that it looked as if January would be "a very busy month of work." The day before I made that statement, I had undertaken a project for one of my clients that had come out of nowhere. It wasn't scheduled, and at the time I accepted the job, I had no idea how much work was involved or the very tight deadline under which they needed the job completed.

For the last two weeks, as a result of this project, and two others I have been working on simultaneously, I have been drowning. So far this month, I have billed 60 hours of writing to my clients. This figure does not count the monthly work for my contract job. This figure does not include a new project with a new client that I'm starting on Friday. And the month is only half over.

I know this may not seem like a lot of work to those of you who work outside of your homes. I know for a fact that some of you put in 60 hours a week, and then come home every night to home and family responsibilities. But for me, 60 hours of writing and project management is a lot, a whole lot, when I'm chasing around a 16-month-old all day and trying to eek out 10 minutes of work here and there when she's otherwise occupied. I've been working late at night while Isabella is asleep, and early in the morning before she rises. I quit my 40-hour-a-week telecommuting gig for a reason. I ain't cut out for this kind of pressure.

So as a result of this glut of work, my home looks like a cyclone has torn through it, I have only half of my Christmas thank-you notes completed, and I am behind in reading your blogs, the later of which bugs me the most.

I also have a wicked cold, and on Sunday, I lost my voice. As in, completely. I conducted three client phone calls (one Sunday night and two yesterday) whispering into the telephone like a teenage prank caller.

So here's the deal. I'm having a hard time saying no to work. When I quit my FT job and started freelancing, I had this grand notion that I would have 10-15 hours a week of work, every week. If I had the occasional week where I had to work more than that, fine. But this would be the exception to an otherwise completely manageable schedule. 10-15 hours a week of writing for my business clients would give me ample time to develop a career writing for magazines, which is what I really want to do.

Guess what I've learned? The freelance world doesn't work like this. It is feast or famine. Phone ringing constantly or dead air. Inbox inundated or completely empty. Bills paid or bills delayed. Granted, since I quit my job, I've had steady work, but it has ebbed and flowed. January has been my busiest month by far.

Freelancing is hard work. It takes organization. It requires spot-on time management. And it requires balance (at least most of the time) to keep from going insane. But for the last two weeks, since making it a goal to craft a writing schedule to help me with these things, I have failed miserably in all three areas. I just haven't had the time.

Wanda Sykes is totally right. I need to get it together, baby. Problem is, I have no idea how to do it.

And with that, I am back to work.

10 Responses to “Buried Alive”

  1. # Blogger Editorgirl

    Kristi I'm so sorry you're feeling overwhelmed. As someone who juggles literally dozens of balls a day in my day job I know somewhat what you are dealing with. Just know with time comes experience and the longer you juggle all these tasks, the better you will become at keeping it all together and not losing your mind. If you ever need to vent feel free to email. I have a good ear.  

  2. # Blogger Jesser

    Sounds busy busy. I know something about keeping all of the plates spinning and I know that usually, I have to let at least one fall... *sigh* I definitely feel you on this one! Hope things look better for you soon. I know you don't have time right now, but if you don't read Lifehacker.com, you might want to check it out, because it has lots of practical information for organizational stuff, esp. for work at home/freelancers... just a thought!  

  3. # Blogger My Wombinations

    I know how hard it can be to try to be everything, but there is one great thing all this work is bringing into your life: money. And money, no matter how it comes in, will help streamline the other things that are not working. I beseech you to hire help. If that means a cleaning person, do it. Even if it is once a month. If that means a babysitter who comes in two hours a day, do it. I cannot tell you how much easier my life has become after doing both those things. You have an amazing ability to work your ass off that I admire more than you know, but you really do not have to do it all. Take a little time and spend a little of that hard earned money and make some parts of your life just a little easier. And, of course, I am always here if you need to vent. Thinking of you!  

  4. # Blogger Tracey

    Wombinations has it dead on. Hire somebody, ANYbody to do some of the chores that you just can't do right now. Hire someone to take Isabella grocery shopping so that 2 major things are taken care of. Screw the Christmas thank you's and send emails.  

  5. # Blogger Kris

    I completely understand! My husband just got laid off of his full time job, and we will be spending the near future living off of his art freelance, and it scares me to death!

    Good luck getting through these projects- I hope things slow down soon!  

  6. # Blogger Damselfly

    Wow, this is amazing -- and yet ...! I am panicking for you right now just thinking about that work. I gave up work when Fly was three months old -- I can't imagine how I'd work at home with him now, the same age as Isabella.

    Maybe your extra work means extra pay that you could use to pay someone to watch Isabella a couple days a week?  

  7. # Blogger Lis Garrett

    Uh . . . you know I understand. Well, I understand a little. I keep saying I wish I were more busy with my writing, but honestly, how much more busy can I be? I put a full day in as it is. I just wish I got paid for it all NOW, as opposed to waiting for months to see if any of these queries and articles will pay off. As far as paid work goes right now, I am definitely starving. It's easy to say "hire someone," but it can be difficult to let go of even a penny of what you've earned. At least for me it is!  

  8. # Blogger Marie

    Taking care of Isabella is definitely a full-time job. I say raise the flag and get the relatives over while you go to work at Panera or somewhere! Or K & I can come over sometime & give you some relief while you escape -- let us know...

    And I hope you feel better soon -- EmergenC seems to be helping us here!  

  9. # Blogger Debbie

    I can relate on the feast-famine level...I am a consultant (when not on mat leave). But, I'm lucky that when I leave the office (even if it's at 9pm), I leave the office.

    I agree that you may want to look at hiring some help. Maybe a local teen to come play with Isabella for a couple of hours after school so you can focus uninterrupted?

    Best of luck with your current projects! You can do it! :)  

  10. # Blogger kenju

    My job/business is always either feast or famine too. I always thought I'd have it easy; be able to say no and pick and choose my jobs - but NO - it doesn't seem to work that way. I hope you can figure out how to do it all, Kristi.  

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