It has recently been suggested that I write a post for Jerk Ethic that details what life in the freelance lane is really like on an average day.
I can’t speak for the small business owner, or the artist who paints all day in their basement, or the roving worker who offers his services at various offices when called, but I can tell you what normally goes on for me when working for Ministry of Imagery. We’re a company of two, so I can only account for 50% of our daily activities. If you’d like to see some of what Simon does you can follow him on Twitter, or read his blog Shows I Missed. As for me, here is the rundown of a so-called “typical day.”
I get up whatever time I get up, which is still one of my top three favorite things about being freelance. (The other two are the dress code and sleeping with the boss.) It’s usually around 8:30, but if I’ve had insomnia, it can be as late as 10. Also, this depends completely on if one of us has an early morning deadline or if Simon has slept over and we’re feeling frisky.
(This is where New York has the clearest advantage over Portland, the east coast has Product 19, aka The Greatest Cereal Ever Manufactured.) I pour a bowl of Corn Flakes and top it with a chopped banana and Westsoy fat-free vanilla soymilk. Once the really crappy coffee maker is done making way too much noise, I drink two cups of cheap Columbian that tastes the way turpentine smells.
8:37: Check email.
My mother has written about my ex-girlfriend, someone has asked me to edit their grad school admissions‘ essay, my pal who has a new baby wrote me a few lines about how awesome it is, and a few people are following me on Twitter. (Thank you!) I check the news and Perez Hilton — making sure that the world hasn’t exploded and that Shia LaBoeuf is still a hot douche — and then write a list of things to do on my whiteboard. The list includes “invoice so-and-so” and “buy Splenda.”
At some point between breakfast and this point, Simon and I have kissed each other goodbye and he’s hopped on his Landshark to ride off to wherever he’s doing his work. We do not, shall never, and can’t work in the same room together unless it is absolutely crucial. If we do, this is what happens:
8:45: Write my daily blurb for Like It, which is kind of like rubbing one off with words. Then I open my GoogleDocs and pull up the project that I’m working on. Today it’s comprehensive site copy for a supremely cool small scooter parts company in Denver. Some days are not this exciting. I spend the better part of the next hour brainstorming slogans and finding six different ways to explain how to use a scooter.
10:00: Shower. Dress. Try not to have my hair look too much like a member of Flock Of Seagulls got too close to a gas range.
10:35: Bike to the grocery store, buy a box of Splenda, a half a pound of Brussels sprouts, and a banana.
10:50: Return to the computer. A client has written to me about an assignment for their website. They would like me to interview the VP of a commercial construction company. I agree to the gig.
I receive an email from Simon that contains a link to a short video featuring “Safe For Work porn.” It’s hilarious, though the wind is sort of taken out of its sails since the bed he and I copulate on is approximately nine and a half inches from my work desk. Any porn is safe for work porn, or I suppose “safe for work” can just be adjusted to mean the kind of porn that only takes four minutes to watch and somehow inspires me to find two or three additional ways to describe revving a small engine.
The next hour is spent working on the website project, brainstorming interview questions, and working on this post.
1:10: Inbox now includes a forward about Sarah Palin’s facial tic, a letter from my sponsor instructing me what to write for my inventory, and another email from my mother. (Her wisdom: I should be careful riding my bike, there is a sale at her local Stop & Shop on oatmeal, and her seventeen year old Wheaten terrier has lost all bladder control.)
My Spam box has a lot more to offer. Olga, a Russian 23y.o., apparently has no command of her English prepositions, but wants to do something lonely; I can buy a watch made out of Viagra; and my instrument needs enhancing. My bass guitar is in New York, but I can guarantee that, why yes, in fact, it needs a good tuning at this point. Indeed.
3:00: Snack of tea and an apple. Simon sends me the stuff he‘s been working on. I send my edits and then return the favor. He perfects my text, and adds some slogans that cause mine to whimper, whine, and whither. I vow to one-up him and spend a half hour listening to The Knife on Pandora and looking up a whole bunch of information on the history of vehicular travel.
My work pays off, I nail three solid slogans, including my personal favorite, “More Than The Sum Of Your Parts.” I don’t know if the company will feel as tickled as I do about it, but for today, my work is done.
Once I’ve finished doing something I feel remotely proud of, my energy wanes. This, at a regular office, was known as an “afternoon slump.” In my former years, this would be the time of day when I’d drink a huge cup of coffee and try to organize what I was going to do tomorrow, all the while counting the minutes until when I would be freed from my cubicle. Today I opt instead to head for the basement. This is another great perk of being freelance, I do my laundry instead of kill time. If my day job starts to bore me a little, I move onto my domestic business that needs to be taken care of. I also start figuring out dinner.
4:23: I get season three, disc three of House. Yes, this is probably the most exciting part of my day, next to actually watching House. This isn’t to say that the rest of my day is dull at all, it’s just that I love this show that much.
6ish: Dinner. A can of Progresso and some Brussels sprouts.
7:30: AA Meeting.* Doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me.
9:15: Arrive home, curl up with Simon and watch House. Eventually I shower and pass out on his chest, while he plays Reversi until 3AM on his iPod Touch.
I don’t pretend that this is anything but a charmed life. The downside is, this was a Saturday.
Invade my Inbox at AinsleyDrew at gmail. Thanks again and always to everyone who donates. It means a lot, and lets me live the life of my dreams, which is basically what you see above. (Though I could use a book deal.)
* If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction, I always recommend checking out a meeting. You don’t have to sign anything, believe in God, hug anyone, talk, or go back. But if you’re struggling or you need to talk to someone, it’s totally the place to go, and it has worked wonders for me.