Best and worst of freelance life

Today's workspace

Today’s workspace

When I left my staff job and became a freelance journalist, almost two years’ ago, I worried I wouldn’t get enough work, would find it hard to discipline myself and would go a little bit odd, sitting on my own all day. Two years on and I find it hard to imagine going back to full time employment. Here are some of my favourite (and least favourite) things about freelance life.


  • When I’m working, I’m really working. I’m not sitting in someone else’s meeting, wondering why I’m here, surreptitiously reading emails on my phone.
  • I can organise my time to make room for the things that are important to me (writing fiction, researching, gardening, cooking, reading, seeing friends and family).
  • I can work where I am, or where I feel like going. Usually it’s my shared office space, or my study at home. Sometimes it’s the British Library, the Wellcome Collection Reading Room, a train carriage, even the garden.
  • When I’m busy, I can crack on with work, no interruptions, until it’s done. When I’m not busy, I can go for a walk, get the shopping, see an exhibition. These times balance out.
  • The work itself. Reading, writing, researching, interviewing interesting people. No office politics. What’s not to like?
  • My money each month directly represents how hard I’ve worked.


  • When I intend to down tools, then carry on reading the entire internet for another two hours with no-one to stop me or ask when I’m going home.
  • When there’s either so much work I’m scared I can’t do it all, or so little I’m terrified I’ll never work again. (I can, and I will.)
  • Working from home, I’m the neighbourhood receiver of parcels, enquiries from delivery people, fielder of election canvassers and religious missionaries.
  • I’m rubbish at going out to pitch for commissions. Luckily lots of people I’ve worked with before come to me.
  • Tax returns.


Filed under London Life, Writing

2 responses to “Best and worst of freelance life

  1. For me, too, the things I love and don’t love, respectively: pretty much all of the above; pretty much all of the above. Some freelancing aspects I really, really don’t love – but that would make for a loud and disproportionate headline! 🙂

    • No serial commenting, I promise! But one major advantage is being able to use your own sit down/stand up/sit down/stand up desk, complete with stand up and stretch a bit if you want, and maybe even do something outrageously weird like dance to the music! I’d add a picture of the laptop-raising adjustable plywood shelving CNC number if I could – though not me dancing – but I’ve instead tried taking after your word-liness. Or just done a poor job of pretending I could!

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