It has been said that if you’re a freelance journalist then you’re either worrying that you don’t have enough work, or you’re worrying that you have taken on too much.
I can say that this summary is definitely accurate. Freelance journalism has now been my main source of income for more than a year. And fortunately, I’m getting just enough to get by. When I got back from New Zealand, I thought the work would dry up and was fully prepared for my third stint at a supermarket.
Despite spending years wishing I could do comedy full-time, the pandemic has made me grateful that I do have a backup. I’ve been working as a journalist in some capacity – written or editing – for more than 13 years, but there are times when I still question if I know what I’m doing and ask myself: “Hang on, is this actually any good?”
However, the commissions keep coming – albeit mostly from people I’ve worked with in previous companies. Although I have recently also been commissioned to write something for someone I don’t know and have been offered other work since. So it would appear that I do know what I’m doing. And it must be good – or at least passable.
Freelancing is far from a secure income and I’m earning much less than when I was working full-time. But I’m enjoying the variety and the flexibility. It’s not enough income to allow me to move back to London, but it’ll do until things start to get back to something resembling normality. And freelancing is certainly a more stable income than comedy.
Plus, freelancing means I can continue to take my dog for long walks every day without anyone wondering why I’m taking so long to respond to emails and start suspecting I may not be at my desk. I couldn’t possibly say if I also used to do this when I did have a full-time job and was working from home. And no one can prove otherwise.